Chapter published in:The Discourse of Indirectness: Cues, voices and functions
Edited by Zohar Livnat, Pnina Shukrun-Nagar and Galia Hirsch
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 316] 2020
► pp. 231–252
“Do you condemn?”
Negotiating power relations through (in)direct questions and answers design in ethno-political interviews
This chapter discusses a specific type of interactional ritual in ethno-political interviews, one that hinders their conciliatory potential. The ritual is performed by two types of participants: Jewish-Israeli interviewers demanding the condemnation of transgressions committed by others, and the respective response by Arab-Israeli political representatives in the role of interviewees. Negotiation over condemnations is examined, as this speech act is considered crucial to setting up models for civic behavior. The chapter demonstrates how interviewers’ efforts to exercise interactional and social power through pushing their interviewees to adopt a consensual stance are rejected by resorting to indirect answer designs. It concludes by discussing the extent to which “do you condemn” questions may be perceived as a legitimate professional journalistic practice.
- 2.Political condemnations and moral scripts
- 3.Calls to condemn as rituals of loyalty in political interviews
- 4.Interviewers’ self-positioning through a “do you condemn” question
- 5.Interviewees’ responses to “Do you condemn” questions
- Direct refusal to condemn
- Direct agreement to condemn
- “I don’t want to be seen as someone who came here today to justify anything”: Overt resistance to answering
- “I wouldn’t do it”: Shifting from the general to the personal
- “I express my deep condolences”: Replacing condemnation with a different speech act
- “We have already condemned”: Referring to previous action
- “I oppose violence but the real violence is the occupation”: Shifting the blame
Published online: 29 October 2020
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