Being a Woman: Membership Categorization in Interaction

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Nadja Tadic


MCA has aspired to underscore the significant influence categorization can have on the way members of a culture experience their social reality and assume their roles in it. By following such aspirations, analysts inevitably run the risk of projecting “common-sense” assumptions onto their data and having their work characterized as “wild and promiscuous” (Stoke, 2012). So as to avoid these pitfalls, analysts have searched for ways of making assertions based on the data alone, by treating membership categorization as analytically pertinent only when it is demonstrably relevant and procedurally consequential to the interaction. The trouble with this approach, however, is that the relevance of a certain category might not always be obvious in a single turn or even a single segment of talk. Categories and category-bound predicates may be unpacked throughout an entire interaction and explicitly named only in passing, if at all.

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