UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The social organization of conversational narrative : a methodological contribution to linguistic discourse analysis via conversational analysis Spielmann, Roger Willson


This thesis examines stories bold in natural conversation with an interest in discovering and describing social features of conversational discourse. Sociology has begun to develop a strong interest in narrative structures, and this interest parallels the current interest in discourse and seeks to make the sociological enterprise of conversational analysis relevant to discourse analysis, particularly in relation to narrative. The data for this study were collected over a period of four years (1979-83). Approximately 19 hours of tape-recorded conversations recorded in a variety of situations were collected. After a lengthy period of listening to the tapes, instances where stories are told were isolated and transcribed, and structural features of prefacings, tellings, and responses were subjected to formal analysis. The analytical techniques used in this study were first developed by Harvey Sacks and his students. The contribution of this study is to provide the discourse analyst with a set of well-defined discovery procedures for describing ethnographic features which influence discourse. The ethnographic interest has two distinctive features; (1) it is oriented to members' practices, and (2) it is 'micro' in character, oriented to a close reading of interactions in context. In the analytical chapters (3-6), the thesis explores how characters may be formulated in the narratives and what kinds of interactional work gets done (Chapter 3), the interactional importance of collateral information in narrative telling sequences (Chapter 4), how narratives get generated from prior ongoing talk (Chapter 5), and narrative response types and preferences (Chapter 6). Throughout the thesis an interest is maintained in relating the findings of the study with current findings in discourse analysis. The thesis concludes with a chapter summarising its original contribution and relating the methodology and findings of the study to recent methodologies and findings in discourse analysis.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.