Feminist conversation analysis

Examining violence against women

Authored by: Emma Tennent , Ann Weatherall

The Routledge Handbook of Language, Gender, and Sexuality

Print publication date:  April  2021
Online publication date:  April  2021

Print ISBN: 9781138200265
eBook ISBN: 9781315514857
Adobe ISBN:


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Feminist conversation analysis is a powerful methodology for research on language, gender, and sexuality. Although this research approach has been controversial, feminist conversation analysis is a productive approach to examine how issues of gender, power, and identity are consequential in everyday social interactions. The chapter reviews feminist conversation analytic research that has examined oppression in everyday life, the organisation of the gendered social-moral order, and interventions for social change. We illustrate the methodological approach with a discussion of our research project on violence against women. Analysis of calls to a victim support service demonstrates how women disclose violence and negotiate the meanings of victimhood while seeking help. Our findings show that callers described themselves and their problems in ways that invoked common-sense cultural knowledge about gendered violence. Analysing the turn-by-turn unfolding of social interaction provides insight on longstanding feminist questions, such as the difficulties of disclosing violence, women’s experiences with criminal justice institutions, and the practicalities of seeking support. Focusing on what people do and say as they seek help can be used to improve the delivery of service, thus making a practice difference for people in need. Grounded analysis of everyday interactions thus offer remarkable potential for feminist aims.

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