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Precision and exaggeration in interaction

Drew, P. (2003) Precision and exaggeration in interaction. American Sociological Review, 68 (6). pp. 917-938. ISSN 0003-1224

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In medical consultations, court examination, and other such institutional interactions, claims, reports, and accounts may be questioned or challenged by showing that they are insufficiently precise. So too, in ordinary interaction participants may apply standards of relevant precision . In conversation, speakers commonly make extreme, hyperbolic, or exaggerated claims in the service of some local interactional task or contingency (e.g., to strengthen or dramatize a claim). Although there is considerable tolerance in conversation for extreme or hyperbolic claims (as in, "I have no money," "everybody has to lie"), some such claims are treated as having been overstated, and the speaker subsequently modifies them to be more precise, and to avoid misunderstanding. This paper examines how some claims are revealed as having been overstated, as exaggerations, and how they are repaired. The distinctive conversational practices identified here, through which exaggerations come to be revised, contribute to the sociological understanding of how the maintenance of intersubjectivity is a constant and central concern in social life.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Sociology (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2009 15:09
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2009 15:09
Published Version: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/asoca/asr/20...
Status: Published
Publisher: American Sociological Association
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5550

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