LINGUIST List 29.2908

Mon Jul 16 2018

Diss: Italian; Discourse Analysis; Forensic Linguistics; Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics: Maria Assunta Ciardullo: ''Analysis of conversational dominance within ‘Ndrangheta women wiretappings''

Editor for this issue: Sarah Robinson <srobinsonlinguistlist.org>


Date: 13-Jul-2018
From: Maria Assunta Ciardullo <ciardullomariegmail.com>
Subject: Analysis of conversational dominance within ‘Ndrangheta women wiretappings
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Institution: Università degli Studi della Calabria
Program: Politics, Culture and Development
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2017

Author: Maria Assunta Ciardullo

Dissertation Title: Analysis of conversational dominance within ‘Ndrangheta women wiretappings

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
                            Forensic Linguistics
                            Pragmatics
                            Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s): Italian (ita)

Dissertation Director:
Luciano Romito

Dissertation Abstract:

My doctoral dissertation investigates the conversational dominance of a ‘ndrangheta ruling woman within a corpus of wiretappings. Wiretappings are known to be a peculiar linguistic material because of the way they are achieved: in fact, wiretapped speakers produce spontaneous speech because they are not aware of being recorded for forensic purposes. Even though they are characterized by such important feature, wiretapped conversations have not received much attention by scholars, especially by those who work within the field of Pragmatics. This thesis aims to fill this gap by focusing on forensic interceptions authorized for ‘ndrangheta trials. In particular, 21 wiretappings are analysed in order to verify the conversational dominance practised by one of the very few ‘ndrangheta ruling women with members of her ndrina (i.e. structural nuclei of ‘ndrangheta) and with her relatives. Conversational dominance constitutes a pragmatic paradigm made up of three dimensions, namely sequential, participatory and quantitative dimensions. This pattern is examined starting from distribution of the sequential and participatory controlling actions, both successful and attempted, produced by the speakers and by measuring the length of speakers’ interactional spaces for the quantitative dimension.


Both quantitative and qualitative results suggest that the ruling woman dominates the sequential dimension of the telephone callings made with her son because of the typical default interactional asymmetry between mother and son. The woman dominates also wiretapped conversations made with her affiliates because of the topics developed. As far as concerns the participatory dimension, ‘ndrangheta ruling woman produces more successful controlling participatory actions only in those dyads where she interacts with affiliated women because they are socially dominated by the ruling member of the ‘ndrina. Further, the quantitative dimension doesn’t show any relevant result because the parameter focuses more on conversational turn rather than on pragmatic moves included.


The results in this thesis will contribute towards increasing the number of studies conducted upon conversational dominance within spontaneous speech intercepted for criminal trials.


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