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Title: The interactional construction of ageing identities : a linguistic ethnography of older women's narratives, talk and other practices in a hair-salon
Author: Heinrichsmeier, Rachel Mary Gosling
ISNI:       0000 0004 5989 8409
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis offers insights into the under-researched area of women’s ‘older-age’ identity constructions, and examines this through focussing on their talk and practices in a hair-salon. I address this topic using a linguistic ethnographic methodology. This draws on intensive participant observation, interviews, and micro linguistic-analysis of unfolding interactions in the salon. For this micro analysis I use a toolkit of Narrative Positioning Theory (Bamberg 1997: 493), Conversation Analysis and Membership Categorization Analysis. Firstly, I show how in their ‘older-age’ categorization practices participants employ a range of strategies to distance themselves from older-age; I also show how these practices map broadly to their chronological age. Secondly, I examine participants’ appearance practices and talk. I show that these present a nuanced picture with respect to the importance to them of their appearance, marking appearance as having a situated importance, with this shaped, inter alia, by avoidance of being categorized as vain. I show how narrative stance-taking (Georgakopoulou 2013b) is a key discursive resource whereby participants manage orientations to the (un)importance to them of their appearance. Thirdly, I examine how participants display themselves as busy in their talk about recent and forthcoming events in their lives. I show how this practice enables participants to construct active and independent identities for themselves. As I show, however, there are constraints on the achievement of this positioning, relating to both the implicit tellability criteria in the setting and the stance taken up by the teller towards being busy. Overall, this thesis makes contributions to studies of identities-in-interaction, by examining older women’s narratives-in-interaction on the one hand, and their ‘older-age’ categorization practices on the other. This thesis also contributes to the body of literature adopting a linguistic ethnographic approach, applying this to the study of older identities in a site of appearance management.
Supervisor: Georgakopoulou-Nunes, Alexandra ; Rampton, Benjamin Michael Helyer Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available