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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

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Feeling spirits: sharing subjective paranormal experience through embodied talk and action

Rachael Ironside
Published Online: 2018-09-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2018-0020


This article examines how subjective paranormal experiences are shared and understood through embodied talk and action. Paranormal experiences often possess subjective qualities, regularly experienced as “senses” or “feelings”; however, the ability to share these experiences collectively provides the opportunity to validate such events. Drawing upon video data selected from over 100 hours of recorded footage during UK-based paranormal investigations, this study uses conversation analysis to examine how individuals communicate their experiences to others and through this evoke a way of understanding their experience as potentially paranormal. It is argued that embodied talk and action invite others to not only see the subjective paranormal experiences of others, but to understand and become co-experiencers in these events.

Keywords: embodied action; collective experience; conversation analysis; paranormal; social interaction; gesture


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About the article

Rachael Ironside

Rachael Ironside is a senior lecturer in Events Management at Robert Gordon University, UK. Her research examines group interaction and paranormal experiences using video data and conversation analysis to explore how groups collectively identify and negotiate ostensibly paranormal events. In particular, her research explores how groups navigate experiences through a series of verbal and multimodal interactions with people, space, and objects.

Published Online: 2018-09-20

Citation Information: Text & Talk, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2018-0020.

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