De-centering the analysis: The authority of spectators, journalists and others

Chantal Benoit-Barné, Sky Marsen, Nan Wang, Yue Yang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Studies of social interactions generally focus on the relationship and dynamics between the main participants. However, other parties in the interaction contribute, sometimes very significantly, to the unfolding of the events. This chapter turns the focus onto these other participants, which include those who do not speak or speak minimally. The chapter presents four different approaches to authority and power, in relation to how these are constructed by the “marginal” or “invisible” parties. In doing this, the chapter explores how meaning-making comes about through signs of presence, discourse, multimodal elements and distribution of interactional resources. One approach studies authority relationally, as an effect of presence; another examines the role of the presenter of information in performing authority; the third discusses media power in the encounters between the main participants; and the fourth brings in conversation analysis to study the interactional process of negotiating authority. The chapter shows that decentering the analysis to include a broader range of people and objects than the main participants helps to render explicit some of the ways in which authority is established.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAuthority and power in social interaction
Subtitle of host publicationMethods and analysis
EditorsNicolas Bencherki, Frédérik Matte, François Cooren
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781351051668
ISBN (Print)9781138484597
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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