This dissertation uses a synthesis of the different ethnomethodological traditions in order to illustrate the way in which participants employ norms as resource for social action in the course of public arguments. For ethnomethodological research the methods for the analysis of such norms are available from the members themselves (Garfinkel, 2002). Hence, this dissertation employs these members’ methods in order to investigate the way in which norms are enacted, constructed and used as resources in the course of one particular practice of social conflict—a practice which I call “enticing a challengeable”. This dissertation explores this as yet un-described practice of maneuvering an opponent with ‘obvious’ questions in order to subsequently make a damaging implication about them. In order to describe the way in which participants enact and employ norms in this practice I employ four methods; conversation analysis (CA), embodied analysis (EA), membership categorization analysis (MCA) and discursive social psychology (DSP). In doing so, this dissertation both describes the operation of the practice of enticing a challengeable and is able to compare and contrast the different traditions derived from the work the intellectual lineages of Garfinkel and Goffman.
Data for this investigation is drawn from videos of arguments which take place in public and have been uploaded to the social media website YouTube, with additional materials from other public sources such as Fox News and the BBC. A collection of 37 instances of the practice is used as the basis for analysis in each chapter. The arguments revolve around political, social and moral divisions which do not threaten the integrity of the personal relationships of the parties to the argument, but do threaten their public identity.
This dissertation describes the programs of research derived from these researchers which I have adopted in the current investigation. I differentiate between the member’s methods of analysis, and the academic’s program of research, in order to critically compare the different methods and programs. This dissertation presents a novel synthesis of research strategies applied to the description of the practice of enticing a challengeable which allows for a much wider analysis of the ethno-methods of order than was previously available.
The dissertation is divided into two parts. The first, using CA and EA, details the resources used to enact the practice of enticing a challengeable. The second, using MCA and DSP, illustrates the social action which the practice of enticing a challengeable enacts. In the first part I use CA and EA to describe the sequential, epistemic, preference-organisational, turn-taking, configurational, facial and gestural resources which participants deploy in order to enact the practice of enticing a challengeable. In the second part I use MCA and DSP to illustrate the way in which these resources are used to enact challenges to the target’s adherence to a norm. Finally, in the course of this analysis I engage in a DSP critique a social psychological theory of group conflict, Self Categorisation Theory (SCT).
Analysis in the second part describes the way in which in the course of this use of norms, challengers recast themselves as the agents of order as they propose a relative moral hierarchy between the norm-violating target and themselves, the order-enforcing protagonist. This dissertation illustrates the resources used by participants when becoming an agent of normativity in the course of one upmanship in public conflict—the practice of enticing a challengeable.