Chapter published in:Questioning and Answering Practices across Contexts and Cultures
Edited by Cornelia Ilie
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 323] 2021
► pp. 257–283
“Doing being collegial”
Participants’ positioning work in Q&A sessions
This chapter applies conversation analysis to investigate questioning and responding practices in the understudied context of post-presentation question-and-answer (Q&A) sessions. Participants include speakers who represent a U.S. philanthropic foundation and audiences interested in health issues. Examining a corpus of question-answer sequences from four video-recorded Q&A sessions, we find that participants routinely use their multi-unit questioning and responding turns to minimize asymmetry, positioning themselves and their interlocutors as peers with shared concerns. By documenting how presenters and audience members “do collegiality” through questioning and responding practices, the study contributes to research on question-answer sequences in institutional settings, revealing a complex interactional context in which participants work to blur the line between “expert” and “layperson” identities.
Keywords: Q&A sessions, conversation analysis, collegiality, identity, positioning, institutional interaction, philanthropy communication
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