Broadcasting the royal role: Constructing culturally situated identities in the Princess Diana Panorama interview

Jackie Abell, Elizabeth Stokoe

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    39 Citations (Scopus)


    We examine critically the two traditions of work that have informed discursive approaches to identity: social constructionism and conversation analysis. Within both strands, identity is theorized as a flexible phenomenon that is situated in conversations. But although constructionists locate identity within the social, such work remains at a theoretical and rather abstract level and often fails to interrogate the discursive practices through which identity is constituted. Conversely, this attention to the occasioning of identity in everyday talk is precisely the focus of the second, conversation analytic strand of work. Whereas constructionists attend to the wider cultural positioning of identities, conversation analysts resist commenting upon the social significance of what is constructed in interaction. Conversation analysis is therefore limited by its restricted notion of culture in the study of the situated social self. Despite the apparent conflict between these approaches, we suggest that a synthesis of the two provides a comprehensive framework for analysing identity. Drawing upon the BBC Panorama interview between Martin Bashir and Princess Diana, we explore how culturally situated identities are located in this conversational context. We conclude that analysts must not only attend to the micro-level organization of identities but also engage in a wider understanding of the cultural framework within which they are located.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)417-435
    Number of pages19
    JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2001


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