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  • Negotiation and power in dialogic interaction ed. by Edda Weigand, and Marcelo Dascal
  • Bingyun Li
Negotiation and power in dialogic interaction. Ed by Edda Weigand and Marcelo Dascal. (Current issues in linguistic theory 214.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2001. Pp. viii, 294. ISBN 1588110478. $86 (Hb).

This volume contains eighteen conference contributions grouped into three thematic parts. Part 1 deals with ‘Negotiation, mediation, and power’. In ‘Reputation and refutation: Negotiating merit’, Marcelo Dascal highlights the argument that reputation and refutation in the evaluation of intellectual merit are two domains not distinct from each other; rather they are ‘two extremes of a continuum’ and in close relation to each other. Bruce Fraser’s paper deals with ‘The mediator as power broker’ in dispute resolution, distinguishing mediation from negotiation and ‘guiding power’ from ‘coercive power’. Ruth Wodak and Gilbert Weiss contribute ‘A critical discourse analysis of decision-making in European Union meetings about employment policies’. In ‘Games of power’, Edda Weigand argues for dialogue as a game of negotiation and for negotiation as a game of power, pointing out some principles of negative uses of power. Franz Hundsnurscher’s chapter tackles ‘The grammar of bargaining’, while Monika Dannerer argues for the important role negotiation plays in the discourse-type of the business meeting. And, in ‘Interlocutionary scenarios as negotiation of diatextual power’, Giuseppe Mininni, introducing ‘psychopragmatics as a theory of interlocution’, touches upon ‘a dialogic discursive psychology’ and shows that interlocutors can resort to ‘the resources of their diatextual power’ (113; italics in the original) in their negotiation for new positions in interaction.

Part 2, which explores ‘Means of negotiation’, contains four chapters. In ‘Addresser, addressee and target: Negotiating roles through ironic criticism’, Elda Weizman employs corpus-based data to argue for differences existing between interviewers and interviewees in terms of the target of irony. Irony is also the focus of the next chapter, where Andreea Ghita examines the ‘Negotiation of irony in dialogue’, concluding among other things that ‘the ironic meaning is much more conflictual than consensual’ (147). Mirka Maraldi and Anna Orlandini’s chapter explores the argumentative concession in Latin as a case of negotiation. Michela Cortini, who contributes the last chapter of Part 2, employs Gricean philosophy and conversational analysis to discuss ‘Silence as a tool for the negotiation of sense in multi-party conversations’.

Part 3 is devoted to ‘Objects of negotiation’. In ‘The negotiation of affect in natural conversation’, Martina Drescher uses French data collected from natural conversations to demonstrate how conversationalists display, negotiate, and finally synchronize their emotional involvement; she concludes with an interactional view of emotions. In ‘Implicit communication in political interviews: Negotiating the agenda’, Gerda Lauerbach begins with a few remarks on the genre of political interviews followed by a sample analysis of BBC’s coverage of the British elections of May 1, 1997. Annely Rothkegel’s paper focuses on ‘Negotiation of topics in professional e-mail-communication’. Robert Maier’s ‘Negotiation and identity’ tries to shed new light on the study of negotiation by proposing ‘a more dynamic and important role of identity’ (225) couched within a network theory of power. In ‘The negotiation of relevance’, Frank Liedtke tries to show that relevance should be regarded as ‘a property of utterances in a dialogue’ that is dynamic, changeable, and negotiable. In ‘Unspoken assertions: Values and the shape of discourse’, Barbara A. Emmel demonstrates, among other things, how underlying assumptions one has may contribute to mutual understanding in interaction. Last but not least, Ernest W. B. Hess-Lüttich focuses on how various forms of gossip—fictive, simulated, ‘literary’—are created in Theodor Fontane’s society novel L’Adultera.

Touching upon a wide array of topics in close relation to the notion of negotiation in human interaction, this volume promises to be an important contribution to deepening our understanding of this line of inquiry.

Bingyun Li
Fujian Teachers University


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