Interactive Footing

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Abstract

In this chapter, Goodwin criticises Goffman's notion of footing and participation framework saying that it is just a typology and not based on sequential utterances. On p2 he states: "There are however serious problems with Goffman's approach to participation. What he provides is a typology of participants rather than analysis of how utterances are built through the participation of structurally different kinds of actors within ongoing courses of action." He makes a clear distinction between hearers and speakers and warns of just focusing on the speaker and being oblivious of the other party, the hearers who simultaneously display actions relevant to the talk in progress. He uses reported speech to make his argument, a wife reporting a faux-pas said by her husband. Then he talks about his research on his father, chil, who has serious aphasia and can only use three words Yes, No, And yet he is able to engage the participants around him to construct his own talk through embodied action such as gaze, intonation, and gesture. However, these participants need to be knowing participants to be able to co-construct his father's talk as they need to have access to his life, being the son and daughter, they would. However, a stranger would not be able to co-construct Chil's talk. So Chil's talk in indexically marked (this is what Goodwin on p32 refers to as "the rather open-ended indexical field") for the others to be able to repair the trouble that Chil points out when he says no and provide an alternative. Therefore Goodwin points out the flaw in Goffman's participation framework Footing, and Volosinov's notion of hearer, which Goodwin finds limiting in view of the data he has and demonstrates how hearers are active co-participants in the on-going talk.

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