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Pupils' gossip as remedial action
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2003 (English)In: Discourse Studies, ISSN 1461-4456, E-ISSN 1461-7080, Vol. 5, no 1, 101-129 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article focuses on sequences of classroom talk, in which Swedish junior high-school pupils engage in reproaches of absent parties or, to use an established gloss, 'gossiping'. This kind of talk makes up a significant part of the off-task talk that pupils engage in when working in small groups. In order to initiate and participate in gossip interaction, pupils need to master sophisticated social competencies. The study focuses on these competencies and on one major function that gossip can be seen to perform for the primary gossiper: gossip as remedial action.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 5, no 1, 101-129 p.
Keyword [en]
collaboration, discourse analysis, gossip, remedial action, rhetoric, socializing practices
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-48620DOI: 10.1177/14614456030050010501OAI: diva2:269516
Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2012-06-28Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Doing morality in school: Teasing, gossip and subteaching as collaborative action
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Doing morality in school: Teasing, gossip and subteaching as collaborative action
2002 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present thesis investigates socializing practices that take place among pupils during group-work sessions in Swedish junior high schools. The pupils, who were video recorded during such sessions, were supposed to work on common assignments, but quite often digressed into so-called off-task talk Most of the present analyses focus on such digressions.

More specifically, the purpose of the thesis was to study pupils' moral practices. Through the staging of such practices, the pupils could be seen to be 'doing morality in school'. A basic assumption was that social norms are best seen when the participants themselves identify transgressions of these norms. Three communicative genres in which moral practices become plainly visible were chosen as the basis for analysis: (i) teasing, (ii)gossiping, and (iii) so-called 'suhteaching', that is, sequences of talk where at least one pupil is positioned as a deputy teacher. Sequences of these genres were transcribed in detail, and a conversational approach was applied for the purpose of close analyses of moral practices.

The findings are presented in four articles. The first article focuses on on gender socialization and illustrates the fine details of how boys and girls orient to gender in teasing practices. It also shows that cross-gender teasing is far more common than same-gender teasing. In the second article, the dialogic architecture of teasing is analyzed, showing that pupils often rely on their co-participants in the staging of teases, and that they employ a rich repertoire of responce strategies: account work, denial, minimal responses, playing along with the teasing, retaliation, and proactive work. The third article focuses on gossiping, and more specifically on how gossip sometimes serves as remedial action for incidents or states of affairs that can be seen as degrading for the primary gossiper's social standing. Finally, the fourth article analyzes so-called 'sub-teaching' and resistance to such subteaching. Regardless of whether pupils are positioned as subteachers or position themselves, subteaching is ultimately always a collaborative affair.

Together the four studies show some of the skills that pupils must master in order to participate successfully in group interaction. Ultimately, pupils' (local) standing largely depends upon acquiring such skills. The conclusion is that school is perhaps not foremost a place where you learn a set of moral norms, but an arena where you learn to practically manage yourself in and through talk-in-interaction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Tema Barn, 2002. 104 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 256
Morality, school group work, off-task talk, social interaction, socializing practices collaboration, rhetoric, teasing, gossiping, subteaching, disourse analysis, Elever, etik och moral, skolan, skvaller, samtal, sociala aspekter
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-28517 (URN)13667 (Local ID)91-7373-341-5 (ISBN)13667 (Archive number)13667 (OAI)
Public defence
2002-05-24, Hörsal Planck, Fysikhuset, Universitetsområdet Valla, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2014-08-29Bibliographically approved

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Tholander, Michael
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