Multiple voices in talking race: Pakeha reported speech in the discursive construction of the racial other

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Starting from the premise that “the racial other” is a discursive object socially constructed through talk, this chapter examines a particular kind of talk, reported speech, and how it is used to articulate Pakeha positions. Reporting speech, for example, quoting another’s words, can be a powerful conversational practice due to “the double-voiced quality” of those words (Bakhtin 1984), in that the words of the original speaker are given voice by the reporting speaker. In giving voice to another’s words through reported speech, the current speaker also assesses that speech and discursively positions him/herself in relation to it. In this chapter, Pakeha talk about the other is examined through a consideration of reported speech and its surrounding sequential context. Discursive constructions of the racial other Racial categories are commonly thought of as reflecting natural groupings of peoples based on cultural or physiological differences. Contrary to this common-sense view, there seems to be a growing consensus that such categories are discursive constructions rather than natural categories reflecting inherent (essentialized or genetic) differences among peoples (Miles 1989; Sanjek 1994; Winant 1994). As a discursive construction, the notion of “the other” involves the ways people talk and represent social realities about difference, particularly racial, ethnic, or cultural difference (Houston 1994; Verkuyten, DeJong, and Masson 1995; Wetherell and Potter 1992). In the literature, most discourse analyses have examined Whites’ (e.g., Northern Europeans, North Americans, New Zealanders) talk about racial others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnalyzing Race Talk
Subtitle of host publicationMultidisciplinary Perspectives on the Research Interview
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780511489792
ISBN (Print)0521821185, 9780521821186
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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