Interactional Entanglements: A Frame Analysis of Negotiated Identities in Ethnographic Research on the Language Classroom
Ouellette, Mark A.
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This study examines interactional entanglements that occurred during ethnographer-participant interactions in a language classroom. It draws upon Goffman's notion of framing to analyze how research participants use deixis to position the ethnographer vis-à-vis themselves within classroom speech events. The analysis shows that the teacher and students negotiated identities by appealing to the researcher's allegiances within an underlying judicial trial frame. As a marginal native, the ethnographer is particularly susceptible to others' social positioning, which raises questions concerning the very personal involvement of the ethnographer conducting research in an educational setting. This article underscores the argument that impression management is not an obstacle to overcome in managing the Observer's Paradox, but an interactional process that has to be actively managed throughout the ethnographic enterprise.