Narratives in political interviews

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University of Amsterdam

Narratives in political interviews

Differences in online and offline use

Author: Hester Dolkens

Primary supervisor: Dr. H.J. Plug Second supervisor: Dr. B.J. Garssen Final date of submission: 15th of June 2021

Dual Master Communication and Information Studies University of Amsterdam


1 Index

1. Introduction ... 2

2. Narratives in politics ... 4

3. Narratives in political interviews ... 7

3.1 The need for a discourse type... 7

3.2 Broadcast political interview... 8

3.3 Default and non-default political interviews ... 11

3.4 Difference in narratives use ... 13

4. Exploring stories and narratives ... 17

4.1 Stories explained ... 17

4.2 Persuasive stories ... 18

4.3 Narratives ... 19

5. Analysis ... 23

5.1 Genre framework De Fina ... 23

5.2 Narrative analysis Bal with Smith... 24

5.3 Video 1 BBC interview ... 24

5.3a Video 1 Analysis genre ... 25

5.3b Video 1 Analysis narratives ... 29

5.4 Video 2 Ben Norton interview ... 31

5.4a Video 2 Analysis genre ... 31

5.4b Video 2 Analysis narratives ... 34

6. Discussion ... 38

7. Conclusion ... 42

I. Reference list... 45

II. Video references and transcripts ... 53

Video 1 ... 53

Transcript I ... 53

Video 2 ... 58

Transcript II ... 58



1. Introduction

Political interviews nowadays can be considerably different than people assume. We all have this “default” political interview in mind that is broadcasted on television by a mainstream me- dia broadcaster with a trustworthy approach. These are interviews with a political agent and political discourse in a news interview, by some scholars even considered a media event over a political interview. In any case, as well watchers as listeners are used to the format and style of this regular political interview on television. Nowadays however there also exists a whole new form of political interviews and people should be informed about their purposes.

The emergence of the internet and the online media resulted in a considerable change of the genre of political discourse. An enormous growth in online broadcasters produced an ex- treme transformation of the volume, sources and styles of political communication through the online channels. The changed domain of political discourse led to new kinds of political partic- ipation, participants and audiences, but also to new ways of political argument and expression.

Active audience participation and staged opposition are now central. Controversial content has always existed, but in the last 25 years it became a common online political content feature.

Online political outlets made a business model out of being reactive. They handle themes and narratives offered by critical personalities to convince potential supporters to engage (Berry &

Sobieraj, 2014). Surprisingly, in these political interviews the interviewer or so-called host functions as the main character. Anyway, for this thesis the distinction between the regular political interview as “default” and the new online one as “non-default” that Fetzer and Bull (2013) came up with, will be leading. The discourse of both interviews will be researched, the

“non-default” compared to the “default”, and these results will be discussed. The aim of this thesis is to clarify the purposes of the “non-default” with the help of the “default”.

A change in purpose creates a need for a another, more suiting discourse form and style.

Clayman and Heritage (2002) describe the question-answer format of a “default” broadcast in- terview as decisive for the format and recognition of being a news interview. In contrast, the

“non-default” political interview makes use of small stories and asks hardly any question. This has to be categorized. Also, the increase in the use of stories and narratives changed the domain and uses of storytelling dynamics. An important consequence thereof is that the interviewee’s storytelling in the new online interviews even has advantages for the host. So, my research question is: What are the advantages of the use of narratives for the interviewer in a “non- default” political interview?



The chapters of this thesis will work gradually towards an answer to the research ques- tion. The research starts in Chapter 2 with a general backdrop of the phenomena Narratives in politics. Chapter 3 about Narratives in political interviews starts broadly in the first paragraph with a study on the importance of establishing the political discourse genre leading into reasons for ordering political interviews by communication activity type. The second paragraph of this chapter focusses on the constraints that any political interview can meet by the manner in which they are broadcasted. In the third paragraph a global division is reached between a “default”

and a “non-default” political interview, based on the theory of Fetzer and Bull (2013). A de- nomination of corresponding features of both interviews will be provided. The fourth and final paragraph exposes the difference in narratives use per political interview.

Chapter 4 focusses on the functioning of the phenomenon narratives. Therefore, it is important to first distinguish between stories and narratives. This distinction is as essential as the distinction between genres and types of political interviews. In literature the terms narratives and stories are sometimes used interchangeably, but this thesis considers that for a good knowledge of the functioning and structure of narratives, an introduction to stories and their functioning is indispensable. In addition, the distinction between stories and narratives is sup- portive to the clarification of the difference in narratives uses by the two mentioned types of political interviews.

In Chapter 5 an analysis is performed of a “default” and a “non-default” political inter- view. The interviews have been selected on resemblance in being a background interview with narrative interviewing techniques, and on difference in broadcast media. The first analysis is performed with the use of the framework of De Fina (2009) designed to research how narratives are used in interactive domains as narrative interviews. The framework provides knowledge on narratives used per genre. To dive deeper into the structure and functioning of narratives, from each interview will also be analysed two narratives with the theory of Bal (1997) for narrative systems from which the results are resumed in a narrative theme (Smith, 2016). This combina- tion of analyses will provide the most complete perspective on format, content and functioning.

Chapter 6 then discusses the results from Chapter 5, relating them to the research ques- tion, and Chapter 7 will conclude all observations and provides a future perspective on the remarks.



2. Narratives in politics

In this chapter a general overview will be given of how narratives are used in political discourse.

The influencing of the audience that a politician can perform with narratives is central. Narra- tives have perfect properties to reach political goals and can a be powerful tool to achieve rad- ical changes in a political climate. The influencing by the politician rarely happens explicitly so the audience isn’t quite aware of it, neither questions the stories.

Narratives have properties that can be of perfect use for a politician to fulfil his aims. In political discourse the main aim of a political agent is to influence the audience (Van Dijk, 1997). Research of Bhattacharyya (1997) demonstrates that narratives are like stories to which multiple influencing variables have been added that are placed as new ‘story’ in people’s brains, in order to be anchored and passed on (Bhattacharyya, p. 1). This makes political narratives suitable for the rewriting of history (Bhattacharyya, 1997, p. 3) accordant to the goals that the politician wants to reach. Another way of influencing the audience with narratives can be ful- filled when the politician uses the future predictive properties of narratives to spread a future vision. Its functioning comprises that the politicians appeal to their listeners by combining the past and present as a starting point and activate their audience with a call for action to work together towards a promised future that is drawn out by the story of the politician (Heinemans, 2019b). Polletta and Callahan (2017) illuminate the useful features of narratives for a politician to muddy the line between little and big stories and also between history and memory (Polletta

& Callahan, p. 394). Polletta and Callahan (2017) also argue that the point of a story is rarely explicit. Once a story has been told, it from that moment on suffices to only refer to it, since people base a story’s point by reference to stories that they have heard before (Polletta & Cal- lahan, p. 394). This means that the most powerful stories don’t even need to be told again be- cause a single reference already suffices (Polletta & Callahan, 2017, p. 395). Resuming, politi- cal agents can use narratives to rewrite history according to what’s best for them to fulfil their aims. They also can use narratives to create a vision for the future to their audience. In this case the politician outlines himself as the leader and the audience as participants in a joint struggle towards a better future. Besides, the narratives that he tells or later on refers to, will be remem- bered and passed on. This way, narratives are powerful engines for radical change in politics, sociology, and religion (Heinemans, 2019b).

Narratives are perfect for creating a collective identity. Shenhav (2006) argues that po- litical discourse relies extensively on narrative patterns. In general, humans rely on narrative as a way of understanding the world and endow it with meaning (p. 246). The basis for acceptance



of a story is thus already present. Also, a normal political tendency is trying to shape the present with lessons learned from the past (Shenhav, 2006, p. 246). So, when a politician tells life ex- periences to his audience, he deliberately connects the past with the present and future to create a narrative that will be remembered as the story of the collective identity” (Muylaert, Sarubbi Jr, Gallo, Neto, and Reis, 2014, p. 185). Building collective identity is an enduring feature of politics and storytelling has this capacity (Polletta & Callahan, 2017, p. 404).

In general, in politics the audience can easily be influenced by implicit, added elements in narratives. Polletta and Callahan (2017) underline that narratives are always allusive (Polletta

& Callahan, p. 404) so the influencing by the politician rarely is performed explicitly. The im- plicit way in which the audience is influenced has been described by De Fina and Georgakopou- lou (2012). They position narratives in a political conflict situation and describe from there the contrast between narratives with positive ends and narratives in conflicts:

Storytelling, (…), is often associated with cooperation, shared enjoyment and opportunities for the teller’s display of verbal artistry. Equally important, however, is the association of stories with conflict, for ex- ample in relation to who has the right to recount a narrative, who tells the truth and who lies, and what consequences the telling of particular stories may have on the life of individuals and groups. In this re- spect, when we look at the use of narratives in many concrete domains of social life, we come across questions of power, credibility, and authority. Indeed, narrative tellings may serve as occasions for the exercise of power and domination and for the perpetration or creation of social inequalities. (De Fina &

Georgakopoulou, 2012, p. 125).

The quotation demonstrates how politicians can use narratives to exercise power and domina- tion in a way that the audience isn’t quite aware of since they experience narratives as positive tellings. The various power elements that a politician can add to their narratives comprises

“control over linguistic sources, authority, right to speak, truth, ideology and property” (De Fina & Georgakopoulou, 2012, p. 125).

The truth mentioned in the reference of De Fina & Georgakopoulou (2012) should not be considered the actual and only truth. Shenhav (2006) argues that political narratives are cre- ated in the course of political action which makes it difficult to measure their truthfulness (Shen- hav, p. 248). Muylaert et al. (2014) add to this that political agents in narrative interviews con- sider their memory as selective, remembering what ‘they can’. Some events are deliberately or unconsciously forgotten (Muylaert et al., p.186). On the other hand, Lukianova and Steffens- meier (2020) argue that when personal stories in political discourse are told, they function as a testimony. The diverse audience gets to understand and gain respect for the politician and



consequently will not question his testimony to not offend the latter (Lukianova & Steffens- meier, 2020, p. 317). So, altogether this leads to the conclusion that political narratives should not be considered as truthful. The politician can implicitly influence the narratives, he can have a selective memory, or create the narratives to his advantage during the political discourse when confronted with a precarious question. Anyway, explicitly he will be appearing as telling a truthful story with the aim to gain respect from the audience who at their turn does not attempt to question the truth value of the narratives.



3. Narratives in political interviews

In this chapter the question how narratives function in the domain of political interviews is central. Initially must be zoomed out to position the political interview in a genre. The ad- vantages of belonging to a genre are highlighted in the first paragraph. However, a genre also constrains the corresponding discourse. The first paragraph thus also explores the functioning of genres and relates to their including communication activity types. The genre of political discourse comprises various political interview communication activity types. The next aim is to research their build-up. The second paragraph focusses on how political interviews, when broadcasted, are influenced by the genre of the media. The paragraph will be specifying into different broadcast and interview content formats, what boils down into a division between a

“default” and a “non-default” political interview. The third paragraph will discuss the differ- ences between the interviews based on being broadcasted via mainstream media or via an online political outlet. The last paragraph highlights the differences in the construction and use of nar- ratives in a “default” and “non-default” political interview.

3.1 The need for a discourse type

In this paragraph the need for a discourse type is explained. The advantages of the use of nar- ratives cannot be properly explained when one doesn’t have a clue of how the regular discourse in a discourse type should be. The discourse types ‘genre’ and ‘communication activity type’

will thus be described and compared to create a good understanding of their differences and functioning.

Graves (2005) defines a discourse genre as “a specialized rhetorical situation with spe- cific language use directed toward a rather narrow audience of peers in a specialty area of that discipline” (Graves, 2005, p. 243). Here the focus lies on a small audience of listeners who seem to already know what the specific language use is in this field. Bawarsi (2000) in Graves (2005) considers that the specific language use exactly is what created the special genre in the first place. The existence of the special language thus required from writers and subject matters to shape their discourse to fit the context and so created genres (Graves, 2005, p. 340). In gen- eral, all communication belongs to a determined genre. Participants functioning in the corre- sponding discourse genre are imposed to adjust their communication according to this genre when they interact with each other or with people from outside the genre (Graves, p. 252).

The advantages of belonging to a genre are various. Graves (2005) describes that genres help us function within particular situations, while they, in contrast, also help us in getting to



know these situations (Graves, p. 340), the latter meaning that genres support us in knowing how and what to communicate, but they also make us meet like-minded people exactly because of their group form. Genres create discourse communities based on the same beliefs and values.

Consequently, these communities then shape thought and action, and suggest to community members what may be thought, said, and done. So, genres both facilitate and constrain thought and action in a discourse community and even can be ideological (Graves, 2005, p. 253).

A discourse genre can comprise various communication activity types. The communi- cative activity types thus all belong to the same domain and share a common institutional point (Van Eemeren, 2010). The aspect in which they differ is that each communicative activity type has their own specific goals. Concluding, all these goals contribute in a certain way to realize the institutional point of the overarching genre and only vary on an individual level (Van Eeme- ren, p. 140). Variants in political communication activity types vary by discourse style and type.

Van Eemeren (2010) argues that the general institutional point of many communicative activity types in the political domain is “preserving a democratic political culture by means of deliber- ation” (Van Eemeren, p. 140).

So, the political genre community determines the preferred kind of discourse, actions and beliefs in the political domain. Although this has consequences for the communication ac- tivity types, there still is space to produce their own discourse style and content following their preferences or distribution possibilities. In the next paragraph the communication activity type of a broadcast political interview will be discussed.

3.2 Broadcast political interview

In this paragraph the characteristics of the community activity type of a political interview will be highlighted. In the previous paragraph have been described how the political genre deter- mines the communication in the political domain, although the communication activity type of a political interview is allowed to produce part of their own discourse. Still is missing how the communication activity types determine their content and how there can be various types.

Levinson (1979) fills this gap with his description on activity types. According to Lev- inson (1979) language activity types play a central role in language usage, in two ways espe- cially. First, they constrain what will count as an allowable contribution to each activity. Sec- ond, they help to determine how what one says will be “taken”, that is what kinds of inferences will be made from what is said (Levinson, p. 97). This paragraph therefore provides an overview on various choices based on inference or constraints that media resources can exercise and that



are decisive for a subdivision into different broadcast political interview communication activ- ity types.

A broadcast political interview is constrained or facilitated by the media, since media has its own genre. Fetzer and Bull (2013) even consider a political interview as a discourse genre and media event (p. 86). Van Eemeren (2010) also emphasizes the influences of the genre of journalism on political interviews (Van Eemeren, p. 140). So, a broadcast political interview is bound to the genre of political discourse and to the genre of media discourse or visuals which boils down into a combined communication activity type.

The media genre influences the communication and behaviour of the journalist and pol- itician in a television broadcast political interview. Fetzer and Bull (2013) describe the media genre as users of natural language (p. 82). Thereby, interviewers communicate at a microlevel with the interviewee, while at a macrolevel their communication is framed by their institution or culture (Fetzer & Bull, p. 82). Clayman and Heritage (2002) underline how mass media broadcast companies as well constrain the behaviour of the participants to the broadcast politi- cal interviews. For example, the talk of the two parties should be managed as “talk for over- hearers” so that audience members feel included (Clayman & Heritage, p. 96). Besides, politi- cians and interviewers share the complicated task to talk to each other and to the present audi- ence but at the same time to the audience at home. Thus, any possible misunderstandings can be repaired between the politician and the interviewer but not towards the “overhearers” (Fetzer

& Bull, 2013, p. 83). Therefore, most mass media broadcast companies constrain the role of the interviewer to not opine about public issues (Clayman & Heritage, p. 96). So, when resuming the characteristics of political news interview production, a threefold role is observable for the mass media genre. Television political interviews are a neutral mediator of information, but also a critical monitor of politics exercising control, while at the same time they are under the commercial pressure in competition for audiences (Fetzer & Bull, 2013, p. 85).

The media genre also influences the format of a television broadcast political interview.

The mass media news interview characteristically has the form of question-response sequences (Bull & Fetzer, 2010, p. 163). The interviewer decides which matters are newsworthy (Clayman

& Heritage, 2002, p. 61) but the interviewee arrives also with his own agenda, based on the constraints of his own genre. Therefore, the turn taking between the two comprises negotiating the appropriateness of a question, and the necessity of answering it, which turns the interview in practice in a sort of attack and defence format which has consequences for the opportunities that participants have to achieve their goals. This question-answer format is what makes the audience recognize the interview as a news interview (Clayman & Heritage, 2002, pp. 95-96).



One could now conclude that when the news interview does not have a question-answer attack-defence format, it is considered to be anything but a news interview. This neither is the case. To dive deeper into the theme, at first it is necessary to know that there are globally three types of news interviews, as proposed by Clayman and Heritage (2002). Initially, the expert interview is reviewed. Here the interviewee is presented as an expert with specialized knowledge on the subject. An expert can also be invited to a background interview where he comments on issues, although eyewitnesses can as well be called for a testimonial on newswor- thy events (p. 70). Ultimately, the debate interview. This interview is recognizable by a too informative opening and a topic that is treated as controversial. In case of political positions, the opening aligns the interviewees as advocates prepared to defend a particular standpoint (Clayman & Heritage, p. 71). The three news interview types outlined above have become in- stitutionalized among news producers (Clayman & Heritage, 2002).

It seems logical that, from the mentioned news interviews, the expert and background interviews could better be applying an interview technique that leaves the speaker with more time to provide information than an attack-defence format seems to do. A narrative interview technique might be a better choice here. There are many reasons to defend this claim. At the same time, these reasons give a glimpse into the functioning of narrative interviewing.

Patterson and Monroe (1998) argue that in a “default” interview situation with specific question-answer format, the questions are constructed on the interviewer’s assumptions. In a narrative interview, the interview as well as the results get less constrained by the assumptions of the interviewer. Besides, the aim of the narrative interview is to obtain information at a mi- cro- and macrolevel. This because social interactions tend to highlight unknown or not really known features about the social reality of persons (Muylaert et al., 2014, p.185) and can be helpful in interpreting macrolevel cultural experiences (Patterson & Monroe, 1998, p. 330).

Micro- and macrolevel are best revealed when the interviewee uses his spontaneous language with his particular worldview (Patterson & Monroe, p. 330).

The difference of a narrative interview technique to a question-answer format is that to let the interviewee produce natural language, the interviewer minimally interrupts. Neverthe- less, participants still interact since the story emerges from the interaction, exchange and dia- logue between interviewer and interviewees. So, the interviewer does have a critical position (Muylaert et al., 2014, p. 185) which makes the behaviour of the interviewer important in the narrative results (Muylaert et al., 2014, p. 186). Concluding, a narrative interview has the same aims as a mass media interview and therefore, is a fit format for the expert or background



interviews. Also, the role of the interviewer is decisive in distinguishing between different types of narrative interviews.

Narratives nowadays frequently appear in political interviews that are published online.

In fact, narratives are the “common language” of these new types of interviews (Fetzer & Bull, 2013, p. 94) that popularize political knowledge. Political interviews are now increasingly launched through online political outlets while previously they were conducted through press and television (Scotto di Carlo, 2014, p. 592). Popularization and popularizing were initially terms to refer to the transmission of scientific knowledge to a lay audience (Calsamiglia & Van Dijk, 2004; Scotto di Carlo, 2014; Whitley, 1985) but nowadays the definition can be broadened to the political domain also. As a result, the political language used online must be brought to the audience in an understandable way. The enormous emergence of new political outlets has given rise to the hybrid political interview (Fetzer & Bull, 2013) which is considered to be a new type of political interview consisting of a mix of characteristics of the “default” political interviews and of new elements that are beneficial to the goals that this popularizing activity type has.

3.3 Default and non-default political interviews

The previous paragraph provided an introduction to the form of broadcast political interviews, and the conduct and communication of the participants have been discussed. By the end of the paragraph a new type of political interview was mentioned. In this paragraph the two types of broadcast political interviews will be highlighted, specified on mainstream media broadcaster and on being online published. The distinction that Fetzer and Bull (2013) argued, will be lead- ing. They split the interviews up in a “default” and a “non-default” political interview.

A “default” political interview is a communicative activity type in which prototypical deliberation is combined with making use of information-seeking, which comes from the jour- nalism genre (Van Eemeren, 2010, p. 140). Andone (2009) considers a political interview as an activity type in which the interviewee is held accountable for his actions and the interviewer represents the voice of the citizens (Andone, p. 44). The “non-default” comprises a political interview produced by new online political outlets which mixes genres and modalities. The political outlet functions on the web with a “completely new pragmatic context” like “videos provided with a transcription, a translation into a number of languages, a blog and a comment area”. (Scotto di Carlo, 2014). Since the “non-default” interview is a varying mixture of ele- ments, the differences between the “default” and “non-default” interviews will be discussed on main features.



One of the main differences between the “default” and the “non-default” interviews is that they vary in difference of opinion. Van Eemeren et al. (2014) argues that a difference of opinion can arise, when in discourse a protagonist utters a standpoint that meets with doubt or contradiction and thus will be attacked by the antagonist (Van Eemeren et al., 2014). In a “de- fault” political interview the initial situation brings to light a difference of opinion between an interviewer and a politician that may concern decisions, plans or actions of the politician that have consequences for the general public (Andone, 2009, p. 45). The interviewer is a journalist that asks political questions, to which the politician replies with political answers (Fetzer &

Bull, p. 73). Thus, the interviewer has a critical attitude (Andone, 2013, p. 3). The questions serve to obtain information but also to hold the politician accountable, so he must provide ar- guments justifying his acts (Andone, 2009, p. 44). The responses of the politician reflect an aim to turn the discussion in his favour by trying to create a positive image before the audience (Andone, 2013, p. 7). In contrast, in the “non-default” interview there exists a “staged opposi- tion” (Berry & Sobieraj, 2014; Fetzer & Bull, 2013). The interviewer is a host who together with his guest reacts to a standpoint that has been made in another moment, by a shared oppo- nent. So, in a “non-default” political interview there doesn’t exist a difference of opinion be- tween the participants.

There does exist a difference in goals between the “default” and the “non-default” in- terviews. Where the “default” political interview presents political news, selected on being most compelling to their audience, or in greatest need of in-depth examination (Fetzer & Bull, 2013), the “non-default” presents news that the host reinterprets, reframes, and unpacks (Berry &

Sobieraj, pp. 7-8) and that is based on ideological selectivity (Berry & Sobieraj, 2014, p. 8).

The “non-default” has a characteristic discursive style, which tries to provoke emotional re- sponses like anger, fear, moral indignation from the audience and is recognizably reactive (Berry & Sobieraj, 2014, p. 7). Different from the use of pathos whereby emotions could be aroused by the rhetoric of the discourse (Pilgrim, n.d), in the “non-default” political interview the host makes use of tactics to deliberately provoke emotions (Berry & Sobieraj, 2014, p. 7).

The emotions create and maintain proximity with the audience (Scotto di Carlo, 2014; Hyland, 2010) and so form a bond with them which results in an audience that reacts to the content and repeats their visit. The visitor numbers to the platform attract advertisers, so indirectly emotions are also generated to serve an underlying business model (Berry & Sobieraj, 2014, pp. 7-8).

The best way to create and maintain proximity (Scotto di Carlo, 2014) is with narratives.

Fetzer and Bull (2013) define these new “non-default” political interviews as characterised by

“small stories” (Fetzer & Bull, p. 95). Muylaert et al. (2014) confirm that narratives can elicit



different emotional states in listeners (see §4.3; Muylaert et al., p. 185). Berry and Sobieraj (2014) also argue that the preferred discourse of these interviews is stories (Berry & Sobieraj, p. 8). From the speaker, the stories are used strategically to express alignment with the audience to reconstruct credibility and responsibility. These stories have twofold functions: at an inter- personal level they express intimacy and solidarity, and at a communicative level they convey contextualized arguments and advice (Fetzer & Bull, 2013, p. 94). Small stories provide polit- ical agents with the opportunity of presenting themselves as private agents who are simple or- dinary people (Fetzer & Bull, 2013, p. 95). From the interviewer, as the host, the advantage is that he can position himself or his political compatriots in the role of the hero or can taint ene- mies, opponents, or policies he dislikes as dangerous, inept, or immoral (Berry & Sobieraj, 2014, p. 8).

These new interviews usually act in dis-accordance with the constraints of the “default”

political interview. These “critical incidents” refers to all aspects that are not “default” (Fetzer

& Bull, 2013, p. 89). The multi-layeredness of “non-defaults” (p. 90) contrasts with the “de- faults” that are clear-cut, which refers to the question-answer format, the neutrality of the inter- viewer and the distinction between private and public, the latter taking place when the audience actively participates (Fetzer & Bull, 2013, p. 90). Fetzer and Bull (2013) argue that “non-de- fault” political interviews do not communicate political reality, but mediated political reality (Fetzer & Bull, p. 92).

In the “non-default” interview the interviewer is central, differently than in the “default”

where the news is prioritized (Berry & Sobieraj, 2014, p. 7). This thus also requires a new role of the political speaker, who now functions as support to the host. Also it sheds a light on the question why he is invited. Possible explanations will be discussed in Chapter 6, discussing the advantages of the use of narratives to the host of the “non-default” interview. Anyway, since the political reality is ‘mediated’, the politician needs a higher level of credibility. One way to achieve this, is to share selected information publicly without revealing too much. A politician’s

‘true story’ is usually introduced with an utterance like ‘I have to tell you’ or ‘I mean’. The act of confiding has an impressive positive impact on any interpersonal relationship (Fetzer & Bull, 2013, pp. 92-93).

3.4 Difference in narratives use

The prior paragraphs clarified that political genres and communication activity types prescribe preferred political content, boiling down into a division in two general types of political



interviews each making their own choices and dealing with constraints for their discourse. The use of narratives does also vary depending on the type of political interview.

There exist some features that all narratives in political discourse share. They result from the genre-determined role of the participants. Finlayson (2019) argues that in general, every politician needs a political style, which often will be a role in which he acts being “a right, reasonable and reliable politician”. In this role a politician will want to say “the right thing” and appear “reliable”. Also, he will make his narratives explicitly appear as truthful and reasonable, since he tailors his message to the listener (Finlayson, 2019, p. 11). At the same time a politician has his own political purposes, which he will accomplish implicitly by influencing his audience (Van Dijk, 1997).

The narratives used in a “default” interview are perfect to transmit a message to a het- erogeneous audience and get the message accepted broadly (see §4.2; Boeijinga, Hoeken, &

Sanders, 2017). There the political agent tells narratives that are “autobiographical accounts given by himself in the present about a protagonist with the same name, who existed in the past, and who blends into the present speaker as the story ends” (Patterson & Monroe, 1998, p. 316).

In essence, he is relating a story about himself experiencing events that eventually are beneficial to the story’s point he intents to transmit. Since he adapts the story to his story’s point, the truth value is less important than the message. This is proven from the fact that in the “default”

interview the story’s point about how life went is not causal, but moral (p. 316). So, the politi- cian uses his “alter ego” on a microlevel to refer to society on a macrolevel (Patterson & Mon- roe, 1998, pp. 316-317).

The narratives used in the “non-default” interview, require far more complex elements when constructed. The interviews are placed online, where people can react to them in the com- ments section. This makes the new political interview interactional, which involves new choices and constraints (Livnat & Dori-Hacohen, 2014, p. 5). First, the politician has to do more effort to engage his listeners. Politicians have to align their narratives to the audience (Hyland, 2010, p. 176) to create proximity with the latter (Scotto di Carlo, 2014). Second, the politician has to possess extraordinary qualities to be able to successfully communicate in the interactional and international environment that the web is. Livnat and Dori-Hacohen (2014) argue that the pol- itician needs to possess “more than the usual communicative competence to speak and interact in culturally and situationally as well linguistically meaningful ways, based on “speakers’

knowledge of cross-situational, enduring and shared, principles or a system of rules” (Livnat &

Dori-Hacohen, p. 6). As a consequence the narratives have to follow this demanding line also.

Besides, the narratives must be more focussed on the “actions, reactions and understanding of



specific contexts, interactions and culture of the audience” (Livnat & Dori-Hacohen, p. 6) than in “default” use of narratives. This results from the almost “presence” of the audience that in a

“default” interview is mostly silent or not present. The audience that normally comprises “over- hearers” at home, here is an audience that actively participates.

Livnat & Dori-Hacohen (2014) argue that the audience of a “non-default” interview comprises participants and members. The online political outlets actively members people, which means that their talk and what they further publish, achieves community building and demonstrates membership in a community (Livnat & Dori-Hacohen, 2014, p. 5). Members are persons that highly understand and respond to the host’s utterances while participants display a lesser degree of competence in the understanding of the discourse of the host (Livnat & Dori- Hacohen, 2014, p. 5). The politician has the complex task to create narratives that reach both the groups and also eventual “common” audience.

In a “default” interview a politician thrives on his ethos. Ethos can be derived from a person’s expertise (‘what one knows’) and from his status (‘what one is’) (Pilgram, n.d.). Sup- posedly, for a “default” expert or background interview the politician is invited by a media company on the basis of his ethos only, as in being the best man for the job to comment on a newsworthy theme. Also, in a mainstream media interview there probably exists less focusing on how a message is transmitted than in a “non-default” interview where appearance is more important than news worth. Resumed, a politician invited by a mainstream media broadcaster because of his ethos does not have to work hard to convince or persuade his audience.

In a “non-default” interview the politician has a much more difficult task to accomplish.

First, he has to keep his audience committed (Scotto di Carlo, 2014). Also, his claim can be refuted by this audience, so the politician must anticipate his arguments to the audience’s re- sponses. At the same time his narratives must respond to a larger discourse that is already in progress on the site, so the politician starts in a web of opinions. The community members only accept recognizable arguments as valid and effective. All discourse has to be presented in ways that readers are likely to find persuasive, and so politicians must anticipate all this in their nar- ratives to be able to express their positions, represent themselves, and engage their audiences (Hyland, 2005, p. 176).

Therefore, the narratives of the politician must apply an interpersonal character, multiple claims, comments on the truth and establish solidarity and credibility (Hyland, 2005). Hyland (2005) furthermore claims that when analysing these types of narratives, one usually can en- counter only the predominant meanings. Meanings are explicitly expressed but also implicitly embedded, for example by referring to a shared attitude (Hyland, 2005, p. 177). So, most likely



it will not be possible to recover all the embedded references or meanings expressed with these types of narratives.



4. Exploring stories and narratives

In literature the terms stories and narratives commonly are used interchangeably (Smith, 2016) although some scholars also distinguish the two (Cortes Gago, 2017). In this thesis exists a distinction between the two phenomena, and not without a reason. First, the narratives used in the “non-default” political interviews are other narratives than in the “default”. It could be really confusing to divide between different genres, different interviews, and also use terms as story and narrative without ordering them and ultimately discuss even different kinds of narra- tives. Another reason for the split-up is that the narratives used in the “non-default” are multi- layered (Fetzer & Bull, 2013) and contain multiple claims (Hyland, 2005). Therefore, it is im- portant to obtain knowledge in the best way about the functioning of narratives with their vari- ous layers and multiple effects. Thus, in this chapter first stories are explored, then their per- suasive characteristics will be reviewed and subsequently these stories naturally lead to into the definition of narratives from which their effects and functioning are discussed.

4.1 Stories explained

For a good understanding of the functioning of a narrative, it is important to first explain what a story is, since stories are the basis of each narrative (Bal, 1997; Walton, 2012).

Stories are events caused or experienced by people that are retold by other people in a certain manner (Bal, 1997). Bal (1997) describes a story in a narrative text as a “fabula pre- sented in a certain way” and a “fabula” as “a series of logical and chronologically related events caused or experienced by people” (Bal, p. 5). Ryfe (2006) confirms that stories are “always about something, they literally refer to events”. These events are the decisive factor that distin- guish stories from mere chronologies. The events in stories always form some sort of problem, like a dilemmatic situation or are an event that complicates the whole story. The way in which this problem is faced and resolved is “the point of the story” (Ryfe, p. 74). Walton (2012) de- fines a story in a much simpler way. According to Walton (2012) a story is a “record of events or actions that remain unchanged and are understandable to all” (Walton, p. 199).

The understandability of stories to which Walton refers, is explained by Bhattacharyya (1997). Bhattacharyya (1997) states that storytelling has been practiced in all cultures since time immemorial (Bhattacharyya, p. 1). The stories that were told in ancient times, were called

“myths”. He argues that a principal characteristic of myths is their universality which according to Lévi-Strauss (1978) is an important indication of a common framework of all human life (Lévi-Strauss in Bhattacharyya, 1997, p. 4). Myths share themes as “chaos” or “a sacrifice



bringing about creation” (Bhattacharyya, 1997, p. 4). A more broadly known story theme is

“triumph of good over evil” and the later in time invented myth of the “hero” shows several common characteristics all the world over, characteristics like first suffering and then triumph- ing (Bhattacharyya, 1997, p. 4). Myths clearly relate with the theory of Ryfe (2006) who argued that stories always face a problematic situation and the way in which they are resolved, is the point of the story (Ryfe, p. 74).

The point of the story functions as a learning tool. Bhattacharyya (1997) confirms that myths have an educational function. Also, stories have always been used to persuade the listen- ers. Bhattacharyya (1997) describes that teachers have always used allegorical stories and met- aphors to transmit the underlying message in various human dilemmas with their successful solutions (Bhattacharyya, 1997). The persuasiveness of stories will be further explained in §4.2.

The truth value of myths is questionable. If myths are true or are fiction is not known, alt- hough the word ‘mythology’ refers to a combination of fiction and truth (Bhattacharyya, 1997).

Fisher (1984) summarizes all the special features of stories. The most compelling, persua- sive stories are mythic in form (Fisher, p. 16). The most helpful and uplifting stories are morals (p. 16). A good story exhibits narrative probability and narrative fidelity across time and culture (p. 17). Last important features are the knowledge of the teller, he must be reliable or trustwor- thy, and the knowledge of objects, which has to have the quality of veracity (Fisher, 1984, p.

18). Fisher (1984) argues that the mentioned features altogether make the narrative story the most persuasive form of communication (Fisher, 1984).

4.2 Persuasive stories

This paragraph focuses on the functioning of stories when used to persuade their listeners.

Storytelling is a simple way of absorbing information with a subtle form of persuasion (Boeijinga, 2018, p. 14). In ancient times when stories were still myths, they already contained unconscious material in a disguised form. The goal of the storytelling was to let the listener absorb and internalize the point of the myth to use this moral in his personal life, and to later pass this story on to others (Bhattacharyya, 1997, p. 1). Therefore, stories must have special appealing elements that motivates the listeners.

Many scholars wrote about the special positive effects that stories possess (Boeijinga et al., 2017; De Fina & Georgakopoulou, 2012; Kreuter et al., 2007). Boeijinga et al. (2017) de- scribe that the human brain is better able to remember and process information in story form (Boeijinga et al., p. 11). Also, story sharing creates a connection and intimacy that touches people more deeply than can be achieved through the verbal system (Bhattacharyya, 1997, p.



1). Listening to stories together is pleasant (Boeijinga et al., p. 14). Lastly, the sharing of stories bridges differences between people (Boeijinga et al., 2017, p. 14).

The special intimate connection that storytelling generates, makes it easier to motivate listeners to change their usual conduct into other conduct, that the storyteller subtly prescribes.

Boeijinga et al. (2017) researched the bridging functions of stories and with the results they tried to close the gap between very diverse populations (p. 924). The researchers designed sto- ries that were adapted to the low educated and heterogeneous group and from which they pre- sumed that the group would easier accept them, because they experienced positive feelings while listening to them. The researchers so succeeded in changing the conduct of a group that normally could not easily be convinced (Boeijinga et al., p. 925). The special connection that listeners feel between each other when they listen to stories make them open up to the prescribed information. So, listening to stories together generates a shared pleasant feeling, which makes the audience less critical about the content (Boeijinga et al., 2017, p. 14).

The moral of the story is the element in the story that should activate listeners into other behaviours, especially into that what the speaker describes as accurate. Ryfe (2006) explains this in detail. In telling a story, speakers intend to persuade hearers that the posed problems and the way in which they resolve them, are accurate reflections of the way the world is ought to be. The meaning of stories lies in the context (Ryfe, 2006, p. 74) or better said, is implicit (Boeijinga, 2018, p. 14).

The persuasive, attitude changing functions of stories must have inspired speakers to the creation and usage of narratives. Before going to the next paragraph about narratives, an inter- mediate step is taken to highlight the difference between stories and narratives. This is best explained by the theory of Walton (2012) who makes a distinction between a “story” and a

“story scheme”. With the term “story” he basically refers to the same phenomenon as exten- sively described hereabove, but the “story scheme” is new. A “story scheme” is the same as a

“story”, but with variables added to it (Walton, 2012, p. 199). The story scheme can be consid- ered as a simplified narrative model and this periphrasis forms a good bridge to the next para- graph about narratives.

4.3 Narratives

The distinction between stories and narratives lies in the variables that are deliberately added to a story to obtain the results that narrative can achieve. In this paragraph the definition of narratives, their structure, the added variables and the functioning will be discussed.



At first, the definition of narratives will be researched to see if scholars give a good clear impression of the narrative. Various narratives researchers adopt the definition of narratives of Labov and Waletsky (1967) (De Fina, 2009; De Fina & Georgakopoulou, 2011; De Gago, 2017). Apart from each other these scholars describe the periphrasis as “highly influential”.

Labov and Waletsky (1967) consider narratives as “one verbal technique for recapitulating past experience, in particular a technique of constructing narrative units which match the temporal sequence of that experience” (Labov & Waletzky, 1967, p. 13).

The definition of narratives of Labov and Waletsky (1967) proofs the claim of Walton (2012) who argues that story schemes are stories with added variables (Walton, 2012, p. 199).

In the “highly influential” definition of Labov and Waletsky (1967) the focus also lies on nar- ratives as a “technique” and being deliberately “constructed” (Labov & Waletzky, 1967, p. 13).

Besides, Walton (2012) underlines that his definition of story scheme is equal to his definition of a narrative scheme: “a story to which variables have been added” (Walton, 2012, p. 199).

Kreuter et al. (2007) shares Walton’s claim by defining narratives as: “a representation of con- nected events and characters that has an identifiable structure, is bounded in space and time, and contains implicit or explicit messages about the topic being addressed” (Kreuter et al., p.

222). So, narratives are stories that are constructed, and to which explicit and implicit elements have been added (Kreuter et al., 2007; Labov & Waletzky, 1967; Walton, 2012).

Apart from adding variables, there are some scholars that add elements to Labov and Waletsky’s (1967) definition of narratives since they feel like there is lacking information.

Firstly, De Fina (2009) observes the neglect of the element “context” in the definition of narra- tives (p. 235). According to De Fina (2009) the absence of “context” leads to an absence of the important feature “interaction” and with this, the reason why people do things (De Fina, 2009, p. 235). Bal (1997) did add context to the characteristics of a narrative text. In her narratives two types of speaker act, one in the fabula, the other as the teller and the context is the specific way in which the teller presents what happened (Bal, 1997, p. 9). Second, Cortes Gago (2017) argues that narratives shouldn’t only be used for past experiences, but also to build future stories (Goodwin, 1990 in Cortes Gago, 2017, p. 367). The explanation of future stories follows from Heinemans (2019a) who describes them as a narrative that starts in the present and helps to make the future understandable and inspiring (Heinemans, 2019b). The future story gives di- rection to an uncertain future (Heinemans, 2019b). The result of the future vision is determined by the extent to which people act themselves (2019a). The “strategic narrative” has an open end that is worked towards together, inviting people to participate (Heinemans, 2019a). `



Muylaert et al. (2014) resume how narratives strategically work, and this explains why they can be so functional for politics. Muylaert et al. (2014) argue that narratives can elicit different emotional states in listeners. Narratives have characteristics to make listeners sensitive to the message in the narrative and also make their listener connect the experiences according to their own, avoiding explanations and opening up to different possibilities of interpretation (Muylaert et al., p. 185). Most of these characteristics were already mentioned in paragraph

§4.2 Persuasive stories, so this proofs that narratives strategically persuade listeners by telling stories with added elements, taking advantage of the naturally persuasive properties of stories.

Also, the size of the narrative can be bigger or smaller depending on the interviewer, interviewee or the social context (Muylaert et al., 2014, p. 187). Labov and Waletzky (1967) underline this for narrative interviews where the conversational floor is very competitive. In this case, parties engage rapidly in disputing the ongoing version of facts being told, the inter- view is characterized by overlapping turns with divergent versions, and participants are reject- ing or correcting positions. This results in stories that are usually short and that present com- pacted information. They are told at a fast pace and at a high volume. Labov and Waletsky (1967) argue that the narratives are sometimes only two utterances long and emphasize that a minimal narrative structure must be considered, which is obtained whenever two utterances are matched by a temporal juncture (Labov & Waletzky, 1967). With this research Labov &

waletsky (1967) also display why narrative interviews can be used as a format for “default”

political interviews. Narratives do have qualities and structures to fit into the attack and defence format of news interviews (see also §3.2).

A discourse full of narratives can contain various forms of argumentative moves. Olmos (2013) states that when there is an “intention to convince an audience of something that, in a particular context, cannot be assumed to be directly evident or proven, will determine whether there is an argument” (Olmos, p. 5). Fisher (1989) argues that “regardless of genre, discourse will always tell a story and insofar as it invites an audience to believe it or act on it, it is available for interpretation and assessment” (Fisher, p. xi).

There has been quite some debating about the matter if narratives are arguments, con- sisting of a lot of diverging opinions, ranging between “narrative argumentation, narration in arguments or the inherent narrativity of arguing and debating” (Olmos, 2015, p. 155). Olmos (2015) reflects her own interpretation of the argumentative potential of narratives, divided into four categories. Categories I and II are based only on narrative credibility (p. 156), category I being arguments consisting of “parallels”, as in example arguments and comparison arguments (p. 156) and category II includes arguments with data in whole or partly narrative form; like



practical inferences from consequences of goals, or pragmatic inconsistencies. Category III is arguments over narratives, such as versions of events and arguments from witness statements.

These are not narrative arguments, but reasons are given here that are unknown to the public.

Category IV is about “pure narration” (p. 157), explained as “the assumption of certain argu- mentative qualities in a discourse that does not explicitly present an argument.” These narra- tives are often “truthful” and with “clear narrative plausibility” for justification (Olmos, 2015, p. 157).

Narratives function effectively in so many ways, but they also need to be engaging for the listener. Smith and Foote (2016) report that narratives can “instruct in the proper ways of behaving, provide a compelling order to events, serve as an articulated historical repository, elicit strong emotions, forge consensus, sway opinions, provide alternative understandings, and incite to action” (Smith & Foote, p. 134) and finally describe how narratives can be constructed as engaging. Smith and Foote (2016) explain “in fiction and non-fiction and in movies, televi- sion, and video games, it is not unusual for writers to employ multiple storylines to advance complex plots and to enhance the overall narrative. There are many literary and cinematic de- vices that can be used (Smith & Foote 2016, p. 142). The described engagement tools can also be found in the narratives used in “non-default” political interviews that popularize political knowledge (Scotto di Carlo, 2014) as will be demonstrated in the next chapter.

So, this chapter began with stories with a moral, and ended with narratives with multiple storylines, multiple claims and added elements which can even be cinematic. Basically said, the narratives used in “default” political interviews relate more to stories with a moral and “non- default” narratives are highly thought out tools. This supposition will be closer researched in an analysis of the two in the next chapter.



5. Analysis

In this chapter an analysis will be performed of a “default” and “non-default” political inter- view. The aim is to demonstrate that the narratives in a “default” political interview relate more to stories with a moral and that a “non-default” contains narratives that are highly styled, com- plexly constructed and that have advantages for the interviewer.

I have selected two narrative background interviews. Since the political interviews don’t seem to differ much at first sight, the analysis starts with an analysis of the genres with the use of the framework of De Fina (2009), especially made to analyse narrative interviews, to demon- strate where the interviews differ in choices and constraints. Also this framework is intended to analyse narratives in an interactional context. From each interview I will also analyse two nar- ratives with the theory of Bal (1997) and Smith (2016) combined. This as well has a twofold aim, first the analysis will probably proof that the genres are diverse and second, the analysis will surely show that the narratives differ from each other. So, there will be performed a double analysis of genres as well as narratives from different perspectives.

The contexts to the videos will be described per video analysis. Transcripts and links of the videos are found in the appendix of this thesis. In the next chapter, chapter 6 Discussion, I will relate my findings with the previous chapters and discuss what advantages the use of nar- ratives has for the interviewer in a “non-default” political interview.

5.1 Genre framework De Fina

The analysis of narrative genres with the framework of De Fina (2009) involves “close scrutiny of expectations about activity and/or form, and/or content, besides an open consideration of all the elements of variability that are intrinsic to oral communication” (De Fina, p. 238). De Fina (2009) prefers an interactional analysis of narrative genres over a de-contextualized narrative analysis (De Fina, p. 238). The answers to the questions of how much negotiation there appear to be in an interview, how much imposition of the interviewers’ agenda, how much co-con- struction took place, how topic shifts and re-routings repositioned the interlocutors, what kinds of presuppositions were apparent, altogether give good insight in how the narratives have been formed in their corresponding context that is the interview. According to De Fina (2009), anal- yses of this kind are not common in interview data, but they “foster the practice of truly inter- actionally oriented approaches to narrative analysis” (De Fina, p. 254).

The purpose of De Fina (2009) is equal to the purpose of this thesis, namely that ana- lysing interview narratives with this framework can lead to important insights on the contexts



that shaped the data (p. 254) and therefore this method is the best for this study. De Fina (2009) proposes three questions for analysing narrative interviews, and these questions will be applied in this research. First, to what extent narrative contents were driven by the interviewer and to what extent they were proposed by the teller. Second, how genres correlated with other aspects of the interview. Ultimately, what kinds of expectations were openly or implicitly negotiated (De Fina, p. 255).

5.2 Narrative analysis Bal with Smith

To analyse the narratives more profoundly, the theory of Bal (1997) is combined with the theory of Smith (2016). In the theory of Bal (1997) the focus lies on obtaining “a narrative system”

which she explains as “a description of the way in which each narrative text is constructed” (p.

3). This description can only be made with the by Bal designated necessary elements of the narrative text (Bal, 1997, p. 3). These elements have been referred to before in this thesis (see chapter 4) and I will list them here in an orderly and clear way as Bal (1997) does in her book.

The analysis of the narratives will begin by defining the “story” in the “narrative text”, and from there the “fabula” will be described, which consists in “a series of logically and chron- ologically related events that are caused or experienced by agents” (p. 5). Further elements to specify are the “event” which is “the transition from one state to another state” (p. 5), “actors”

that “are agents that perform actions”, and “actions” defined as “causing or undergoing an event” (p. 5). Bal (1997) specifies her analysis framework into more features, but to bring out a narrative theme these parts of the narrative system are sufficient. Smith (2016) defines the narrative theme of a narrative system as “a pattern that runs through a story or set of stories”

(Smith, p. 216). So, I will analyse the narratives with the theory of Bal (1997) to get the narrative theme (Smith, 2016).

5.3 Video 1 BBC interview

The aim of this research is to compare a “default” political interview with a “non-default”. To be absolutely sure that the first interview to analyse is a “default”, as in not influenced by in- ternet nor social media, the search for a suitable interview went back to the year 1995, and ultimately yielded a mainstream media broadcast interview of 26 years ago with Lady Mar- gareth Thatcher. Thatcher was at that moment a retired Prime Minister of Britain and she had been a political agent to the United Kingdom. The broadcast company of the interview is BBC Prime, a section of the BBC, the latter a mainstream media broadcaster. BBC Prime had a



summer edition of their program Good Morning Britain, named Good Morning Summer (“Mar- garet Thatcher - BBC Good Morning Summer 1995 Interview,” 2012).

The interview is a narrative background interview, focussed on the entertainment of the audience. The content of the interview seems to be a mix between political questions and en- tertaining background questions. The interview is conducted by two interviewers: a male and a female interviewer, their names are not mentioned. Reviewing further interview characteristics, it is remarkable that for the opening the makers decided to start the video with an image of the face of Mrs. Thatcher telling a short anecdote. There is no theme introduction to the interview.

The editing of the interview consists in normal highlighting of interesting parts.

5.3a Video 1 Analysis genre

In this paragraph the questions of the framework of De Fina (2009) will be applied. The three corresponding questions will result in a good overview of the narratives of the “default” genre.

First, the interview will be analysed on the question to what extent narrative contents were driven by the interviewer and to what extent they were proposed by the teller (De Fina, p.

255). The first salient feature is that turn taking does takes place. There is a good guidance of the interview through regular interruptions by the interviewers. These question interruptions are performed by the male (MI) and female interviewer (FI). In the first minute) there are four interruptions (FI, MI, MI, MI), minute 1) one interruption by the female interviewer, minute 2) three interruptions (FI, MI, MI), minute 3) one by the male interviewer, minute 4) six interrup- tions (FI, MI, MI, MI, MI, MI), minute 5) none, minute 6) three (FI, FI {laughing, no question}, MI), minute 7) three (MI, MI {repetition same question}, FI), minute 8) three (FI, MI, FI), minute 9) one by the male interviewer, minute 10) one by the female interviewer.

From this survey of interruptions by the interviewers is concludable that there does not exist much space for Thatcher to build up a narrative story. In almost every minute she is inter- rupted several times. The interruptions mostly comprise questions of either the male or the fe- male interviewer. The only minute where Lady Thatcher is allowed to talk freely is in the fifth minute, although observing what happened in the fourth minute (six interruptions, as in one every ten seconds) it’s likely that that the interviewers put Thatcher in the direction that they wanted her, right before that minute. Resuming, the male interviewer interrupts sixteen times and the female ten times, of which one is only laughing sounds, so the guidance of the interview is mostly done by the male interviewer while the female interviewer might be participating to ask the more personal questions. Every time Thatcher intents to start a narrative, she is inter- rupted, although the interviewers interrupt with politeness and not abruptly. Therefore, the



extent to which the narrative contents were driven by the interviewer and to what extent they were proposed by the teller is about fifty-fifty.

The second question of De Fina (2009) comprises how genres are correlated with other aspects of the interview, which could be understood as: which aspects of the interview belong to the genre that one thinks the interview is part of, or which aspects are “non-default” to this genre and could be indications of the presence of another genre. In paragraph §3.2 is described how a narrative interview usually takes place. The interviewers shouldn’t interrupt too many times and let the interviewee talk, since the focus of the narrative interview is on obtaining personal stories to be able to understand the correlation between micro and macro processes concerning the life of the interviewee and to understand the contexts in which these biographies were constructed and the factors that produce change and motivate the actions of interviewees.

This process is better achieved when the interviewee can talk in spontaneous language.

In this BBC program the interviewers apply the mentioned narrative interview format.

From the 26 interruptions only about 16 are questions, some interruptions are repetitions of the same question that function as intents to take back the turn to talk, and the rest are interruptions to adjust the talk of Thatcher. The few times the interviewers ask questions with a slightly political connotation is when they are looking for something newsworthy like in “default” po- litical interview (Andone, 2013, p. 36) or in a news interview (Clayman & Heritage, 2002, p.

61). The interviewers do this in the following parts: Lady Thatcher’s father who had been voted off, what also happened to her (line 40-45) and whether everyone agreed with Thatcher’s polit- ical vision (line 54-56, line 60, 68, 70, 72, 74, 76-77). Actually, the interviewers pose very critical questions, as normally is done in “default” political interviews (see §3.3), although here the questions have been adapted to the format of a background interview (see §3.2) with narra- tives (see §4.3).

In this interview, equal to what Andone (2009) mentions for “default” political inter- views, the initial situation brings to light a difference of opinion between the interviewers and the politician (Andone, p. 45) although the interview starts quiet and intimate. The initial situ- ation is characterized by the personal stories of Lady Thatcher (00:00-03:00) and in the part between 03:00-07:27 interviewers and interviewee have a political discussion. Although the initial part comprises personal stories, these stories contain a micro context of political situa- tions, and so are already a micro difference of opinion, since the interviewers act like antago- nists who attack the political loaded content of Thatcher and try to adjust the interview back to their own plan. For example, at 00:05 the female interviewer asks “Who decided it were good films?” There is no clear answer until 00:33 where Thatcher replies “and it was lovely, but my




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