Managing Territories of Experience in Conversation
Participants’ orientations to observing rights and responsibilities associated with epistemic territories are manifested in their formulations of assessment turns in interaction. This chapter focuses on one aspect of the formulation of assessments, namely, whether an assessment is constructed “subjectively” or “objectively.” Assessments that are constructed subjectively highlight the speaker’s personal experience with, or attitude toward, the referent, while those constructed objectively highlight the attribute of the referent without foregrounding the experiencer. Through the analysis of Japanese conversational data, it is demonstrated that, while objective assessments are produced as the default form of assessment, subjective assessments are produced to deal with specific interactional contingencies that involve the relevance of claiming and establishing the speaker’s epistemic independence, or managing territories of experience.
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