Moving forward with membership categorization analysis: Methods for systematic analysis

2017-09-22T12:20:39Z (GMT) by Elizabeth Stokoe
This article has four aims. First, it will consider explicitly, and polemically, the hierarchical relationship between conversation analysis (CA) and membership categorization analysis (MCA). Whilst the CA ‘juggernaut’ flourishes, the MCA ‘milk float’ is in danger of being run off the road. For MCA to survive either as a separate discipline, or within CA as a focus equivalent to other ‘generic orders of conversation’, I suggest it must generate new types of systematic studies and reveal fundamental categorial practices. With such a goal in mind, the second aim of the article is to provide a set of clear analytic steps and procedures for conducting MCA, which are grounded in basic categorial and sequential concerns. Third, the article aims to demonstrate how order can be found in the intuitively ‘messy’ discourse phenomenon of membership categories, and how to approach their analysis systematically as a robust feature of particular action-oriented environments. Through the exemplar analyses, the final aim of the article is to promote MCA as a method for interrogating culture, reality and society, without recourse to its reputed ‘wild and promiscuous’ analytic approach.