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Compliance, resistance and incipient compliance when responding to directives


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How does a parent get a child to do something? And, indeed, how might the child avoid complying or seem to comply without actually having done so? This article uses conversation analysis to identify the interactionally preferred and dispreferred response to directives (compliance and resistance respectively). It then focuses on one alternative response option that has both verbal and embodied elements. The first part involves an embodied display of incipient compliance. That is, actions that are preparatory steps towards compliance and signal that it may be forthcoming, but which do not in themselves constitute compliance. Incipient compliance creates sequential space for a verbal turn that reformulates the ongoing action as autonomous, self-motivated behaviour on the recipient’s part, rather than subject to the will of the directive speaker. This enables the recipient to maintain autonomy over their own conduct without provoking the conflict or repeat directives associated with outright resistance.

Acceptance Date Dec 1, 2012
Publication Date Dec 1, 2012
Journal Discourse Studies
Print ISSN 1461-4456
Publisher SAGE Publications
Pages 711 -730
Keywords Authority, children, compliance, conversation analysis, deontic rights, directives, family mealtimes, power, resistance
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