8.2.6 Reconstituting The On-Stage Audience

What has become evident in this point-by-point discussion is that the relationships among the audiences are fluid and changing. This means as the talk flows along the audiences are to a greater or lesser degree constituted anew. Everyone in the studio is a member of one audience or another. The panellists are each members of an audience as they sit and listen to one of the others speak. This is true of all interlocutors involved in talk, but this is not what is meant here by reconstitution. This term is used here to refer to how, for instance, RB is initially constituted as a feminist (10-17) but then after 53 is cast out as such (59, 61, 62, 68, 69), that is, he is reconstituted as a sexist in the eyes of most of the other discussants. Similarly, BM is reconstituted from someone who is, in his own words, not enlightened about women’s rights (12, 14), to someone who challenges RB’s 53 (59), takes him to task for it (62, 64) and, thus, is reinvented, at least in this one respect, as a supporter of women’s rights.

Also worthy of comment is the way that up until 53 there is a good deal of collaborative work carried out by all the panellists to create an informal humorous atmosphere and sense of common ground which is then transformed into a more competitive situation after 53, with RB on one side and BM, JK, and EM on the other. That is, there is a reconstitution of the panel from co-operative to confrontational. This is a key event within this extract and one which will now be analysed in greater detail.


8 Humour in Context: The Thatcher Joke>

8.2 The Discussants>

8.2.1 Different Competence In A Domain Of Discourse>

8.2.2 Assessing Competence In The Details Of Talk>

8.2.3 Non-engrossed Recipients>

8.2.4 Heterogeneity Of The On-Stage Audience>

8.2.5 Audience Interpretation Of The Story>

8.2.6 Reconstituting The On-Stage Audience