Figurative positioning in media-worthy radio talk


  • Irit Kupferberg


Figurative language, Radio talk, Positioning, Media-worthiness, Interpersonal communication


A current longitudinal research project explores how meaning is constructed discursively in troubled talk between sufferers and professionals in various help sites (e.g., internet forums, the radio and the hotline). Espousing discourse-oriented functionalist approaches (i.e, institutional conversation analysis, linguistic anthropology and narrative inquiry), the researchers show that troubled selves often construct their problems through stories as well as certain story-internal key figurative forms summarizing the main point of the problem. This project also shows that such narrative and figurative versions of the suffering self often enhance interpersonal communication. Espousing a discourse-oriented functionalist approach, and the Four World Model, the present study further explores troubled radio talk showing that in this public arena the effectiveness of organizing figurative language is often constrained by the ability of troubled selves to present media-worthy stories.