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Trying similarity, doing difference: the role of interviewer self-disclosure in interview talk with young people

By Jackie Abell, Abigail Locke, Susan Condor, Stephen Gibson and Clifford Stevenson


Advocates of semi-structured interview techniques have often argued that rapport may be built, and power inequalities between interviewer and respondent counteracted, by strategic self-disclosure on the part of the interviewer. Strategies that use self-disclosure to construct similarity between interviewer and respondent rely on the presumption that the respondent will in fact interpret the interviewer's behaviour in this way. In this article we examine the role of interviewer self-disclosure using data drawn from three projects involving interviews with young people. We consider how an interviewer's attempts to ‘do similarity’ may be interpreted variously as displays of similarity or, ironically, as indicators of difference by the participant, and map the implications that this may have for subsequent interview dialogue. A particular object of concern relates to the ways in which self-disclosing acts may function in the negotiation of category entitlement within interview interaction

Topics: H1, BF
Publisher: Sage
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:4397

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