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Book: Discourse and Responsibility in Professional Settings

Chapter: Chapter 8: Political interviews and responsibility: A case study of its interactional organization

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.26844


The chapter analyses the interactional organization of responsibility in the genre and media event of political interview. Political interviews are defined as negotiating validity claims in context distinguishing between first-frame interaction (interviewer and interviewee), and media-frame interaction between first frame and media frame. The first part of the chapter examines responsibility as a concept and assigns it a presuppositional status, indexing felicity conditions. Responsibility differs from speech act theory’s individual-oriented sincerity condition in so far as it is a dialogue principle anchored to the set of coparticipants. The second part of the chapter presents a case study of the interactional organization of responsibility in political interviews and pays special reference to the communicative functions of explicit and implicit references to the media frame, such as TV, programme and institutional roles. In prototypical interviews, explicit references to the media frame tend to occur in the opening and closing sections only. If employed in a topical-sequence section, they may be used to secure the discourse common ground between first- and second-frame coparticipants supporting the interactional organization of responsibility. Alternatively, they can be used to express conversationally implicated meaning, such as challenge, criticism or irresponsibility.

Chapter Contributors

  • Anita Fetzer ( - afetzer) 'University of Augsburg'