Gender and Language, Vol 12, No 2 (2018)

The language of cisnormativity: children and parents in interaction with a multimodal app

Stina Ericsson
Issued Date: 5 Jul 2018


Cisgender concerns the coherence of gender, over time, in perception, and through actions and identities. This article explores cisgender through the concept of cisnormativity - the normalisation of cisgendering - and its operation in spoken and multimodal interactions. Cisnormativity, like other normativities, is often conveyed implicitly and as such goes unnoticed in interaction. Through analysis of interaction at the micro level, this article shows how cisnormativity is produced and reproduced by speakers. The data comes from recordings of 23 children, mainly aged 5-8, in conversations with their parents and using an interactive app, on topics concerning families and relationships. The results show how cisnormativity is produced by the participants using various linguistic and communicative resources, such as smiles and laughter, evaluations, accounts, and the sequential organisation of interaction. Cisnormativity also interacts with other normativities, notably heteronormativity, in the data. Challenges to cisnormativity are shown to be temporary and situated.

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DOI: 10.1558/genl.31827


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