Item Details

Family therapy and accountability

Issue: Vol 9 No. 2 (2012) Morality in Professional Practice

Journal: Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice

Subject Areas: Writing and Composition Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/japl.v9i2.25730


A basic issue of family morality is the local matrix of accountabilities, that is, the regulation of issues concerning who is accountable to whom and in what areas. Family therapy talk is therefore a genre that may inform us about the moral order of family life. This paper draws on video-recorded sessions of family therapy (involving adolescents and their parents). The analyses involve detailed sequential analyses of alignments and disalignments in the creation and contestation of various blame accounts, including analyses of justification and excuses as responses to blame. The therapeutic sessions are partly oriented to the nature of 'the problem'. Therapy talk between parents and children is indeed found to be replete with blame-implicative descriptions and categorizations. The analyses specifically focus on the ways in which blame-implicative descriptions and social categorizations are deployed and contested in blame sequences between parent and child. Both parties deployed a number of interactional resources for backing up their social categorizations and their version of past events.

Author: Karin Aronsson, Ann-Christin Cederborg

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