Dori-Hacohen, Gonen, and Zohar Livnat. “Negotiating Norms of Discussion in the Public Arena: The Use of Irony in Israeli Political Radio Phone-In Programs.” Journal of Communication (early view; online first).
Phone-in radio programs are part of the public sphere and thus require open access, rationality, and practicality. Simultaneously, they are a media product, which requires entertaining content. We demonstrate these demands through the analysis of interactional irony in Israeli political radio phone-ins. From an emic perspective, callers see irony as detrimental to the discussions, yet hosts and regular callers use it to make entertaining interactions. Irony is a critical tool that points to violations of norms: the norm of a clear 2-sided interaction; norms akin to the Habermasian public sphere; and at the content level, irony is used to reject racist positions. Being indirect, irony can be used to create an entertaining yet critical discussion in the public sphere.
This article explores the properties of formulations in a corpus of Hebrew radio phone-ins by juxtaposing two theoretical frameworks: conversation analysis (CA) and dialogic syntax. This combination of frameworks is applied towards explaining an anomalous interaction in the collection – a caller’s marked, unexpected rejection of a formulation of gist produced by the radio phone-in’s host. Our analysis shows that whereas previous CA studies of formulations account for many instances throughout the corpus, understanding this particular formulation in CA terms does not explain its drastic rejection by the caller. We therefore turn to an in-depth examination of strategies for lexical and syntactic resonance as a stance-taking device throughout the interaction. In so doing, we not only shed light on the anomalous interaction, but also offer an answer to a provocative question previously put forward by Haddington (2004) concerning which of the two – stances or actions – have more meaningful consequences for the description of the organization of interaction. In the particular interaction analyzed here, stances play the more significant role. We propose that the intersubjective stance-taking of participants may be viewed as a meta-action employed among participants as they move across actions, sequences, and activities in talk.