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Vocabularies of social influence: managing the moral accountability of influencing another

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journal contribution
posted on 15.07.2020, 15:12 by Bogdana Huma, Elizabeth Stokoe, Rein Sikveland
While there are numerous definitions and conceptual accounts of “persuasion” and other forms of social influence, social scientists lack empirical insight into how and when people actually use terms like “persuade”, “convince”, “change your mind” – what we call the vocabularies of social influence – in actual social interaction. We collected instances of the spontaneous use of these and other social influence terms (such as “schmoozing” and “hoodwinking”) in face-to-face and telephone conversation across multiple domestic and institutional settings. The recorded data were transcribed and analysed using discursive psychology and conversation analysis with a focus on the actions accomplished in and through the use of social influence terms. We found that when speakers use persuading – but not convincing or changing somebody’s mind – they orient to the moral accountability of influencing others. The specificity with which social actors deploy these terms demonstrates the continued importance of developing our understandings of the meaning of words – especially psychological ones – via their vernacular use by ordinary people in the first instance, rather than have psychologists reify, operationalise, and build an architecture for social psychology without paying attention to what people actually do with the “psychological thesaurus”.

History

School

  • Social Sciences and Humanities

Department

  • Communication and Media

Published in

British Journal of Social Psychology

Publisher

John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Acceptance date

13/07/2020

Publication date

2020-08-09

Copyright date

2020

ISSN

0144-6665

eISSN

2044-8309

Language

en

Depositor

Prof Elizabeth Stokoe. Deposit date: 13 July 2020

Licence

Exports