Presentation Title

But “we” who?’: Negotiation of belonging through problematized collective self-reference

Presenter Name

Stamatina Katsiveli

Presenter Title/Affiliation

Queen Mary University

Start Date

22-5-2021 3:45 PM

Event Name

Panel discussion

Panel Number

18

Panel Chair Name

Michelle Marzullo

Zoom URL to Join

https://ciis.zoom.us/j/96704974821

Zoom Meeting ID

967 0497 821

Abstract

Prior work on identity and belonging across disciplines has highlighted the different ways in which belonging is materialized in practice (Brubaker & Cooper 2000; Yuval-Davis 2010). In the present paper I investigate individual perceptions and experiences of belonging as evidenced in discursive constructions of groupness. More specifically, I focus on the ways in which non-heterosexual Greek individuals understand and experience their belonging to a perceived ‘Greek LGBT community’. Data are drawn from eight focus groups with 25 Greek LGBT individuals regarding issues of sexual citizenship in Greece, politics, religion, and family. During the conversation, participants used a series of strategies of self-positioning and stance-taking; among them, they systematically claimed membership to a variety of different – often overlapping – social categories. Adopting a conversation analytic perspective, I look at the use of collective selfreference (‘we’) and the ways in which its referential fluidity is managed in language (e.g. through constructions such as ‘we’ + noun/attribute/place-reference etc.). I particularly focus on occurrences of collective self-reference in problematic turns (e.g. delayed completion and pauses, see Schegloff 2007). In such cases, the interlocutors problematize either the referent of ‘we’, or the extent to which they themselves feel (or even qualify to be) part of it. Through this local negotiation of meaning, participants (re/de)construct the idea of a (Greek LGBT) community, and actively negotiate the extent of their membership to it. I argue that problematization of collective self-reference emerges as a strategy for the interlocutors to position themselves in relation to others, to take stances regarding their experience of belonging, and to actively make sense of their intersectional lived experience (Levon 2015) in talk.

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May 22nd, 3:45 PM May 22nd, 4:15 PM

But “we” who?’: Negotiation of belonging through problematized collective self-reference

Prior work on identity and belonging across disciplines has highlighted the different ways in which belonging is materialized in practice (Brubaker & Cooper 2000; Yuval-Davis 2010). In the present paper I investigate individual perceptions and experiences of belonging as evidenced in discursive constructions of groupness. More specifically, I focus on the ways in which non-heterosexual Greek individuals understand and experience their belonging to a perceived ‘Greek LGBT community’. Data are drawn from eight focus groups with 25 Greek LGBT individuals regarding issues of sexual citizenship in Greece, politics, religion, and family. During the conversation, participants used a series of strategies of self-positioning and stance-taking; among them, they systematically claimed membership to a variety of different – often overlapping – social categories. Adopting a conversation analytic perspective, I look at the use of collective selfreference (‘we’) and the ways in which its referential fluidity is managed in language (e.g. through constructions such as ‘we’ + noun/attribute/place-reference etc.). I particularly focus on occurrences of collective self-reference in problematic turns (e.g. delayed completion and pauses, see Schegloff 2007). In such cases, the interlocutors problematize either the referent of ‘we’, or the extent to which they themselves feel (or even qualify to be) part of it. Through this local negotiation of meaning, participants (re/de)construct the idea of a (Greek LGBT) community, and actively negotiate the extent of their membership to it. I argue that problematization of collective self-reference emerges as a strategy for the interlocutors to position themselves in relation to others, to take stances regarding their experience of belonging, and to actively make sense of their intersectional lived experience (Levon 2015) in talk.

https://digitalcommons.ciis.edu/lavlang/2021/saturday/31