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Constructing blame for school exclusion in an online comments forum: Membership categorisation analysis and endogenous category work

Gibson, W; Carles, R-C; (2019) Constructing blame for school exclusion in an online comments forum: Membership categorisation analysis and endogenous category work. Discourse, Context and Media , 32 , Article 100331. 10.1016/j.dcm.2019.100331. Green open access

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Abstract

In this article we use Membership Categorisation Analysis to analyse conversations in an online forum in the British newspaper The Guardian. The comments thread followed an Op Ed piece that discussed the exclusion of ‘under-performing’ children in British secondary schools. Our analysis of these comments contributes to existing studies of online forums as a mode of public discourse and demonstrates the importance of research that focusses on interactional practices rather than on notions such as ‘politeness’ or ‘framing’. We show the ways that participants used endogenous conversational categories to produce epistemic alignment and disalignment with each other, employing various strategies such as expanding category collections, creating relations between ‘culpable’ categories and ‘trouble’ categories, and re-describing categories through alternate category predicates. Through this, we see that the conversational actions undertaken in the forum are much more complicated than current concepts allow for, and we reflect on what such complexity might mean for the study and design of news forums.

Type: Article
Title: Constructing blame for school exclusion in an online comments forum: Membership categorisation analysis and endogenous category work
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.dcm.2019.100331
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcm.2019.100331
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: News forums, Membership categorisation analysis, Flaming, Political discourse, Epistemic alignment
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10080683
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