Mundane morality

Gender, categories and complaints in familial neighbour disputes

Authors

  • Elizabeth Stokoe Loughborough University
  • Derek Edwards Loughborough University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/japl.v9i2.25735

Keywords:

Conversation analysis, discursive psychology, gender, morality, neighbours

Abstract

The paper introduces the concept of ‘mundane morality’, which refers to the practices of everyday life in which people mix moral evaluations, a sense of right and wrong, blame and culpability, etc., with ordinary accounts and descriptions of persons, actions, and events. Challenging traditional psychological work on moral development, including Gilligan’s work on the gendered nature of moral reasoning, we argue that ‘morality’ is best understood as a communicative practice. Rather than focus on identifying gendered styles of moral reasoning, we show how gender is invoked to do moral work in an episode of recorded neighbour dispute mediation. We analyse the way in which parties make complaints on the basis of gendered category memberships, and show how ‘the accountability of social conduct brings directly into focus moral dimensions of language use’ (Drew 1998: 295). Overall, we aim to show how to analyse ‘moral reasoning’ as it happens; as it is imbricated in the daily practices of everyday life.

Author Biographies

Elizabeth Stokoe, Loughborough University

Elizabeth H. Stokoe is Professor of Social Interaction in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University, UK. She has written widely about gender and interaction and analysed social interaction in the contexts of education, mediation and police interrogations. She has developed the ‘Converstion Analytic Role-play Method’ (CARM) for training practitioners.

Derek Edwards, Loughborough University

Derek Edwards is Emeritus Professor of Psychology in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University, UK. His research is in the analysis of language and social interaction in everyday and institutional settings. He specializes in discursive psychology, in which relations between psychological states and the external world are studied as discourse categories and practices.

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Published

2015-03-25

How to Cite

Stokoe, E., & Edwards, D. (2015). Mundane morality: Gender, categories and complaints in familial neighbour disputes. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 9(2), 165–192. https://doi.org/10.1558/japl.v9i2.25735