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Participation frameworks, discourse features and embedded requests in police V.A.T.E. interviews with children

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journal contribution
posted on 02.06.2017, 01:21 by Heydon, Georgina
This paper examines training interviews conducted as a part of the Video and Audio Taping of Evidence (VATE) project run by the Victorian Police Force. Transcriptions of seven video-taped interviews between police officers and children aged eight to eleven years formed the corpus of data for this study. Adopting an Interactional Sociolinguistics framework in order to examine certain discourse features of the interviews, it was found that the data could not be classified as typical of police institutional discourse such as that described by Auburn, Drake and Willig (1995:384) and Thomas (1989:137). Features such as frames and participant roles in the interviews as well as discoursal indicators (Thomas 1989) indicate an asymmetrical discourse structure said to be typical of institutional talk. However, other features of the data such as receipt markers (Atkinson 1992) were found to be indicative of a less formal style of discourse where such asymmetry is less common. Thus it was concluded that the notion of institutional discourse as asymmetrical discourse with asymmetrical patterns is problematicized by data such as that analyzed here.


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