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Qualitative Data Analysis in Paddock (2016) Task 1 Week 5 SOCRMx

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Questions for discussion:

1.   Why do you think Paddock chose narratives as a way of conveying the main themes in her research?

  • The analysis is a means of finding whether there is evidence for propositions raised in the literature of alternative food, particularly pertaining to issues of communities in which distinctions of economic status and/or class are found between different groups in ‘one’ community. Since that theory in Bourdieu (and more specific literature also employing Bourdieu) emphasises that practices in everyday life reveal to analysis ‘unconscious rules’ (1042) that perpetuate and naturalise social distinctions. These are perceptible to analysis in ‘participants’ normative account of the struggle for resources, namely foods that they value in upholding their ways of life (1042).’ Hence Paddock determines to choose normative accounts from two differentiated contexts which might show the reproduction of ‘a balance of power that favours well-to-do consumers.’ (1043)

2.   What is the impact for you of the way the interview talk is presented? What is the point of the researcher noting points of laughter, for example? What about filler sounds like ‘erm’?

  • Non-verbal communication (NVC) like laughter conveys meanings that presume recognition of the situation described and values pertaining to it in the addressee. It can also be used to rescue a situation in which the addressee may find the points made offensive by attributing them to humour and less-than-serious comment, should the need arise in the continuation of dialogue. Filler sounds convey meaning that shifts in response to context. They allow space for intervention, time for thought (perhaps in gauging the addressee’s response through NVC) or allow for a sense of real or postured uncertainty.

3.   How does Paddock go about building a case for the interpretations she is making? How does she compel you, as a reader, to take her findings seriously? Share a specific example of how you think this is done in this article.

  • She accumulates narrative talk that talks about attributions of values to behaviour that differentiates ‘us’ (who are in current conversation) from them, who are the subject of that narrative. Thus information is passed that uses explanatory modes to expose differences that should strike the addressee as surprising or extreme. The language of the child health visitor for instance (1046) uses fillers, collusive address (‘you know’) and repetition to build an extreme case about the object of her attention. Paddock actually allows a lot of this to speak for itself in the quotation but points out exactly why the attributed feelings of those in her narrative are problematic – though apparently feelings, they are actually, claims to refuse to believe an otherwise ‘self-evident truth’ (as Valerie sees it).

4.   Interviewees use many emotive words in the excerpts presented here, but Paddock has focused in on the use of the word ‘disgusting’, and developed this through her analysis. How does this concept help her link the data with her theoretical perspective?

  • This is read as a means of Valerie positioning working class people as disgusted by the wrong things and therefore betray that they themselves are disgusting in their insistence. It is a narrative ploy that suggests ‘bourgeois disgust’ whilst not owning up to it. There is a tacit insistence that some things are ‘disgusting’ but they are the reverse of those tastes expressed by working mothers. This is further developed from pp. 1048ff.

5.   Paddock’s main argument is that food is an expression of social class. Looking just at the interview excerpts presented here, what other ideas or research questions do you think a researcher could explore?

  • Let’s just start off with one for now:
    • How and why is identity attributed to self and others through indirect speech that mimes the characteristics of the ‘others’ invented typical speech-acts?
      • Look at

Ø  p. 1048 – Ken’s 2nd speech,

Ø  p. 1046 Valerie’s opening speech.

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