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“Establish Some Kind of Control”: Survivor Interviews

“Establish Some Kind of Control”: Survivor Interviews

(p.17) Chapter One “Establish Some Kind of Control”: Survivor Interviews
Consuming Katrina
Kate Parker Horigan
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter employs discourse analysis to examine oral narratives from the interactive context of interviews for the Surviving Katrina and Rita in Houston Project (SKRH), in which hurricane survivors interview one another. The speakers use rhetorical strategies that show their concern with coherence and logic. The interlocutors demonstrate careful attention to their interactions with one another, and their exchanges become part of the textual products (recording and transcript) of the interview. Consequently, listeners can observe how dialogue between participants enables interviewees to exhibit greater control over their positioning as narrators. This chapter shows how SKRH interviewees emphasize their personal responsibility: as narrators in the interactional context of the interviews, and as actors in the events they describe. This insistence evokes a dominant narrative of irresponsibility among Katrina’s victims that, although not explicitly referred to by these survivors, is simultaneously conjured and interrupted by their protestations against it.

Keywords:   Interview, Interactive context, Discourse analysis, Responsibility, Positioning

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