Race Matters in Talk in Inter-Racial Interaction
MetadataShow full item record
Contemporary research indicates that Indigenous people are under-represented in the Australian higher education sector and that on-campus university relations and communications between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous persons may be a problem. However, actual talk in interaction between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians in university settings has not been examined. Drawing on Ethnomethodology (EM) and its analytic methods, Conversation Analysis (CA) and Membership Categorisation Analysis (MCA), this study examines interaction between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous persons, who are participating in a focus group activity discussing experiences of university in a university setting in Australia. Data are audio-recordings of non-contrived focus group interaction between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous persons. These are transcribed using the Jeffersonian transcription system. This study’s examination of linguistic, conversational and categorial resources shows that race matters to experiences of university. Application of the inclusive/exclusive distinction to an examination of ‘we’ in retrospective accounts distinguishes the categories of person that participants include in their experiences of university. Primarily it shows that these Indigenous participants report sharing university experiences with racial co-members, that is, with other Indigenous persons. On rare occasions when Indigenous participants did include Non-Indigenous persons as co-members in shared experiences, they did so to emphasise their isolation within racial cross-member tutorial-classes. In contrast, these Non-Indigenous participants report sharing university experiences with persons from a range of categories. Non-Indigenous participants were found shifting the talk from race matters to non-race matters. This allowed Non-Indigenous participants a turn-at-talk, and was found to diffuse potentially adverse consequences resulting from using race as a category in recounting experiences. Further, the study shows Non-Indigenous participants distance and disalign themselves from the problem of Non-Indigenous people, and therefore from assuming responsibility for racist actions reportedly perpetrated by members of their own racial groups. As these Indigenous and Non-Indigenous participants discuss sensitive race matters, they manage to align and agree with each other. They accomplish this by organising their talk with a preference for agreement; all the while, assembling a social world in which race matters in significant and sundry ways.
Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Doctor of Education (EdD)
School of Education and Professional Studies
Item Access Status