Category Relations, Omnirelevance, and Children's Disputes

Stephen Hester, Sally Hester

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    149 Downloads (Pure)


    Purpose – This chapter explicates the categorical resources and practices used in some disputes involving two children. Methodology – The data on which the study is based consists of a transcript of an audio recording of the naturally occurring talk-interaction during a family meal. This data is analyzed using the approach of membership categorization analysis (MCA). Findings – We show that it is neither the category collection ‘‘children’’ nor the category collection ‘‘siblings’’ that is relevant for the organization of these disputes but rather a number of asymmetrical standardized relational pairs, such as ‘‘rule-enforcer’’ and ‘‘offender’’ or ‘‘offender’’ and ‘‘victim.’’ It is these pairs of categories that are demonstrably relevant for the members, providing for and making intelligible their disputes. We then consider the question of the demonstrably relevant ‘‘wider context’’ of the disputes to which the disputants are actually oriented. This wider context is an omnirelevant oppositional social relationship between the children. We demonstrate that the disputes reflexively constitute the character of their oppositional relationship and show how these are instantiations of an omnirelevant category collection, namely, ‘‘parties to an oppositional relationship.’’
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDisputes in Everyday Life: Social and Moral Orders of Children and Young People
    Place of PublicationBingley, UK
    Number of pages413
    ISBN (Print)9781780528762
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Publication series

    NameSociological Studies of Childhood and Youth


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