Arguments, Asymmetries, and Power on Talk Radio
By Ian Hutchby
Routledge – 1996 – 144 pages
Series: Everyday Communication Series
Using conversation analysis to explore the nature of argument, asymmetry, and power on talk radio, this book focuses on the interplay between the structures of talk in interaction and the structures of participation on talk radio. In the process, it demonstrates how conversation analysis may be used to account for power as a feature of institutional discourse.
To address a number of key issues in the study of institutional communication and conflict talk, a case study of a British talk radio show is presented, stimulating some penetrating questions:
* What is distinctive about interaction on talk radio?
* What is the basis of the communicative asymmetries between hosts and callers?
* How are their arguments constructed, and in what ways does the setting enable and constrain the production of conflict talk?
These questions are answered through the detailed study of conversational phenomena, informed by a critical concern for the relationship between talk and social structure.
This book will be of interest to a wide readership consisting of academics, advanced undergraduates, and postgraduate students in a range of courses in sociology, linguistics, media/communication/cultural studies, anthropology, and popular culture.
"…Hutchby's data samples are amusing and readable[,] and…the book is written with some considerable eloquence.
"CA's successes in charting the regularities of talk as social action--its treatment of talk as doing things--give Hutchby licence to explore two important things wholly out of the grasp of traditional argumentation theory: arguments as manifestations of asymmetry (and, if one likes, 'power') and as ways in which people cooperate to produce their culture…What Hutchby is trying to do is find a language with which to handle, on the one hand, a concept uncomfortable to conversation analysis, and, on the other, data unfamiliar to social theorists. Noone will doubt the solidity of the analysis he comes up with, and the usefulness of its insights into the social structure of this arena of our culture; nor will anyone doubt the adventurousness of using the Foucaultian broad brush in the same picture as CA pointillisme."
Contents: Series Editors' Preface. Talk Radio and the Discourse of Argument. Analyzing Argument. Arguments, Agendas and Asymmetries. The Pursuit of Controversy. The Uses of Interruption. Endings and Outcomes. Conclusion.