Communication advice and conversational practice in institutional settings Keun Sliedrecht (Language and Communication, Vrije Universiteit)
The aim of my research at the Vrije Universiteit is to gain insight into the relation between communication advice and conversational practice in institutional settings, and to contribute to theoretical development in this research area. In particular, the aim of my research is to gain insight into the characteristics of three genres of institutional communication: police interrogations, job interviews, and journalistic interviews. The three institutional genres have in common that the participants have conflicts of interests. For example, the task of a police-officer is to reveal the truth which normally is not in the interest of the suspect (Komter, 2003). Consequently, participants consider these conversations as ‘difficult’ and have an evident need for communication advice. It is remarkable that theoretical notions about the relation between communication advice and academic research are scarce. Peräkylä & Vehviläinen (2003) have given the first impulse to point to the normative models that underlie communication advice. In doing so they mentioned how findings of conversational analytic research may falsify, correct or provide a more detailed picture of implicit assumptions underlying communication advice (2003, pp. 731-2). Also, research of Komter (2002/3) demonstrated that communication advice can be incompatible with conversational practice. Communication advice seems to be ineffective if it is primarily addressed to activities of the speaker instead of reactions of the hearer. Secondly, communication advice is ineffective if it ignores the institutional tasks and interests of the participants. In my presentation I will discuss some examples of mismatches between communication advice and conversational practice.
References Drew, P. (2003). Comparative Analysis of Talk-in-Interaction in Different Institutional Settings: A Sketch. In: Glenn, p., LeBaron, C.D., Mandelbaum, J. (eds.), Studies in Language and Social interaction in honor of Robert Hopper, pp. 293-308. Komter, M.L. (2002/3). The construction of records in Dutch police interrogations. Information Design Journal+ Document Design 11, 2/3, 201-213. Komter, M.L. (2003). The interactional elicitation of a confession in a Dutch police interrogation. Research on Language and Social Interaction 36/4, 433-470. Peräkylä, A. & Vehviläinen, S. (2003) Conversation analysis and the professional stock of interactional knowledge. Discourse & Society 14/6, 727-750.