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Why Do You Ask?The Function of Questions in Institutional Discourse$
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Alice Freed and Susan Ehrlich

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306897

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306897.001.0001

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Questions and Institutionality in Public Participation Broadcasting

Questions and Institutionality in Public Participation Broadcasting

Chapter:
13 Questions and Institutionality in Public Participation Broadcasting
Source:
Why Do You Ask?
Author(s):

Joanna Thornborrow

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306897.003.0013

This chapter, written by Joanna Thornborrow, examines question‐answer sequences in TV talk shows and radio call‐in programs. While these genres tend to be more conversational than other media genres such as broadcast news interviews, Thornborrow argues that they are nonetheless highly structured in terms of the organization of turn taking and the distribution of turn types. Thornborrow's primary argument is that institutional roles in these contexts are constituted through the asymmetrical distribution not only of turn types (e.g., questions versus answers) but also of question types and answer types. For example, in TV talk shows, the hosts ask questions that elicit narratives and/or opinions from lay participants, all the while maintaining their neutrality vis‐à‐vis the issues discussed. By contrast, lay participants' questions express opinions in relation to the issues being discussed.

Keywords:   public participation broadcasting, TV talk shows, radio call‐in programs, broadcast news interviews, overhearing audience, turn taking, asymmetrical turn taking, institutional roles

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