Discourses in action: Operations of race, sexuality and gender in Chinese talk-in-interaction
AuthorBlain, Hayden Robert
AffiliationSchool of Languages and Linguistics
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2020 Hayden Robert Blain
This thesis is a conversation analytic and poststructuralist study of discourses and social categories. In particular, it analyses how discursive categories of race, sexuality and gender operate in talk among a group of Chinese lesbians, and how the categories produced by these discourses are implemented in, and potentially reshaped by, interaction. The data which is presented and analysed in this thesis comes from a corpus of approximately 16 hours of audio recordings of conversations between and with Chinese lesbians who live in Melbourne, Australia. The thesis has two main aims. Firstly, it analyses how discourses operate in interaction. It does this by locating moments in interaction where discourses of race, sexuality and gender are oriented to. It shows how categories of race are resisted in ambiguous interactional projects; categories of sexuality are shown to operate and potentially alter in repair sequences; and categories of gender are shown to operate and be normalised in storytelling sequences. Secondly, the thesis aims to develop a critical conversation analysis methodology. In order to achieve this aim, the thesis builds on feminist and critically-oriented conversation analysis (CA) to develop and implement critical CA. This methodology finds points of compatibility between CA and poststructuralism. The implementation of this methodology also contributes to the long-standing debate between conversation analysts and critically-oriented discourse analysts about the compatibility between poststructuralist and conversation analytic epistemologies. The thesis concludes that critical CA can indeed be used to show the operation of discourses in mundane, everyday interaction. This can improve our understanding of how social categories are produced, sustained, resisted, and even potentially altered. Such findings may allow us to contribute an understanding of the operation of discourse to a political project of reducing discrimination based on social categories.
KeywordsCategories; Conversation analysis; Poststructuralism; Ethnomethodology; Discourses; Race; Sexuality; Gender; Turn allocation; Interactional project; Ambiguity; Whiteness; Repair; Storytelling; Affiliation; Stance; Chinese; Mandarin; Lesbian
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