Dissertation Information for Kathleen Haspel
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: Not just 'hot air': Talk of personal experience on news talk radio as collaborative and critical engagement in the public sphere
Abstract: This study explores what talk of personal experience is doing in discussions of news and public affairs on radio talk shows. Using conversation analysis to examine a corpus of calls to two local news talk shows in the New York City area, this study shows how callers construct their personal experience in ways that (a) legitimize their participation in discussions of news and public affairs on these programs, (b) facilitate their taking critical positions on public issues in these discussions, and (c) invite others to consider these issues from the perspectives they offer through talk of their experience with them. Detailed analysis of the ways in which callers to these programs organize their experience in multi-unit turns at talk, and orient it to the ongoing discourse of news and public affairs on these programs, shows that talk of personal experience provides them with a means of being critical in a cooperative and non confrontational manner. These findings offer a critique of conventional notions of what laypersons' participation in mediated public discourse entails, by showing it to be a collaborative and critical exchange of ideas and perspectives on common affairs, namely a public sphere, not just individual expressions of controversial opinion, or "hot air."
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