Telling Tales of the Unexpected: The Organization of Factual Discourse

 
9780745010526: Telling Tales of the Unexpected: The Organization of Factual Discourse

Offers a study of how people organize their accounts of paranormal, telepathic, clairvoyant or precognitive experiences, showing there are often recognizable linguistic mechanisms employed by the claimants. The book argues that such claims are frequent enough to warrant academic attention. The mere act of claiming paranormal experiences can lead to assumptions in others of, at best, crankiness, or worse, some form of psychological deficiency. Research on the everyday conversational interaction of claimants has shown that participants may design their utterances defensively in circumstances in which the co-participants may be hostile to, sceptical of or suspicious of, or simply unsympathetic to, what the speaker may be saying. For example, Pomerantz (1986) shows how "extreme case formulations", such as "never", "always" and "everyone" are used in the routine conversation of claimants to guard against the likelihood of a recipient being able to undermine the basis of the speaker's complaints. Courtroom utterances also show this tendency. The author identifies the properties of a sequence which occurs at the very beginning of accounts. The opening sequence has three stages - in the first, the speaker produces an oblique, inexplicit reference to the experience they have just had; in the second and third, the speaker provides two adjacent descriptions of "when" the experience happened. The author argues that these "when" formulations are designed to provide a setting sequence which the speakers exploit to produce formulations of when the experience happened that are defensively designed. The writer also draws together points of convergence on this topic from psychology, sociolinguistics and parapsychology.

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About the Author:

Robin Wooffitt is Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology, University of Surrey.

Review:

The content of this book is both timely and informative.>>>> (David Middleton)

The content of this book is both timely and informative. (David Middleton)

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