These devices are always created in situ as the work of assembling the categories and work these categories and devices are put to are managed within the immediate and local context of their use. This indexicality of language use is central to the analytic detail within this collection but with an appreciation that the local work of categorisation is designed for a wider political environment.
As such, whilst garnering support or advocating for or against a particular policy, debating a future action or stirring up trouble is irredeemably achieved through local action, this action is not isolated or private but, as knowingly public, reveals a wider strategic purpose which is both observable through the local dynamics of the situation, the media event in which it exists and the wider political context in which it operates.
With this context in mind we now turn our attention to the contributions to this collection. In chapter two the editors William Housley and Richard Fitzgerald examine the way identity categories, predicates, and configurations are used in accomplishing policy debate in participatory frameworks. Through this discussion a focus on the immediate and micro-character of activities, such as those found in a radio phone-in and political interview, are seen to provide a powerful apparatus through which senses of democratic exchange and the promotion of specific views and contested issues can be realized.
In this way Housley and Fitzgerald demonstrate how interviews, phone-ins, and the like represent a form of interactional and discursive machinery through which accountability is popularly heard to be enacted and realized and policy debate organized, managed, and displayed. In the next chapter Alain Bovet explores an aspect of participatory democracy in Switzerland where citizens have the right to initiate or modify public policy by raising enough signatures to trigger a national vote. This not only serves to allocate positions to those involved in the debate but also through use of biographical information prior to the debate provides a categorial frame by which topic identity drawn upon is predicated with credibility within the debate.
What the discussion highlights, and which is further fleshed out in other discussions in the collection, is the way category work is both essential to political and policy discussions but also how this constrains and influences the workings of political processes. In the next chapter Emo Gotsbachner examines a political debate in Austria using MCA and CA to detail interactive moves and identity work which enable the speaker to position themselves within and as part of an interpretive frame from which to conduct their argument.
Within this interpretive frame the work of identity is seen as crucial as it provides access, legitimation and credibility to the speaker. Whilst initially highlighting the interactional work of establishing a credible identity through self categorisation it is the categorisation of others which is shown to be a key element in establishing, maintaining and defending a credible position within an adversarial debate.
In this Gotsbachner reveals a high degree of dexterity by which speakers are able to interpret local interactional events as representative of the presence or absence of predicates of political value such as trust, honesty and credibility. The analysis focuses on the closing round of answers by panel members as they are invited by the hosts to consider the implications of future action. For Rendle-Short the appeal to various political constituencies is operationalised through the generation of a sense of community that possesses certain predicates through which the political spokesperson then aligns themselves to.
In the next chapter Patrick Watson and Christian Greiffenhagen shift the focus from media debates to the process of policy news gathering by press gallery journalists. Examining the information gathering process prior to broadcast the authors reveal the collaborative work by journalists; where rather than the encounter being a competitive free for all with journalists competing for scoops or exclusives there is a high degree of collaboration throughout the event. As the authors point out, the collaborative work engaged in by and within the press scrum where policy is questioned is not for an overhearing audience — rather this process stands prior to any particular medium e.
The way events are framed and policies presented through such framing is central to the discussion by Marian Sloboda in his examination of Belarus news where he highlights the work of categorising a national population in support of a national policy.
Rather, the media in this and other countries is shown to use various techniques by which to present opinions — or the context from which those opinions are presented — from within or as part of a particular moral frame. Through tracing the scandal through its dialogic network of mutual interdependence of media and politics the authors highlight the trajectory of the scandal and in doing so relate this to understanding the anatomy of scandals.
In her discussion, Thomas examines a series of newspaper articles and commentary leading up to and against a background of proposed government policy concerning the need to equip teachers through on going development of professional standards. Focusing on one particular Australian newspaper, The Australian, Thomas traces the discussion of and around education policy and the proliferation of news articles on education policy in the run up to a government policy conference.
Through this the discussion highlights the way the media created a discursive context by which policy discussions could be framed. Focusing on an open letter to all teachers the discussion explores the policy data through three levels of analysis; social and historical context of the document, the language and organization of the content of the document, and finally the ideological power revealed through lexical choice.
In doing this the authors explore the way membership category work is used within the letter to invoke a moral imperative to accept the ideas behind the policy and act accordingly. What becomes clear from the varied discussions in this collection is that whilst the studies draw from different types of analysis a concern with language practices and categorisation, albeit within sequential, dialogical, moral and ideological frames, is central to understanding media, interaction, policy and debate.
While polls may be invoked, or statistics relayed and discussed, the primary means through which policy debate and talk is accomplished and presented is grounded in mundane methods of lay reasoning. Studies of Talk at Work. Edinburgh University Press Button, G. Ethnomethodology and the Human Sciences. Journalists and Public Figures on the Air. Identity, categorization and sequential organization: Categorisation, accounts and motives: In Devolution and Identity edited by J.
Omnirelevance and Interactional Context. Australian Journal of Communication in press Garfinkel, H. Working out Durkheim's Aphorism.
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