Identity in interaction

Sub-cultural intersubjectivities in popular radio conversation on Inxeba

  • Dylan Kukard Department of Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Richard van Rensburg Department of Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Keywords: Conversation analysis, queerness, radio, reflexivity, talk, Inxeba, research identity


Queerness undergoes multiple treatments in South African society, oscillating between site of cultural un/acceptability, religious im/morality and of embodied resistance. Conversation of the film Inxeba indicates that claiming or talking about the queer position amongst cultural identities becomes a social act, which must be accounted for within interaction. Through adopting an ethnomethodological position, it can be noted that within instances of radio talk, speakers design their utterances to employ identities as actions, which align orientations to norms regarding sexuality. By deploying a conversation analysis to the collected data, the interrelation between queerness and emotive talk is shown through the ways in which speech features, such as pause and emphasis, are employed strategically. In tandem, an analysis of discursive connotation offers a balance between the local situation and broader context of talk in order to show how queer identities are deployed within other discursive formations. Through tethering these styles of analyses, it will appear that the cascading use of social identities within talk of Inxeba presents as a particular stock of interactional knowledge regarding queerness (based on the three extracts analysed). By reflecting on how the identity of the researchers may have influenced this analysis, managing the reflexive process should not be seen as a final step but rather an instrumental part of any qualitative analysis of identity.