ERIC Number: ED238083
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-May
Reference Count: 0
The Story Is in the Telling: A Cooperative Style of Conversation among Women.
Jenkins, Mercilee MacIntyre
To learn more about small group interactions, a study investigated the characteristics of women's conversation in its own right rather than compared to a male model of conversation. The researcher spent 10 months as a participant/observer in a women's weekly circle (WWC), a group of mothers of young children who met once a week. The researcher focused on storytelling as a form of social interaction that would embody the communicative style and interactional norms of the group. Early sessions were transcribed from memory and later sessions from tape recordings. Impressions and interpretations of the group's interactions were verified through participant interviews at the end of the observation period. It was found that, unlike the typically competitive conversation of men, women's conversation was characterized by cooperation and support. Stories reflected vicarious as well as personal experiences and prototypical as well as specific events, and were told in order of occurrence or expanded from a kernel. Turn-by-turn talk was not suspended to permit story telling to take place in conversation. WWC members characteristically made linking remarks, thus facilitating the telling of stories, highlighting story connections within a series, and showing their connection to the ongoing stream of interaction. The sharing of common problems through storytelling was much more common than self-aggrandizement through tales of personal adventures and exploits. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Meeting of the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations (Pittsburgh, PA, May 27-30, 1982).