Communication & Medicine, Vol 6, No 2 (2009)

Interactional positions and the production of identities: Negotiating fatherhood in family therapy talk

Eero Suoninen, Jarl Wahlström
Issued Date: 20 Jan 2010


Participants in a conversation may, even within the same basic role staging, create different cooperation settings. To describe these cooperative settings, we employ the concept of interactional position as a basic analytical tool. From our understanding of identity as a conversational achievement, we demonstrate how evolving interactional positions frame the construction of client identities in family therapy meetings. We focus particularly on how constructions of fatherhood identity are negotiated in the meetings. The methodological perspective of our study draws on social psychological discourse analysis, conversation analysis and social constructionism, and the data consists of video recordings of six family therapy meetings dealing with a single case. The analysis demonstrates the large variety of combinations of interactional positions that are possible in family therapy conversation and explicates how strongly the construction of the client’s identity depends on the position combinations allowed in a therapy session.

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DOI: 10.1558/cam.v6i2.199


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