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Supporting Competing Narratives

Supporting Competing Narratives

A Membership Categorization Analysis of Identity Work in Police-Detainee Talk

(p.156) Chapter Eight Supporting Competing Narratives
The Discourse of Police Interviews
David YoongAyeshah Syed
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines identity-related categories that emerge in a post-sting operation interview between an undercover officer (and his colleague) and a high-profile detainee, who had allegedly solicited sexual activity in a public bathroom. Using the Membership Categorization Analysis approach, we show how officer and detainee use identity categories and predicates to perform actions, including providing accounts, making accusations and denials, and eliciting a confession. Drawing on morally-implicative, physical and institutional categorical resources, the speakers support their own version of events and reject the conflicting version preferred by the other.

Keywords:   Membership Categorization Analysis, identity, morally-implicative categories, undercover sting, police interview

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