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Discourse, Identity, and Social Change in the Marriage Equality Debates$
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Karen Tracy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190217969

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190217969.001.0001

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The Genre of Oral Argument

The Genre of Oral Argument

(p.19) 1 The Genre of Oral Argument
Discourse, Identity, and Social Change in the Marriage Equality Debates

Karen Tracy

Oxford University Press

This chapter weaves together excerpts from the supreme court judge interviews, discourse instances of oral arguments, and coding of selected features from the court exchanges to illuminate the discursive character of oral argument. Described is a challenge that judges face both to be outside of culture and demographic categories, and, at the same time, to bring their experience and unique cultural identities to their judging. A deviant case, one instance out of the 35 exchanges between attorneys and the justices, is described in which the genre of oral argument was enacted in a markedly different style. For this deviant case, the chapter suggests what identity was accomplished for the focal attorney by his and the Court’s use of non-typical discourse moves.

Keywords:   genre analysis, oral argument, deviant case analysis, politeness style, identity-work, facework, judge interviews, dilemmas

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