Sociolinguistic Studies, Vol 2, No 2 (2008)

Complaint stories revisited: the "masculine" performance of a "feminine" narrative genre in a conversation among Galician men

Virginia Acuña Ferreira
Issued Date: 7 Dec 2008


This article analyses and discusses excerpts from a friendly conversation among three Galician men in relation to broad characterisations of ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ interactional styles highlighted by more than two decades of sociolinguistic research on gender and discourse. In line with current tendencies in this area, it is assumed that these characterisations are ‘essentialist’, but it is also maintained that they capture quite well people’s dichotomous conceptions of gendered interactional styles, and that they use to function as an important guide for their behaviour in everyday social life. The main purpose of this article is precisely to illuminate the complex ways in which such conceptions proved as extremely opposing in the analysis of a ‘real’ conversation among men; specifically, the analysis offers empirical evidence that male participants in this speech event are expressing support and connection by collaboratively engaging in the practice of a ‘feminine’ narrative genre like complaint stories (Günthner 1997a), though in an ‘acceptable’ way from the point of view of hegemonic masculinity; this
is argued drawing on the fact that the topical focus of the talk is on football issues, and that the tellers do not take a vulnerable role but rather that of a highly indignant victim, as it is manifest in the ways the characters are portrayed and discussed, as well as in the construction of particularly ‘aggressive’ patterns of emotions display.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.v2i2.185


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