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LINGUIST List 17.1382

Fri May 05 2006

Diss: Discourse Analysis: Bubel: 'The Linguistic Con...'

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        1.    Claudia Bubel, The Linguistic Construction of Character Relations in TV Drama : Doing friendship in Sex and the City


Message 1: The Linguistic Construction of Character Relations in TV Drama : Doing friendship in Sex and the City
Date: 04-May-2006
From: Claudia Bubel <c.bubelmx.uni-saarland.de>
Subject: The Linguistic Construction of Character Relations in TV Drama : Doing friendship in Sex and the City


Institution: Saarland University
Program: English Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2005

Author: Claudia Bubel

Dissertation Title: The Linguistic Construction of Character Relations in TV Drama : Doing friendship in Sex and the City

Dissertation URL: http://scidok.sulb.uni-saarland.de/volltexte/2006/598/

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Janet Holmes
Neal R Norrick
Erich Steiner

Dissertation Abstract:

The study attempts to answer the question how the audience in front of the
screen knows what kind of relationship characters on screen have from
overhearing their talk. Hence, it has two major focal points: dialogue
scripted for the screen and the linguistic construction of interpersonal
relations. Assuming a process view of friendship relations and developing a
model of screen-to-face discourse, which takes Goffman's notion of the
"overhearer" as a starting point and stresses the audience's central role
in the co-construction of meaning, this study pins down the textual cues
which lead to the viewer's formation of a relationship impression. The
patterns of the interaction order commonly termed "alignments" are shown to
be fundamental to the friendship process in which a balance between
association and dissociation needs to be achieved. Focusing on the
conversational contexts in which they accumulate, the workings of two
particularly interesting and versatile alignment practices are described:
familiar terms of address used in direct address and
question-answer-sequences. Familiar terms of address occur in contexts
characterised by a temporary suspension of some fundamental component of
friendship relations and function to assuage this disequilibrium by
signalling affiliation. Questions predominantly initiate and maintain
extended affiliative sequences such as intimacy pursuits and humorous
exchanges and have thus a more active part in friendship processes.
Analyses of the complex alignment practices in the women's conversations
reveal that the women shift between aligning and disaligning - often even
creating temporary interactional teams - and that these shifts accomplish
micro-transformations of social structure, which in turn construct social
relations on the macro-level. The study shows that the flexibility of the
interaction order brought about by shifting alignments allows for criticism
and disagreement in a friendship group and also for an intragroup
differentiation with more central and more marginal members in the sense of
a community of practice. The study hence not only contributes to the fields
of linguistic stylistics and media studies, but also to relational
communication and discourse analysis, in particular through revising the
concept of alignment.



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