GSE Publications

Document Type

Journal Article

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Interviews are designed to gather propositional information communicated through reference and predication. Some lament the fact that interviews always include interactional positioning that presupposes and sometimes creates social identities and power relationships. Interactional aspects of interview events threaten to corrupt the propositional information communicated, and it appears that these aspects need to be controlled. Interviews do often yield useful propositional information, and interviewers must guard against the sometimes-corrupting influence of interactional factors. But we argue that the interactional aspects of interview events can also be valuable data. Interview subjects sometimes position themselves in ways that reveal something about the habitual positioning that characterizes them or their groups. We illustrate the potential value of this interactional information by describing “payday mugging” stories told by interviewees in one New Latino Diaspora town.


Suggested Citation:
Wortham, S., Mortimer, K., Lee, K., Allard, E. and White, K. (2011). Interviews as interactional data. Language in Society, 40, 39-50.
Language in Society:


interview data, narrating events, transference

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Education Commons



Date Posted: 07 December 2011

This document has been peer reviewed.