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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter’s analysis of a New York Times op-ed article reveals how moral reasoning was undertaken in relation to three identities: the identity of Trump as an incumbent of the role of President, the identity of the writer, and, third, the identity of the collective group of Senior Officials. The moral accountability of Trump was articulated through a set of category predicates normatively associated with Presidents and category predicates normatively associated with Republicans. To have an identity is to be cast into a ‘typification’ or social type with an associated set of expectations about one’s role, relationships, and responsibilities within a culture or social structure. The chapter argues that the ethnomethodological approach underpinning membership categorization analysis (MCA) asks ‘How is identity done, managed, achieved and negotiated in situ?’ Indeed, MCA asks how people draw on and use social identities, in talk or text, in getting their everyday business done. This way of approaching the study of identity is different to other approaches that start with theories of self, or discourse, or power. To conclude, MCA enables us to analyse how, when a social category is used, the person being described is also being judged according to the set of normative expectations associated with that category.

Keywords: membership categorization analysis, ethnomethodology, conversation analysis, discourse analysis, Donald Trump, leadership discourse

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