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‘Do I Have to Say Exactly Word by Word?’ (Re)producing and Negotiating Asymmetrical Relations in Asylum Interviews
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6540-7061
2023 (English)In: Journal of International Migration and Integration, ISSN 1488-3473, E-ISSN 1874-6365, Vol. 24, no 4, p. 745-768Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper, we conduct a critical discourse analytical study of asylum interviews in order to contribute to knowledge and awareness of (a) how asymmetrical power relations are discursively (re)produced as well as manoeuvred and negotiated during the interaction and (b) what this means in terms of positioning of the participants. Focusing on a number of metacommunicative sequences characterised by a notably high degree of interpersonal complexity, we examine how participants are positioned and how positioning is discursively realised. We draw on eight observed and recorded asylum interviews conducted in Sweden 2018–2021. Metacommunicative positioning is analysed mainly with a focus on speech functions and modality. We show that metacommunication is used by all participants largely as a means of constructing an asylum narrative within the framework of an institutional discourse. The participants can position each other in (dis)advantageous ways in their attempts to deny, or sometimes claim, responsibility for miscommunication. The applicants generally obey the metacommunicative instructions given by other, more powerful participants. However, we also show an example of an applicant who makes resistance to the institutional discourse. Furthermore, all participants use metacommunication as a tool to guide each other in the conversation, thereby positioning themselves as responsible for the co-construction of the asylum narrative. Finally, we underline the benefits of conducting critical discourse analysis in the study of asylum interviews, although such studies can barely change the fact that the asylum determination process is unequal and asymmetrical in its core.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023. Vol. 24, no 4, p. 745-768
Keywords [en]
Asylum interviews, Asymmetrical relations, Discourses, Interpersonal relations, Metacommunication, Positioning
National Category
Languages and Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-204018DOI: 10.1007/s12134-022-00945-2ISI: 000773263600002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85127299970OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-204018DiVA, id: diva2:1652588
Available from: 2022-04-19 Created: 2022-04-19 Last updated: 2024-01-09Bibliographically approved

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Rehnberg, Hanna SofiaWadensjö, Cecilia

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