Alqatawna, Mohammad (2019) Heckling in the Jordanian Parliament House: A Conversation Analysis Approach. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This study explores the organisation of sequences involving heckles in the Jordanian parliament using the methodology of Conversation Analysis (CA). The participation framework involved in these interactions is also considered. An uncommon feature of heckles is that they are a contribution to an interaction from a speaker who is not ratified to participate. The data of the study is significant, because it allows us to study a context where the participant has to work to get the floor – this leads to a rather different kind of interaction than is generally studied. Therefore, it is interesting to see how they do this and how others react.

This study makes use of CA alongside the consideration of the participation framework (Goffman, 1981), the notion of activity type (Levinson, 1979), the notion of participation framework patterns (O’Driscoll, 2018), and the analytic framework of the forms of embodiment and social organization (Goodwin & Goodwin, 2004). The consideration of the design of the sequences, the recurrent actions employed, and their connection with the participation framework alongside the strands enabled a fine gained analysis of the ways in which hecklers gain entry into the interaction, what they do with the floor, and how other participants respond to these incursions.

The analysis of the data is based on 56 heckling interactions that occurred at the Jordanian parliament. The participants of the study are adult males and females. The data of the current study was collected using the YouTube public site and the designated setting of the data is the Jordanian parliament.

The analysis focuses on the fact that heckling is a breach of the internal rules of the parliament and that because of the participation framework, unratified participants are not treated as part of the interaction. The analysis shows that the participation framework has a significant effect on the interaction between hecklers and the recipients of heckles. Hecklers are not given the opportunity to enter the interaction because it is illegal. This means that hecklers are forbidden to take part in the interaction. Therefore, hecklers have to work hard to gain the floor using summons, supplication, announcements and launching straight into the reason for heckling. Further, the analysis sheds light on the construction
of heckles, and the design of heckles are associated with complaints, announcements, demands and disagreements. Public audience members recurrently complain to Members of Parliament by indirectly reporting a personal problem that they are facing. Indirect complaints are not produced in response to an assertion or statement in the parliament but are produced to gain a solution for the heckler’s personal problems. In addition, hecklers rely on announcements to convey news. The design features of announcements tend to be short and simple and are associated with extreme case formulations. Moreover, hecklers recurrently produce demands in response to prior proceedings and their design is associated with the concept of advice giving. Lastly, hecklers produce disagreements in response to a proceeding. The design features of disagreements are produced in a straightforward manner using negations and they are expressed using negative assessments.

The analysis also showed that the common responses to heckles are: disengaging unratified participants’ demands, granting the speakership, and telling responses. The overall design of the responses reveal that unratified participants are not invited by recipient to enter the interaction simply because they are not part of it because of the effect of the participation framework on hecklers. Recipients of heckles attempt to disengage hecklers from entering the interaction using various methods such as “let him/me speak” or “please do not interrupt him.”

Finally, the analysis showed that heckling interactions are brought to a closure in a unilateral fashion. Participants do not negotiate the closing of heckles and the most remarkable finding is that the CP always initiates the closing of an interaction using the closing implicative environment, by: instructing others’ as a means of closure, acknowledgements, arrangements, announcing closure, appreciations, demands to obey the internal regulations of the parliament, and warning to suspend the session of the parliament.

FINAL THESIS - Alqatawna.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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