Volume 30, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
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Goffman’s concepts of face and face work, and his assertion that talk in face-to-face interaction is cooperative, are undertheorized and often critiqued. In an attempt to expand on these concepts, excerpts are analyzed from a single-teller narrative which evolves into a 13-minute conversational story about the relationship troubles of an absent third party. Analyzed for the verbal and nonverbal disruptions and subsequent adjustments and remedial actions manifested by participants, Conversation Analysis (CA) is employed to capture how threats to face surface and how they are recognized, cooperatively managed, and made tellable. Through the analysis, this paper addresses the perceived incommensurability between CA and Goffman’s notion of face, demonstrating the ways in which face is (1) a doing a doing, a situated presentation of self that serves narrative-advancing functions and renders talk tellable as threats to face arise and (2) an achievement comprised of moves that are tacitly cooperative, ambiguously cooperative, or uncooperatively cooperative.


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