LINGUIST List 15.255

Fri Jan 23 2004

Confs: Discourse Analysis/Lyon, France

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  1. melanie.lesguillons, International Association for Dialogue Analysis, Lyon 2004

Message 1: International Association for Dialogue Analysis, Lyon 2004

Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 12:31:18 -0500 (EST)
From: melanie.lesguillons <>
Subject: International Association for Dialogue Analysis, Lyon 2004

International Association for Dialogue Analysis, Lyon 2004:
Confiding/Self-Disclosing in Interaction

Date: 22-Sep-2004 - 24-Sep-2004
Location: Lyon, France
Contact: Catherine Kerbrat-Orecchioni
Contact Email: 

Linguistic Sub-field: Discourse Analysis 

Meeting Description:

''Le moi est ha�ssable'' (''Self is detestable''): in the perspective
of Discourse Analysis, Pascal's famous saying can be seen as referring
to the fact that self-centered discourse (''conversational
narcissism'') is generally discredited and even stigmatized in our
societies. For different reasons, self-disclosure is a difficult and
risky activity. The risks are for example to contravene the ''modesty
maxim'' (Leech), to ''expose'' oneself and thus become vulnerable by
giving the other access to one's ''reserves'' (Goffman) and

This is the case in ''confidences'', the activity of confiding being
considered as a particular case of self-disclosing. However,
self-centered talk is widespread in everyday life (Derlega & al. :
''Self-disclosure is a fundamental ingredient of human
communication''). It is an expected communicative activity between
intimates, and even an obligatory one in certain institutional
settings or situations (such as confessional, surgery, courtroom, job
interview, etc.). So the questions are: where, when, how, and why do
people engage in this discursive activity? Which contexts favour its
emergence? Which mechanisms and strategies are displayed by the two
parties in the exchange in order to start, carry on, and complete
self-disclosure activity? What are the aims of this activity and its
effects on the construction of the exchange and interpersonal
relationships? And finally : How is it represented in different kinds
of fictional works (novels, plays, movies, operas, etc.)?

Five years ago, a symposium took place in Paris (Ren� Descartes
University) about a similar topic. The main focus was the construction
of self-identity through the production of autobiographical
discourse. The Lyon IADA conference will continue this investigation,
with a focus on self-centered talk in oral interactions, considered as
a co-constructed activity, eventually "negotiated" between the
participants. From this common point of view, the investigation will
be led in different directions, given that self-disclosure is an
activity which can take various forms according to:

(1) The context in which it takes place: programs on the media (such
as "intimity shows"), institutional settings (where the script of the
interaction allocates some place for self-centered talk), or informal
situations (where it "emerges" in a more unforseeable manner).

(2) The fact that we are dealing with "authentic" interactions, or on
the contrary, with fictional dialogue: in novels, plays, and maybe in
other types of artistic productions (opera, comic strips, etc.),
"confiding" appears in sorts of "scenes de genre" which are codified
to some degree (in love novels, "confidence" is a necessary episode of
the prototypical scenario; and classical drama has instituted a
specific character, the "confident", whose role is to appeal for hero
or heroin's confidences and so, to get the audience informed of
his/her hidden thoughts and feelings).

Self-disclosure is therefore particularly relevant in order to
investigate how one and the same discursive activity can, from common
characteristics, modulate according to the communicative context in
which it takes place, and the semiotic system from which it is shaped.
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