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Getting service at the constituency office: Analyzing citizens' encounters with their Member of Parliament

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journal contribution
posted on 10.09.2018 by Emily Hofstetter, Elizabeth Stokoe
In this paper, we present an analysis of how constituents procure services at the constituency office of a Member of Parliament (MP) in the United Kingdom. This paper will investigate how several previously documented interactional practices (e.g. entitlement) combine at the constituency office in a way that secures service. From a corpus of 12.5 hours of interaction, and using conversation analysis, we examine constituents’ telephone calls and meetings with constituency office staff and the MP, identifying practices constituents use. First, constituents opened encounters with bids to tell narratives. Second, constituents presented lengthy and detailed descriptions of their difficulties. These descriptions gave space to manage issues of legitimacy and entitlement, while simultaneously recruiting assistance. Third, we examine ways in which constituents display uncertainty about how the institution of the constituency office functions, and what services are available. The paper offers original insights into how constituency services are provided, and how constituency offices give access and support to ordinary citizens, while expanding the conversation analytic literature on institutional service provision.

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies

Published in

TEXT & TALK

Volume

38

Issue

5

Pages

551 - 573 (23)

Citation

HOFSTETTER, E. and STOKOE, E., 2018. Getting service at the constituency office: Analyzing citizens' encounters with their Member of Parliament. Text & Talk, 38(5), pp. 551-573.

Publisher

DE GRUYTER MOUTON

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This paper was published in the journal TEXT & TALK and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2018-0014

Acceptance date

12/06/2018

Publication date

2018-08-04

ISSN

1860-7330

eISSN

1860-7349

Language

en

Exports