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In the heat of the sequence: Interactional features preceding walkouts from argumentative talk

By I. Dersley and A.J. Wootton


This article examines complaint sequences that terminate with one party’s walking out, unilaterally, on the other. The analysis of three such extended sequences, using the Conversation Analytic approach, reveals interactional parallels among them. The complaints that precede the walkouts are constructed so as to identify deleterious and generic personal deficiencies. As these sequences develop, they come to focus on faults in the current behavior of those involved. In their final stages, the actions of the leavers appear sensitive to the persistence of behavior that has been deemed to be at fault. This combination of features seems connected to both the unilateral departure and the state of indignation that also becomes evidently present. This invites comparison with other forms of antagonistic dispute, such as those that lead to certain instances of murder

Year: 2001
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