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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

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Volume 32, Issue 4


Taking a stance on emotion: affect, sequence, and intersubjectivity in dialogic interaction

Professor John W. Du Bois, / University Lecturer Elise Kärkkäinen,
Published Online: 2012-07-07 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2012-0021


This paper explores the domain of affect and emotion as they arise in interaction, from the perspective of stance, sequence, and dialogicality. We seek to frame the issue of affective display as part of a larger concern with how co-participants in interaction construct the socioaffective and sociocognitive relations that organize their intersubjectivity, via collaborative practices of stance taking. We draw mainly on two research traditions, conversation analysis and the dialogic turn in sociocultural linguistics, focusing on their treatments of affect, emotion, and intersubjectivity. Key ideas from the respective approaches are the role of sequence in shaping the realization and interpretation of stance, and dialogic resonance as a process of alignment between subsequent stances. We present a view of stance as a triplex act, achieved through overt communicative means, in which participants evaluate something, and thereby position themselves, and thereby align with co-participants in interaction. Alignment is argued to operate as a continuous variable rather than a dichotomy, as participants subtly monitor and modulate the “stance differential” between them, while often maintaining a strategic ambiguity. Finally, we comment on the rich contributions to the study of stance, affect, and intersubjectivity in interaction made by the collaborators in this special issue.

Keywords: emotion; affect; display; expression; sequence; stance; stance triangle; resonance; dialogicality; alignment; intersubjectivity; interaction

About the article

Professor John W. Du Bois,

John W. Du Bois is Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. A specialist in discourse and sociocultural linguistics, his work centers on the relation between form and function in language, encompassing broadly the linguistic integration of connections among meaning, grammar, prosody, interaction, cognition, culture, and action. Publications include “The stance triangle” (2007), Preferred Argument Structure: Grammar as Architecture for Function (Benjamins, 2003), and the Santa Barbara Corpus of Spoken American English (Linguistic Data Consortium, 2000–2005). Address for correspondence: Linguistics Department, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA 〈dubois@linguistics.ucsb.edu〉.

University Lecturer Elise Kärkkäinen,

Elise Kärkkäinen is University Lecturer in English Philology, based at the University of Oulu. Her research has dealt with different aspects of conversational English, especially modality, preferred argument structure, stance taking, and multimodal analysis of recurrent conversational action formats. She is the author of Epistemic Stance in English Conversation: A Description of Its Interactional Functions, with a Focus on I think (2003, Benjamins) and has directed a research project entitled Interactional Practices and Linguistic Resources of Stance-taking in Spoken English (http://www.ekl.oulu.fi/stance/). Address for correspondence: English Philology, Faculty of Humanities, Box 1000, 90014 University of Oulu, Finland 〈elise.karkkainen@oulu.fi〉.

Linguistics Department, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA

English Philology, Faculty of Humanities, Box 1000, 90014 University of Oulu, Finland

Published Online: 2012-07-07

Published in Print: 2012-07-19

Citation Information: Text & Talk, Volume 32, Issue 4, Pages 433–451, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2012-0021.

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