In the gulf between prejudice and culture : talking the experience of Western expatriates in the Middle East
This thesis is an investigation into the accounting practices by which British and American expatriates make sense of Western involvement in the Middle East. Based on the analysis of an audio-taped archive of some sixty hours of face-to-face interview material recorded in Kuwait during a ten-month period in the year immediately following the Persian Gulf Conflict of 1990-91, this project explores the interactional work by which speakers situate their conversational contributions in dialogic anticipation of a range of competing but mutually co-implicative demands for accountability which they take their talk and their participation in the circumstances of that talk to entail. Specifically, speakers are seen to manage the productive tension between the competing demands for accountability to conflicting assumptions about the nature of prejudice on the one hand, and the awareness of and/or sensitivity to cultural difference on the other, in and while attending to the situated concerns for their warrant in making the claims that they do and the degree to which they are implicated in those claims in and through the activity of their production. In this way, conflicting assumptions are show to be constitutive of the social practices whereby speakers account for Western involvement abroad.