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Challenging generalisations: Leveraging the power of individuality in support group interactions

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journal contribution
posted on 10.03.2020, 11:29 by Marco Pino
Explicit generalisations are statements that attribute a characteristic to all members of a social category (e.g., drug users). This paper examines the tensions and negotiations that the use of generalisations prompts within support group interactions. Generalisations are practices for the cautious implementation of delicate actions. They can be used to convey perspectives on group members’ experiences by implication (without commenting on them directly), by virtue of those members belonging to the category to which a generalisation applies. At the same time, generalisations can misrepresent some individual cases within that category. Using conversation analysis, the paper investigates how generalisations are deployed, challenged, and then defended in support group interactions. These analyses identify a tension between utilising the sense-making resources that category memberships afford, and the protection of its members from unwelcome generalisations. Data consist of recorded support-group meetings for people recovering from drug addiction (in Italy) and for bereaved people (in the UK).

Funding

Work on the TC data was funded by the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European’s Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7=2007-2013) under REA grant agreement no 626893.

History

Published in

Language in Society

Publisher

Cambridge University Press (CUP)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© The Author

Publisher statement

This article has been published in a revised form in Language in Society https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404520000603. This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed. © The Author.

Acceptance date

29/02/2020

Publication date

2020-07-24

Copyright date

2020

ISSN

0047-4045

eISSN

1469-8013

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Marco Pino . Deposit date: 7 March 2020

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