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Impersonal you and stance-taking in social research interviews

Myers, Greg and Lampropoulou, Sofia (2012) Impersonal you and stance-taking in social research interviews. Journal of Pragmatics, 44 (10). pp. 1206-1218. ISSN 0378-2166

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    Abstract

    The pronoun you is prototypically used to refer to the addressee or addressees in an interaction, but it also has other uses, including a kind of impersonal reference that does not pick out any particular person, but is the equivalent of someone, anyone, or one. This paper focuses on how the shift to an impersonal you works in one genre of interaction, research interviews by academic social science researchers, where the participants often use you where the previous turn might have projected the use of I or they. We argue that the shift, and related cues of the dimension of specific vs. general, can be seen as a form of stance-taking. We explore three possible functions: (1) recategorising of the speaker and their category-associated experiences, (2) displaying perceptions as shared, not merely individual, and (3) invoking commonplaces to deal with dilemmas posed by the question. These rhetorical actions can be related to the demands of the research interview, with the interviewee claiming or disclaiming an entitlement to have a stance, supporting their stances against possible challenge, and giving accounts or resisting judgments of the interviewee's behaviour or views. Attention to these shifts can make social science researchers more aware of the interactions underlying the transcripts.

    Item Type: Article
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Pragmatics
    Uncontrolled Keywords: stance ; impersonal pronoun ; research interview
    Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
    Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Linguistics & English Language
    ID Code: 55128
    Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
    Deposited On: 18 Jun 2012 09:18
    Refereed?: Yes
    Published?: Published
    Last Modified: 25 Oct 2012 13:20
    Identification Number:
    URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/55128

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