The Terms of Agreement by John Heritage and Geoffrey Raymond (2005)


Social Psychology
Quarterly


http://spq.sagepub.com/
The Terms of Agreement: Indexing Epistemic Authority and Subordination in Talk-in-Interaction
John Heritage and Geoffrey Raymond
Social Psychology Quarterly 2005 68: 15 DOI: 10.1177/019027250506800103
The online version of this article can be found at:
http://spq.sagepub.com/content/68/1/15
Published by:
http://www.sagepublications.com
On behalf of:
American Sociological Association
Additional services and information for Social Psychology Quarterly can be found at: Email Alerts: http://spq.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts
Subscriptions: http://spq.sagepub.com/subscriptions
Reprints: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav
Permissions: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav
>> Version of Record - Mar 1, 2005 What is This?
page1image9056
page1image9336
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
Social Psychology Quarterly
2005, Vol. 68, No. 1, 15–38
The Terms of Agreement: Indexing Epistemic Authority and Subordination in Talk-in-Interaction*
JOHN HERITAGE
University of California, Los Angeles
GEOFFREY RAYMOND
University of California, Santa Barbara
Within the general framework of agreement on a state of affairs, the matter of the terms of agreement can remain: determining whose view is the more significant or more authoritative with respect to the matter at hand. In this paper we focus on this issue as it is played out in assessment sequences. We examine four practices through which a sec- ond speaker can index the independence of an agreeing assessment from that of a first speaker, and in this way can qualify the agreement. We argue that these practices reduce the responsiveness of the second assessment to the first; in this way they resist any claim to epistemic authority that may be indexed by the first speaker in “going first” in assess- ing some state of affairs.
page2image10816
page2image11088
page2image11360
page2image11632
Social psychologists have long noted that social actions involve persons in commit- ments that others should recognize and vali- date. Perhaps the preeminent theorist of this perspective was Erving Goffman, who observed in “On Face-Work,”
[W]hen a person volunteers a statement or message, however trivial or commonplace, he commits himself and those he addresses, and in a sense places everyone present in jeop- ardy. By saying something, the speaker opens himself up to the possibility that the intended recipients will affront him by not listening or will think him forward, foolish, or offensive in what he has said (1967:37).
And in Relations in Public,
[L]et a participant whom others would rather see silent make a statement, and he will have expressed the belief that he has a full right to talk and is worth listening to, thereby obliging his listeners to give a sign, however begrudg- ing and however mean, that he is qualified to speak (1971:95).
Goffman conceptualized these obliga- tions in the concept of “face,” which he con- ceived as central to the organization of social
* We thank Emanuel Schegloff and the Social Psychology Quarterly reviewers for comments on ear- lier drafts. This paper was developed jointly from orig- inal materials contributed independently by each author.
interaction. This work was extended by Brown and Levinson (1987); drawing on Durkheim’s (1915) distinction between nega- tive and positive rites, they distinguished between negative face (the desire to be unim- peded) and positive face (the desire for approval, appreciation, or ratification).1 Brown and Levinson operationalized face- work into a set of specifically linguistic strate- gies that embody connections between language use, social distance, power, and related variables. In this way, connections are made between face processes embodied in interaction and facets of social and cultural identity; both Goffman’s theory and Brown and Levinson’s extension are at pains to dis- tinguish these notions. Identity is specific and local to persons, groups, and cultures, where- as the desire to be unimpeded and to be regarded positively—the two central compo- nents of face—embody putatively universal elements of human conduct and are con- ceived as basic to its organization.
Goffman’s theoretical conception of face as situated within “the flow of events in the encounter” (1967:7) invited an empirical focus on sequences of talk-in-interaction; these, as Schegloff (1992) observes, are a pri- mordial site of human sociality. One domain
1 These notions, of course, have a long lineage in Western political and social thought; see Berlin (2002:166–217).
15
page2image36488
page2image36760
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
16 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY QUARTERLY
of such research, generally recognized as con- verging with Goffman’s concerns, is the man- agement of conversational actions, such as agreement and disagreement, that are clearly consequential for social solidarity. Conversation analysts have used the term preference organization to refer to the set of practices through which persons manage courses of action that either promote or undermine social solidarity (Holtgraves 1992; Lerner 1996; Pomerantz 1978; 1984; Sacks 1987; Schegloff 1988, forthcoming; Schegloff, Jefferson, and Sacks 1977). The most promi- nent organizational consequence of these practices is to maximize the likelihood of affil- iative, socially solidary actions, and to mini- mize the consequences of disaffiliative, socially divisive ones (Heritage 1984a:265–80).
In addition to the organization of prefer- ence, however, participants’ concerns with face can be found in the management of rights and responsibilities related to knowledge and information. For example, conversationalists treat one another as possessing privileged access to their own experiences and as having specific rights to narrate them (Pomerantz 1980; Sacks 1984); journalists distinguish between firsthand and derivative access to breaking news as relevant for the rights to describe it (Raymond 2000; Roth 2002); callers to 911 emergency services report matters in quite distinctive terms if they are bystanders to an incident rather than victims (Whalen and Zimmerman 1990); and patients offer medical diagnoses to physicians only under relatively particular circumstances (Gill 1998; Gill and Maynard forthcoming; Heritage and Robinson forthcoming). In each of these cases, the distribution of rights and responsibilities regarding what participants can accountably know, how they know it, whether they have rights to describe it, and in what terms is directly implicated in organized practices of speaking.2
In this paper we consider sequences in which participants offer evaluative assess- ments of states of affairs. We focus on how rel- ative rights to perform these evaluations are indexed within the talk. Although these sequences are occupied mainly with agree-
2 Also see Drew (1991); Drew and Heritage (1992).
ment and are fundamentally affiliative, we show that they can involve complex face con- siderations relating to the management of knowledge and information. We distinguish between assessments that initiate an assess- ment sequence as “first position assessments,” and assessments that are designed to be responsive to these as “second position assess- ments.”3
In sequences of interaction, first position assessments establish a representational field in which second assessments will be found to position themselves in some fashion: through agreement, disagreement, or adjustment (Heritage 2002a; Pomerantz 1984). In this sense, first position assessments offer a terrain within which agreement will be sought. We propose that these assessments also carry an implied claim that the speaker has primary rights to evaluate the matter assessed. For example, as we demonstrate, persons offering first assessments may work to defeat any implication that they are claiming primary rights to evaluate the matter at hand. Conversely, persons who find themselves pro- ducing a responsive assessment may wish to defeat the implication that their rights in the matter are secondary to those of a first speak- er. Because assessments are always produced in real time and are unavoidably produced as first and second positioned actions, they bring unavoidable relevance to issues concerning relative epistemic rights to evaluate states of affairs.
Our primary objective is to explicate the management of these rights, and the means by which this management is achieved. To do so, we focus on the intersection between differen- tial rights to make assessments, turn design, and sequential positioning. As we demon- strate here, persons in the midst of jointly eval-
3 First position assessments commonly emerge in environments that have been made “ripe” for them in various ways. For example, another speaker has made observations which clearly imply a particular evalua- tive stance towards the entity under discussion and which may trigger the production of an assessment. First positioned assessments are distinctive in that they take an explicit, on-record evaluative stance that is available to be agreed with or disagreed with in next turn. First positioned assessments do not “agree” or “disagree” with the previous comments that lead up to them, though they may be aligned or disaligned with the tenor of those comments.
page3image41824
page3image42096
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
EPISTEMIC AUTHORITY AND SUBORDINATION 17
uating states of affairs are concerned not only with agreement, but also with who is agreeing with whom (Schegloff 1996a:177)—or, as we shall have it, “the terms of agreement.”
ASSESSMENTS AND THEIR EPISTEMICS
The assessment of states of affairs gener-
(1) [NB:IV:10:2]
3 Emm:
ally requires some form of access to the state of affairs being assessed (Pomerantz 1984). In (1), for example, a second speaker struggles to find a basis for affiliating with a first assessment whose very construction (“you sh’d see that house E(h)mma”) denies the access necessary for building agreement:
[h h]Jeeziz Chris’ you sh’d see that house E(h)mma yih’av 2 ↓no idea.h[hmhh
page4image9592
page4image9864
page4image10136
page4image10408
1 Lot:
page4image11168
page4image11440
page4image11712
page4image11984
page4image12256
page4image12528
page4image12800
page4image13072
[I bet it’s a drea:m.
page4image13952
page4image14224
page4image14496
Emma’s response in line 3 (“I bet it’s a drea:m.”) projects an agreement with Lottie’s assessment of the house, while simultaneously thematizing her lack of first- hand experience. Lacking that experience, she manages raw affiliation with Lottie’s evaluation by an utterance that expresses, at best, a simulacrum of agreement.
(2) [JS:II:28]
While (1) illustrates the limits of verbal- ized agreement without access, most assess- ment sequences incorporate the presumption of concurrent or serial joint access to a referent state of affairs. Such access can be first-order and immediate, as in (2):
page4image20696
page4image20968
page4image21240
page4image21512
  1.     1      J:  -> T’s tsuh beautiful day out isn’t it?
    
  2.     2      L:  -> Yeh it’s jus’ gorgeous...
    
Alternatively, it can be second-order and couple who have seen the film Midnight mediated, as in (3). Here Jon and Lyn are a Cowboy, while Eve has not:
page4image24528
page4image24800
(3) [JS:II:61]
1 Jon:
2 Eve:
  1. 3  Lyn:
  2. 4  Eve:
5
We saw Midnight Cowboy yesterday- or [suh- Friday.
                                     [Oh?
Didju s- you saw that, [it’s really good.
                       [No I haven’t seen it
page4image28616
page4image28888
page4image29160
          -> Jo saw it ‘n she said she f- depressed her
6   Eve:  -> ter[ribly
  1. 7    Jon:  ->    [Oh it’s [terribly depressing.
    
  2. 8    Lyn:  ->             [Oh it’s depressing.
    
page4image31688
As these two examples indicate, access to assessable objects is ranked. First-order access entails rights to assess, which can outweigh the rights of second-order access. In (2) the initial assessment of the weather is marked by its pre- sent-tense declarative form as drawn from direct and current experience; in this context of face-to-face interaction, such experience is equally available to the recipient. The co-inter- actant responds with an agreement (“Yeh”) and an upgraded second assessment with com- parable features. In (3), by contrast, Eve’s
assessment of Midnight Cowboy at lines 5–6 is marked as based in the account of a third party. Jon and Lyn’s responsive assessments, howev- er, renew the claim to direct, first-order access to the movie (first asserted in line 1), and are marked by the “oh”-prefaces as asserting stronger rights to assess it (Heritage 2002a).
First and Second Position Assessments and Rights to Assess
Participants orient to first and second
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
18 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY QUARTERLY
position as involved in claims about rights to make assessments. This is most apparent in cases where there is some incompatibility between the epistemic rights that a speaker
wishes to claim and the position in which the assessment is offered. In (4), for example, Norma offers a downgraded first assessment of a third party:
page5image5992
(4) [SBL 2-1-8:5]
  1. 1  Bea:
  2. 2  Nor:
  3. 3  Bea:
4
5 Nor:

hh hhh We:ll,h I wz gla:d she c’d come too las’ni:ght= -> =Sh[e seems such a n]ice little [lady]
      [(since you keh) ]           [dAwf’l]ly nice l*i’l
   p*ers’n.  t hhhh hhh We:ll, I[:  j’s]
page5image10176
page5image10448
page5image10720
page5image10992
page5image11264
page5image11536
page5image11808
page5image12080
page5image12352
page5image12624
page5image12896
page5image13168
page5image13440
page5image13712
page5image13984
page5image14256
page5image14528
page5image14800
page5image15072
page5image15344
page5image15616
Just before this sequence, it emerged that Norma had met the person assessed in line 2—a longtime acquaintance of Bea—for the first time (see Example (14) below). The asymmetry in their experience is indexed in Norma’s evidentially downgraded assess- ment “She seems such a nice little lady” and Bea’s declaratively asserted agreement “dAwf’lly nice l*i’l p*ers’n.” By downgrading her claimed access with the evidential verb “seems” (Chafe and Nichols 1986),4 Norma
     [I thin]k evryone enjoyed jus...
manages her initial assessment so as to defeat any epistemic priority that might have been inferred sheerly from its first positioning.
The reverse contingency is evident in (5) below. Here Abe and Ben are in the midst of a discussion prompted by Abe’s announce- ment that he has acquired a Burmese cat. As emerged earlier in the conversation, Ben’s knowledge of Burmese cats is second-order: it is derived from a neighbor’s ownership of the breed:
page5image25056
page5image25328
page5image25600
page5image25872
page5image26144
page5image26416
page5image26688
(5) [TCIIA:1]
1 Abe:
It’s the- only cat I ever saw that chased do:gs.
(0.2)
[ehh hhu[hh huhh   ]
[(Hadda)[go out’n r]escue a dog thet wz eight times bigger’n
he wz th’s [morning.
page5image29632
page5image29904
2
  1. 3  Ben:
  2. 4  Abe:
5
6   Ben:
7   Abe:     e-huh-huh-[heh-[heh-he:h,]
page5image31880
page5image32152
page5image32424
[e- .hhhhhh Hurra::y fer the Burme:se.
page5image33344
page5image33616
page5image33888
page5image34160
page5image34432
page5image34704
8   Ben:
9
10  Abe:
11
[F:::[ight’n fo]o:ls.
page5image36328
(0.2)
Pard’n,
(0.3)
page5image37336
12  Ben:  -> .hhh They’re fight’n fools those Burmese,
13  Abe:  -> Oh I know ‘e is.
page5image38800
page5image39072
page5image39344
The target sequence of assessments (lines 12–13) emerges from Ben’s effort (lines 6 and 8) to affiliate with Abe’s illustra- tion of his cat’s fighting prowess. His clearly responsive “Hurra::y fer the Burme:se.” is appreciated with laughter, while his append- ed characterization of Burmese cats as
4 Evidentially qualified claims (using expressions such as “It looks, feels, appears X”) are downgraded relative to unmarked declarative claims because they are compatible with the asserted state of affairs not being the case. Thus it is possible to offer the remark “She seems (looks, sounds) X, but she isn’t” without self-contradiction.
“F:::ight’n foo:ls.” is treated as problematic with ”Pard’n,”.5 As a result, Ben’s original phrasal assessment, which initially was pro- duced in second position to Abe’s first posi- tioned assessment (and therefore fitted to Ben’s rights to assess Burmese cats), comes to be produced as a fully sentential declara- tive assessment “.hhh They’re fight’n fools those Burmese,” (line 12). In this context, Abe comes to treat Ben as asserting rights to assess Burmese cats that are equivalent to his
5 For an account of this kind of “open class” repair initiation, see Drew (1997).
page5image50800
page5image51072
page5image51344
page5image51616
page5image51888
page5image52160
page5image52432
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
EPISTEMIC AUTHORITY AND SUBORDINATION 19
own, and it is this putative claim of equiva- lence that Abe resists. Three features of Abe’s turn embody this resistance. First, he shifts the terms of assessment from Ben’s assessment of the breed in general (“those Burmese”), to the cat which he owns and has primary rights to assess. Second, the “oh”- prefaced design of this assessment indexes his claim to primary rights in this matter (Heritage 2002a). Finally his use of, and stress on, the word know underscores his claims in this regard.
As the talk in these sequences demon- strates, participants work to manage the rela- tionship between rights to assess and sequential position by manipulating the design of the turns out of which their assess- ments are built. In the following sections we examine speakers’ resources for managing this intersection of rights to assess and sequential position.
(6) [VIYMC 1:4]
Assessments in First Position: Resources for Indexing Epistemic Rights
Speakers can design first positioned assessments to create three basic forms that modulate the extent of their claimed epis- temic rights. Using these resources, producers of first positioned assessments may manage face claims by asserting the socioepistemic rights associated with particular social identi- ties, or by deferring to the rights associated with the identities of others.
Unmarked first assessments. In unmarked assessments, speakers deploy simple declara- tive evaluations that claim unmediated access to the assessable. These utterances contain no language that either strengthens or weakens the declarative claim that is made. For exam- ple, in excerpts (6) and (7), speakers assess their immediate experience.
page6image17704
page6image17976
  1.     1      J:     Let’s feel the water. Oh, it...
    
  2.     2      R:  -> It’s wonderful. It’s just right. It’s like bathtub water.
    
(7) [NB VII:2]
    1   Emm:     =We’re painting like ma:d in th’kitchen=
    2         -> =a:nd oh evrything’s workin out so pretty here
In (8) the first speaker deploys similar were shared with the coparticipant: resources to evaluate past experiences which
(8) [SBL 2-2-3:5]
  1.     1    Chl:  -> We:ll it was [fu:n Clai[re, ((smile voice))
    
  2.     2    Cla:                  [ hhh     [Yea::[:h,]
    
page6image23456
page6image23728
page6image24000
page6image24272
page6image24544
page6image24816
page6image25088
page6image25360
page6image25632
page6image25904
page6image26176
3 Chl:
A similar pattern is evident in (9), where the assessment concerns a joint acquaintance:
(9) [NB:IV.7:-44]
    1     A:  -> Adeline’s such a swell [gal
[°M]m°
page6image29000
page6image29272
page6image29544
2 P:
Across these sequences, the first speak- ers’ declarative utterances (arrowed) flatly assert evaluations of states of affairs, and clearly do so on the basis of direct access to them.
Downgraded first assessments.
Contrasting with these are assessments designed to exhibit downgraded epistemic access to a state of affairs. Two main
[Oh God, whadda gal. You know it!
resources can be used to accomplish this. First are evidentials (also see (4) above), through which speakers mark mediated access to a referent, and thus downgrade the claims made by the accompanying assess- ment. In (10), for example, Hyla has been describing a play that she and Nancy have tickets to see:
page6image37192
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
20 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY QUARTERLY
(10) [HG II:6]
    1   Nan: -> Kinyih tell me what it’s abou:t?=
    2
page7image3360
page7image3632
3
4
5   Hyl:
6
7
8   Nan:
9   Hyl:
10
11  Nan: ->
12  Hyl:
13
14
.....[27 lines of description deleted]
=.hh En she’s fixed up, (0.4) en she meets this gu:y, .hh a:n’
yihknow en he’s (.) rilly gorgeous’n eez rilly nice en
evrythi[:ng  bud li]ke=
       [Uh  h u :h,]
=.hh He’s ah .hh Hollywood (0.3) s:sta:r’s son yihknow who wz
a mista:[ke en they [put im in’n [Academy,]
[Oo this [sounds[sogoo::]_::[d?
[school, .hh buh

wai:t.=’n then, .hhm (0.2) .tch en the:(w)- the mother’s .hh
sister is a real bigot.
page7image10976
page7image11248
page7image11520
page7image11792
page7image12064
page7image12336
page7image12608
page7image12880
page7image13152
page7image13424
page7image13696
page7image13968
page7image14240
It is clear from line 1 that Hyla is the bet- ter informed about the play. This asymmetry is preserved in Nancy’s assessment (“Oo this sounds so goo::::d?”) at line 11; the evidential formulation of this underscores that the basis for her evaluation is premised on the infor- mation provided in Hyla’s description.
A second means to downgrade an assess- ment involves the use of tag questions. By introducing an invitation to agree with the
(11) [Rah 14: 2]
assessment as a feature of its surface syntax, such questions index a putatively secondary access to a referent relative to the copartici- pant.6 In (11), for example, the assessment refers to Vera’s grandchildren, whose recent visit included a stopover at Jenny’s house. Jenny’s declaratively formulated assessment is modulated with a tag question that defers to Vera’s rights to assess her own family members:
page7image23112
page7image23384
page7image23656
1   Jen:     Mm [I: bet they proud o:f the fam’ly.=
2   Ver:        [Ye:s.
3   Jen:  -> =They’re [a luvly family now ar’n’t [they.
page7image25464
page7image25736
page7image26008
page7image26280
page7image26552
4   Ver:
5   Jen:
6   Ver:
7   Jen:
[°Mm:.°
[They are: ye[s.
             [eeYe[s::,
page7image28792
page7image29064
page7image29336
                                                      [Yes,
Mm: All they need now is a little girl tih complete i:t.
page7image30640
page7image30912
page7image31184
page7image31456
The tag question is positioned so as to invite response as the first matter to be addressed by the coparticipant. In this way, Jenny formulates her turn as (in the first instance) a question to be answered rather than as an assertion to be agreed with; thus she cedes epistemic authority in the matter to her coparticipant. The introduction of the invitation to agreement in the surface design
6 A number of authors, including Bernstein (1971), Kollock, Blumstein and Schwartz (1985), Lakoff (1975), and O’Barr and Atkins (1980), have linked the use of tag questions to class, gender, and power. In this
of the utterance indexes Jenny’s position that Vera has primary rights to assess her own grandchildren.
In a similar case, Norman and Ilene are dog breeders discussing the breeding poten- tial of one of Norman’s younger dogs. At line 9, Ilene invokes a comparison with Trixie, another of Norman’s dogs.
section we connect their use not to general social identities but to the acknowledgment of particular, situated rights to evaluate specific states of affairs. Such rights may or may not map onto more general differences in social power.
page7image42880
page7image43152
page7image43424
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
EPISTEMIC AUTHORITY AND SUBORDINATION 21
(12) [Heritage 1:11:4]
    1   Ile:     No well she’s still a bit young though isn’t [she<ah me]an:=
page8image3552
page8image3824
page8image4096
2   Nor:
3   Ile:     =uh[:
[S h e : :]
  1. 4  Nor:
  2. 5  Ile:
6 Nor: 7 Ile:
  1. 8  Nor:
  2. 9  Ile: ->
10  Nor:  ->
11  Ile:
   [She wz a year: la:st wee:k.
Ah yes. 0h well any time no:w [then.]
page8image8984
page8image9256
page8image9528
page8image9800
page8image10072
page8image10344
page8image10616
=But she[:’s (
)]
[Uh:::]:[m
        [Ye:s.=
page8image12360
page8image12632
page8image12904
page8image13176
[Cuz Trixie started] so early [didn’t sh[e,
                              [°O h : : [ye:s.°=
page8image14440
page8image14712
page8image14984
page8image15256
page8image15528
=°Ye:h°=
Ilene’s assessment asserts that the dog started breeding “early” and the following tag acknowledges Norman’s primary rights to assess his own dog.7
Upgraded first assessments. Just as assess-
ments can be epistemically downgraded rela- tive to a recipient’s attributedly superior rights, so can they be upgraded. The primary resource for this task is the negative interrog- ative, as in (13):
page8image20312
(13) [SBL:2-1-8:5]
1 Bea:
2
  1. 3  Nor:
  2. 4  Bea:
  3. 5  Nor:
  4. 6  Bea: ->
Wz las’night th’firs’time you met Missiz Kelly?
(1.0)
Me:t who:m?
Missiz Kelly?
^Ye:s.  hh[Yih kno]:w what<]
          [ Isn’t ]she a cu]te little thi:ng?
page8image24712
page8image24984
page8image25256
page8image25528
page8image25800
page8image26072
page8image26344
page8image26616
page8image26888
page8image27160
page8image27432
page8image27704
page8image27976
page8image28248
page8image28520
page8image28792
page8image29064
page8image29336
page8image29608
page8image29880
page8image30152
Here it is established at the beginning of the sequence that Bea has a more extended acquaintance with “Missiz Kelly” than does Norma (lines 1–5). Bea asserts her corollary epistemic rights in her assessment at line 6. The form of her assessment embodies this stance
7 In (11) and (12), the first speaker uses epistemic downgrading to address the coparticipant’s clear pri- mary rights to assess the referent. In a sub-set of cases, however, similar downgrading does not appear
[JS:II:41)
through the following features working in con- cert:
First, by virtue of its interrogative syntax, this format mandates a second assessment through the conditional relevance of a ques- tion-answer pair more strongly than would a simple declarative. Moreover, by projecting a
to address such a contingency. These cases involve copresent parties assessing a commonly available state of affairs:
In these three cases, it is evident that neither party
page8image39704
page8image39976
page8image40248
    J:  -> T’s- tsuh beautiful day out isn’t it?
L:      Yeh it’s jus’ gorgeous ...
[VIYMC:1:2] ((J and R are in a rowboat on a lake))
    J:  -> It’s really a clear lake, isn’t it?
R:      It’s wonderful.
[Ravioli Dinner:6 (Mark and Kim are eating dinner involving many samples of free food]
    Mar:   Not bad for free huh?
           (0.3)
Kim: Hm mm.
page8image44800
page8image45072
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
22 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY QUARTERLY
yes/no (or type-conforming) response, it asserts command of the terms to be used by the recipi- ent in the assessment of the referent (Raymond 2003). Finally, the negative interrogative strong- ly invites agreement (Heritage 2002b). It there- by invokes an established or settled position and, through that, a more extensive acquain- tance with the referent and/or stronger rights to assess it.
All three of these features cooperate to establish Bea’s evaluative position as “settled” or “decided” and, as part of that position, to
reinforce her primary rights to assess the acquaintance in question.
In a second case, (14) below, Emma is call- ing to thank Margie for a recent lunch party. She extends a compliment about the occasion into a sustained and favorable evaluation of the others present. This culminates, like (13), in a positive assessment managed through a nega- tive interrogative. Emma’s assessment “e-that Pa:t isn’she a do::ll?” emerges as an Nth com- pliment to her co-interactant:
page9image11648
page9image11920
page9image12192
page9image12464
(14) [NB VII:1-2]
1 Emm:
2
3 Mar:

  1. 4  Mar:
  2. 5  Emm:
  3. 6  Mar:
  4. 7  Emm: ->
  5. 8  Mar:
=Oh honey that was a lovely luncheon I shoulda ca:lled you
s:soo[:ner but I:]l:[lo:ved it.Ih wz just deli:ghtfu[: l.]=
     [((f)) Oh:::]  [°(      )                      [Well]=
=I wz gla[d    y o u] (came).]
         [’nd yer f:] friends] ‘r so da:rli:ng,=
= Oh:::[: it wz:]
       [e-that P]a:t isn’she a do:[:ll?]
page9image18560
page9image18832
page9image19104
page9image19376
page9image19648
page9image19920
page9image20192
page9image20464
page9image20736
page9image21008
page9image21280
page9image21552
page9image21824
page9image22096
page9image22368
page9image22640
page9image22912
page9image23184
Here, perhaps in an effort to emphasize the compliment, Emma deploys a format that asserts her own epistemic primacy in relation to “Pat,” the assessed party, although she acknowledges her recipient’s closer relation- ship with her. In contrast to the previous case, then, we find a lack of fit between this claim and the actual state of the relations between the parties. This turns out to be a source of subsequent difficulty (see the discussion of (27) below).
In sum, although first assessments index a tacit claim to epistemic primacy, that claim can be modified: practices exist for asserting both upgraded and downgraded epistemic access and/or rights to assess a referent. It is clear that these practices embody selectional choices, given that an unmarked method of
can claim epistemic primacy concerning the referent states of affairs. Given the concurrent, direct, and therefore equal access enjoyed by both participants, the first speaker’s use of a tag question can be under- stood to downgrade the putatively primary rights to assess the referent that might attach to having gone first. This downgrading is accomplished by inviting agreement in the surface design of the turn through the [declarative + tag question] format.
[iYe]h
assessment (i.e., the use of an unqualified declarative statement), which embodies an unmarked claim of primacy, is also an avail- able option.
Managing Epistemic Rights in Second Position Assessments
Just as first position assessments can incorporate features that index relative access to a referent, so too do second position assessments. The task of indexing relative access is complicated for second speakers by the fact that their access must be managed in relation to the claims embodied in first posi- tion assessments, and indeed to the specific practices deployed by first speakers to index those claims.
Second position assessments can take a simple declarative form, as in (15) and (16). Here the participants are jointly assessing shared social occasions. In each case these assessments conclude an extended passage of conversation about the events that are refer- enced, during which joint access to the events has been thoroughly established as a feature of the talk.
page9image44232
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
(15) [SBL 2-2-3:5]
1 Chl:
EPISTEMIC AUTHORITY AND SUBORDINATION 23
   We:ll it was [fu:n Clai[re, ((smile voice))
                [ hhh     [Yea::[:h,]
[°M]m°
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
page10image3960
page10image4232
page10image4504
2   Cla:
3   Chl:
4   Chl:     [(an’)
5   Cla:  -> [I enjoyed evreh minute o[f it,
page10image6136
page10image6408
page10image6680
6 Chl:
(16) [SBL:2-1-8:5]
1 Nor:
    2
    3   Bea:  ->
    4
    5   Nor:
    6
[Yah.
I think evryone enjoyed jus’ sitting aroun’
ta::lk[ing.]
      [ h h] I do too::,
(0.3)
Yihknow e-I think it’s too bad we don’t do that once’n
awhile insteada playing bri:dge er ‘hh
page10image11576
page10image11848
page10image12120
page10image12392
page10image12664
page10image12936
page10image13208
page10image13480
page10image13752
page10image14024
page10image14296
page10image14568
page10image14840
page10image15112
page10image15384
As these examples suggest, given equal access to past events, a declarative assess- ment in first position invites a matching response claiming similar access.
Alternatively, second speakers can mod- ulate their response to upgrade their claimed epistemic access to, and/or rights to assess, a referent. Two main kinds of resources are deployed to this end. First, speakers can design the second assessment so as to convey that their position on the matter is already “settled”—that is, held independently of the view that the first speaker’s assessment con- veys. In this way they can undercut any rela- tive inferiority in epistemic rights that sheer “secondness” might otherwise convey; indeed, they can advance a claim to primary epistemic rights in the matter under evalua- tion. Second, speakers can use interrogative syntax in second position to undercut, and supplant, the “firstness” of a first assessment, and to seize the epistemic rights that accrue to that position. These resources are deployed, and their deployment is under- stood, in relation to the claims that are indexed in first position assessments.
Upgrading with resources that assert a position as “previously held.” We discuss two
(2) [JS:II:28]
resources with which speakers in second position can present an evaluation as previ- ously held or “settled.” Using these resources, producers of second positioned assessments may assert the socioepistemic rights associated with particular social identi- ties: they may “match” the claims of down- graded first position assessments or, alternatively, may compete with epistemic priorities that may be suggested by unmarked first position assessments.
Upgrading with confirmation + agree- ment token: The first resource to be discussed exploits features of tag questions in down- graded first position assessments. Because a tag question (like other yes/no-type ques- tions) makes a “yes” or a “no” relevant as the first component of a response (Raymond 2003), speakers can produce different actions by designing their responses to satisfy or defeat this expectation. For example, in the following excerpt (discussed above as excerpt (2)), the first speaker uses a tag ques- tion to downgrade a declaratively produced assessment of the weather, thereby indexing the similar rights available to a copresent participant.
page10image36640
page10image36912
  1. 1      J:  -> T’s tsuh beautiful day out isn’t it?
    
  2. 2      L:  -> Yeh it’s jus’ gorgeous...
    
In response, L agrees with J’s assessment while similarly declining to assert primary rights in the matter. By initiating her turn
with “Yeh”, L satisfies the constraints set by J’s tag question and thereby accepts the terms set by J’s first position assessment
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
(17) [Holt 1.1:8]
1 Mum:
Miriam’s going next week,
Ye:s: yes:.
(0.4)
She[’s been in hot water with’er Mum t’day,
[M-
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
24 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY QUARTERLY
(Raymond 2003). In this respect, L’s respon- sive assessment is wholly occupied with agreement.
Alternatively, speakers can upgrade their claimed access to a referent using a [confir- mation + agreement token] turn format. In the following excerpt, for example, Mum describes a child in “hot water” because of a
“craze” for wearing two earrings in a single ear (lines 4–9). While the turn-initial “oh” of Lesley’s response (line 10) indexes recogni- tion of the “craze” to which Mum’s answer to Lesley’s question refers (Heritage 1984b), its tag question downgrades her asserted rights to assess the fashion that has landed Miriam in “hot water”:
page11image11032
page11image11304
page11image11576
2   Les:
3
4   Mum:
5   Les:
6   Les:     Why::?
page11image13072
page11image13344
page11image13616
page11image13888
page11image14160
page11image14432
.hh We:ll. (0.2) Uh you know (.) there’s a cra:ze with the
girls now to have (.) a secon:d. (1.1) ring ih- a secon:d
uh earring in on[e ear.
7   Mum:
8
9
10  Les:
11  Mum:  -> It’s very cheap yes’n this is u- this is what Ann said. An’
  1. 12            Ann said (0.3) she- she’ll haf (.) tuh have another. (0.5)
    
  2. 13            .hh (.) hole in’er ear...((continues story))
    
page11image19376
page11image19648
page11image19920
page11image20192
page11image20464
page11image20736
page11image21008
page11image21280
page11image21552
page11image21824
[Oh: it’s very chea:p isn’it.
page11image22704
page11image22976
page11image23248
page11image23520
page11image23792
page11image24064
page11image24336
page11image24608
page11image24880
page11image25152
page11image25424
Mum’s response takes the form of a full repeat (“It’s very cheap”) followed by a type conforming token (“Yes”). This response complements Lesley’s stance by indexing her own primary rights as storyteller, which ini- tially were projected by Lesley’s epistemical- ly downgraded turn. Two features of Mum’s assessment work to accomplish this comple- mentarity.
First, Lesley’s epistemically downgrading tag is a “yes/no” question: like other ques- tions of this type, it invites a “type-conform- ing” “Yes” or “No” response as the first component of any response (Raymond 2003). In this context, Mum’s deferral of the “Yes” is constructed as a marked action. The placement of the agreement token (“Yes”) after the partial repeat separates the action of agreeing from the action of “confirming” in a way that the normal ordering of responses to the question (“Yes it is”) does not. Whereas “Yes it is” would be understood as wholly occupied with agreement, Mum’s actual response (“It’s very cheap yes”), with its ini- tial declaratively formed partial repeat, con- firms Lesley’s evaluation rather than simply agreeing with it. By “confirming the asser- tion” before “responding to the question,” Mum also treats agreement with Lesley’s
assessment as a matter of lower priority. Thus she goes out of her way to subordinate the action of agreeing with the assessment to the assertion of her epistemic rights relative to Lesley’s. Finally, Mum’s ordering of the [par- tial repeat] and [agreement token] conveys the position that Lesley’s evaluation address- es a matter on which Mum already holds a “settled” opinion which is quite independent of this occasion (Raymond 2003). In this instance, that she held this position previous- ly is also asserted overtly by reference to what “Ann” (Miriam’s mother) previously said to her (lines 11–13).
Second, if the first component of Mum’s turn is designed to assert the independence and priority of her position in relation to Lesley’s, the second component modulates any hint of impropriety that might be glossed from that treatment, legitimizing Lesley’s evaluation and bringing the two women’s positions into alignment. This is accom- plished by the production of a type-conform- ing token; this token, in satisfying the constraints set by Lesley’s tag question, ulti- mately accepts the terms set by Lesley’s first position assessment (Raymond 2003).
In this example, to assert priority the sec- ond speaker draws on the tag question in the
page11image48296
page11image48568
page11image48840
page11image49112
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
EPISTEMIC AUTHORITY AND SUBORDINATION 25
prior speaker’s turn. In this way she matches the prior speaker’s indication of downgraded access/rights to evaluate with her own upgraded claims in the matter. This comple- mentarity is present in a large majority of first positioned [assessment + tag question] formatted utterances in our data.8
In (18), the same speakers are discussing Lesley’s daughter’s dental problems. At line 3, the grandmother (Mum) asks if the prob- lem is related to “eye teeth,” using a format
(18) Holt X(C)-1-2-7 (p4, 14)
that prefers an affirmative response. Lesley’s response is complex: it refers to the child’s dentist as the authority for a negative response, while stating her intention to send the child to her own dentist for a second opinion (line 8). Mum’s renewal of her earli- er diagnostic suggestion (line 9), produced in this context of skepticism, reinvokes her ear- lier question-formed diagnosis while upgrad- ing its likelihood by using a [statement + tag question] format.
page12image11840
page12image12112
1 Les:
.hh An’ I’ll: get her fixed up with a de:ntist too:,
(0.7)
Oh w’t a ↓nuisance isn’t ↓it. Is it ↓ey:e tee:th? (0.4)
.hh
↑Well the den: u-her dentist says °no:t.° (0.2)
page12image15096
page12image15368
page12image15640
page12image15912
2
3 Mum:
4
5 Les:
6
7 Mum: [↑Hm:.

page12image17512
page12image17784
page12image18056
page12image18328
page12image18600
page12image18872
page12image19144
page12image19416
page12image19688
page12image19960
page12image20232
8   Les:
9   Mum:
10
11  Les:  ->
[.hh But I:’ll send ‘er to ↓my den:tist I thi[nk [Sounds
↓like it ↑d’z’n’t[↓it.
[.hhh It does rather yes:
page12image23040
page12image23312
page12image23584
page12image23856
page12image24128
page12image24400
page12image24672
Here Lesley is the one with more direct access to the daughter’s medical problems; as her mother, she has primary rights to evalu- ate them. The downgraded rights to assess indexed by Mum’s [statement + tag question] are matched by Lesley’s epistemically upgraded [partial repeat + agreement] response.
Upgrading via confirmation can be accomplished by means other than partial repeats. Excerpt (19) involves a further case, in which the neighbor (Jenny: also see Example (11)) assesses a member of Vera’s family (her son Bill) in first position. As in the prior sequences, Jenny’s subordinate rights are indexed in a [statement + tag ques- tion] formatted assessment:
page12image31464
(19) [Rah 14:6]
page12image32264
1
Ver:
=Jillian, she c’n be a little nasty little bi[tch.
                                             [Well you w’r
say:↑ing thez something in that_=It’s a sha:me i[sn’t i:t.] [Yeh a::n]d-
even Jean said she couldn’t do eh uh she said she’s alw’z
glad when they go:.
Yeh .h well of course you see Bill is so good wih th’m ez
well is[n’t h[e:.
       [.kl  [That’s ri:ght yes.
page12image37216
page12image37488
2
3
4   Ver:
5   Ver:
6
7   Jen:
8
9   Ver:  ->
Jen:
page12image39864
page12image40136
page12image40408
page12image40680
page12image40952
page12image41224
page12image41496
page12image41768
page12image42040
page12image42312
page12image42584
page12image42856
page12image43128
page12image43400
page12image43672
page12image43944
page12image44216
8 The data used in this paper comprise several hun- dred items of ordinary conversation drawn from Britain and the United States. Most, but not all, of our cases involving symmetry between [assessment + tag question] and [partial repeat + agreement] forms are drawn from British data. What Schegloff (personal
communication) calls “the British tag” as a means to downgrade epistemic claims may be much more prominent among speakers of British English than among their U.S. counterparts. For another case of British/U.S. divergence in basic interactional usage, see Jefferson (2002).
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
26 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY QUARTERLY
Similar to the repeats deployed in the prior excerpts, Vera’s “That’s right” response treats “confirmation” as the primary business of the response, before going on to agree- ment with “Yes.” In addition, the formulation “That’s right” more overtly takes an epistem- ically authoritative stance in relation to Jenny than do the earlier partial repeats.
In these examples, speakers achieve epis- temic alignment by downgrading rights to assess in first position assessments and upgrading them in second position. The [con- firmation + agreement] format is most com- monly used in response to interrogatively formed assessments, particularly those deploying tag questions. This distribution can be understood as a product of the specific set of resources that tag questions make avail- able and relevant. An assessment with a tag question appended offers the recipient an opportunity to disentangle confirmation and agreement as distinct activities in a respond- ing turn. Speakers can simply agree (e.g., “Yes” or “Yes, they are”). Alternatively, by
(20) [Heritage 1:11:4]
inverting the order of a confirmation and an agreement token, speakers can treat answer- ing and agreement as separable activities and can exploit their separation to assert their epistemic supremacy.
Upgrading with “oh”-prefaced second assessments: A second practice for epistemi- cally upgrading second assessments is “oh”- prefacing. In these cases, the change-of-state sense of “oh” (Heritage 1984b, 1998) is used to index epistemic independence and priori- ty, relative to a first assessment (Heritage 2002a). In contrast to the practice of confirm- ing in turn-initial position described above, which normally exploits an earlier tag ques- tion, “oh”-prefaced second assessments are much less constrained in the contexts of their occurrence.
In (20), as noted earlier, Norman is the owner of the dog “Trixie,” whom Ilene evalu- ates (line 9) as having “started so early.” This assessment is followed by a tag question which downgrades her epistemic access to this information relative to Norman’s
page13image20768
page13image21040
page13image21312
1   Ile:     No well she’s still a bit young though isn’t [she<ah me]an:=
page13image22512
page13image22784
2   Nor:
3   Ile:     =uh[:
[S h e : :]
  1. 4  Nor:
  2. 5  Ile:
6 Nor: 7 Ile:
  1. 8  Nor:
  2. 9  Ile: ->
10  Nor:  ->
11  Ile:
   [She wz a year: la:st wee:k.
Ah yes. 0h well any time no:w [then.]
                              [Uh:::]:[m
                                      [Ye:s.=
page13image28072
page13image28344
page13image28616
page13image28888
page13image29160
page13image29432
page13image29704
page13image29976
page13image30248
=But she[:’s (
        [Cuz Trixie started] so early [didn’t sh[e,
)]
occasioned a review, recollection, and renew- al of the speaker’s previous experience and judgment, and that this forms the basis for the second assessment (Heritage 2002a). As with [confirmation + agreement], “oh”-pref- acing functions to convey superior knowl- edge of, and/or rights to assess, the matter under discussion.
The following case (21) vividly illus- trates this usage. Gay is giving Jeremy a German telephone number. After she has recited 11 digits, thus exceeding the norm (during the 1980s) for a (British) intra- country call, Jeremy comments (line 13) on the length of the number, prefacing his
page13image37504
page13image37776
page13image38048
page13image38320
[°O h : : [ye:s.°=
page13image39200
page13image39472
=°Ye:h°=
page13image40192
Simultaneous with the tag question, Norman’s “Oh:: ye:s.” asserts epistemic prior- ity on the issue. “Oh”-prefacing here conveys a “change of state of orientation” in response to Ilene’s assessment. This is a systematic way of claiming that a speaker has independent access to, and already holds a position regarding, the referent. “Oh”-prefacing is thus a resource through which a second speaker can convey that the assessment which follows is independent of the “here and now” of current experience and the prior speaker’s evaluation. It achieves this out- come through a “change of state semantics,” which conveys that the first assessment has
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
EPISTEMIC AUTHORITY AND SUBORDINATION 27
comment with “Gosh.” This expression indicates that, for him, this is something new, notable, or surprising. Here Gay could have responded with a simple agreement, which, as in (15) and (16) above, would
have conveyed that her agreement was grounded in the “here and now” common experience of an interminable telephone number. Instead Gay begins her response with “Oh it doe:s”:
page14image6552
page14image6824
page14image7096
(21) [Heritage:0I:7:3]
page14image7856
1
Gay:
So the ↑number is (0.2) oh: one oh::. Oh one oh:,
(1.0)

page14image9928
page14image10200
page14image10472
page14image10744
2
3
4 Jer: Yeup,
5 Gay:
↑Four ni:ne,
Jer:
page14image12544
page14image12816
page14image13088
page14image13360
6
7   Jer:     Ri:ght?
(0.5)
page14image14752
8   Gay:
9
10  Jer:
11
12  Gay:
13  Jer:  -> °Gosh°it goe:s (.) goes on’n on
14  Gay:  -> Oh it doe:s Germany doe:s.
Sev’n three,u-six o:ne?hh
(0.6)
Sev’n three: six o:ne?
(0.3)
page14image18248
page14image18520
page14image18792
page14image19064
page14image19336
page14image19608
Ei:ght ni:ne,
page14image20368
page14image20640
page14image20912
page14image21184
page14image21456
page14image21728
page14image22000
page14image22272
Two aspects of Gay’s “Oh it doe:s” treat Jeremy’s remark as reviving an earlier obser- vation of the same type that she had made independently of this occasion. Thereby they convey that Gay, in contrast to Jeremy, finds the length of the number unsurprising. First, as noted earlier, the “oh”-preface indexes prior and independent access to this phe- nomenon. Second, the partial repeat (“it does”), by confirming rather than simply agreeing with Jeremy’s remark, underscores this stance (Stivers forthcoming). By these means Gay also manages to indicate that she is an “old hand” at phoning abroad. In addi- tion, Gay continues with a turn component that appears to be designed to further suggest her expertise about foreign telephone calls. Her postpositioned “adjusting” component (“Germany doe:s.”) recalibrates the referent of her response from this particular tele- phone number to German telephone num- bers in general, and also conveys a degree of prior knowledge on the topic. Moreover, with
(22) [NB IV.10.R:1]
  1. 1  Emm:
  2. 2  Lot:
  3. 3  Emm: ->
  4.     4    Lot:  -> Oh:: Jeeziz ih wz go:rgeous::.
    
  5. 5  Emm: Wh’t a ni:ce ↑wut time’djih git i:n. Jst a li’l whal ago?
its hint of a further contrast with telephone numbers in other foreign countries, it implies a still broader expertise in placing telephone calls abroad. Shortly afterwards, Gay under- scores her expertise, informing Jeremy that the “ringing” sound on a German phone sounds like a “busy” signal on a British phone (data not shown).
A third case points to the use of “oh”- prefacing as a means of countering a recipi- ent’s upgraded claim of access to a referent that began as the speaker’s informational preserve. By inquiring into Lottie’s trip (to Palm Springs), Emma casts her as having direct and immediate experiential access to its events that Emma herself lacks. Emma, however, meets Lottie’s enthusiastic initial assessment of the trip (‘Oh:: Go:d wonderful Emma,” ) with an “oh”-prefaced, negative interrogative “Oh idn’it beautiful do:wn the:re,” which embodies a competitive claim to primacy in assessing the attractions of the location.
page14image42864
page14image43136
page14image43408
page14image43680
page14image43952
page14image44224
page14image44496
page14image44768
page14image45040
page14image45312
page14image45584
.h ↑How wz yer tri:p. Oh:: Go:d wonderful Emm[a,
page14image46728
page14image47000
page14image47272
[Oh idn’it beautiful do:wn the:re,
page14image48152
page14image48424
page14image48696
page14image48968
page14image49240
page14image49512
page14image49784
page14image50056
page14image50328
page14image50600
page14image50872
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
28 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY QUARTERLY
Lottie herself then responds to this assess- ment with a further and equally competitive “oh”-prefaced agreement that underscores her own claims to primacy in the matter. This competitiveness is also evident in the referent shifting that is part of the sequence. The sequence begins with Lottie’s evaluation of her recent trip; Emma’s assessment at line 3 shifts the referent to its general locale, a knowledge domain to which Emma has some claim. In turn, Lottie’s response at line 4 uses the past tense (“wz”) to shift the referent of her assessment back to her own arena of expertise—the recently completed trip.
In sum, “oh”-prefacing can be deployed in a wide variety of contexts by a second or (as in (22)) subsequent assessor to assert epistemic independence and supremacy rela- tive to a first. In addition to competing with sheer “firstness” (as in (20) and (21)), it can also be deployed (as in (22)) to meet and compete with epistemically upgraded prior assessments.
Upgrading by usurping the “firstness” of a previous assessment. Using two resources— tag questions and negative interrogatives— speakers who are responding to an assessment in second position can assert their assessment as a “first positioned” evaluation. In both cases, interrogative syntax is deployed as a means of usurping a previous speaker’s first positioned assessment with a new one that now commands the terms of agreement. With these resources, speakers effectively usurp the socioepistemic claims of others.
Upgrading with tag questions: While tag- questions downgrade first position assess- ments, their function is reversed in second position: there they upgrade second position
assessments.9 In second position, the [assess- ment + tag] format invites agreement to the position that is taken by the second speaker, thus preempting “first position” in the sequence. In this way it upgrades the second speaker’s claimed rights over the first with respect to the matter at hand. This usage is illustrated clearly in (23). In this sequence, Jenny and Vera are discussing Vera’s two grandsons after a recent visit to Vera, during which the children also visited Jenny’s home. After some discussion of the children, Jenny and Vera face a potential discrepancy regard- ing what they have just agreed on (in lines 4–6) when each names a different child to complete Jenny’s observation “he’s a bright little boy.” Almost as soon as this discrepancy becomes apparent, (that is, when Vera, the grandmother, produces “Paul” in overlap with Jenny’s “little James,” lines 5 and 6), Jenny immediately accepts “Paul” by repeat- ing his name (line 5) and then offering sever- al agreement tokens (in lines 5/7). Perhaps to counter the potential inference that she was simply “going along” with Vera in accepting “Paul” as the “bright” boy, Jenny offers a neg- ative assessment of James: “Yeh James’s a lit- tle devil” (line 11). By initiating her turn with “Yeh”, Jenny builds it as a continuation of the prior sequence, effectively offering the assessment as confirmation that she “meant” Paul in the first place because she already viewed James as “a little devil.” Ironically, in solving this problem, Jenny inadvertently creates trouble of a different kind: in convey- ing that she meant to refer to Paul, Jenny comes to produce a declaratively formed, first position, negative assessment of Vera’s other grandson, James.
page15image32936
(23) [Rahman:14:1-2]
page15image33696
1
Ver:
ehr: they readjer comics:’n evrythink yihkn[o:w
                                           [Yeh: w’l
I think he’s a bri:ght little boy: u[h:m
                                    [I: do=
=l[ittle Ja]:[:mes,] uh [Pau:l.yes.]
  [ Pau:l, ] [mm- m] mm [Pau : : l,]
page15image37104
page15image37376
page15image37648
Jen:
2
3
4   Ver:
5   Jen:
6   Ver:
7   Jen:     Mm:.[Yes.
8   Ver:         [Yes.
page15image39960
page15image40232
page15image40504
page15image40776
page15image41048
page15image41320
page15image41592
page15image41864
page15image42136
page15image42408
page15image42680
page15image42952
page15image43224
page15image43496
page15image43768
page15image44040
page15image44312
9 The fact that tag questions function differently in example of what Schegloff (1996b) calls “positionally first and second positions in a sequence is a clear sensitive grammar.”
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
EPISTEMIC AUTHORITY AND SUBORDINATION 29
9 (0.3)
10Ver: [Yes( )]

             [.huh .hh[h He:-
                      [James is a little bugger [isn’e.
page16image3536
11  Jen:
12  Ver:
13  Jen:
14  Ver:  ->
15  Jen:
[Yeh-
-> [Yeh James’s a little] divil ihhh ↑heh heh [That-
page16image6336
page16image6608
page16image6880
page16image7152
page16image7424
page16image7696
page16image7968
page16image8240
16 Jen:
Yeah [(into) ev’rythi]ng.
page16image9432
page16image9704
Although she steps in to agree with Jenny’s assessment, Vera as the grandmother resists the putatively superior access entailed in such a first position assessment.
This resistance is embodied most force- fully in Vera’s use of a tag question in turn- final position. By deploying an interrogative form as part of a second position assessment, Vera marks her turn as a “new” first pair part. The “firstness” of her assessment is also man- ifest in her re-use of “James” (a locally initial reference form deployed in a locally subse- quent position (Schegloff 1996c). Moreover, the remainder of her turn is designed as a full-form declarative that effectively disre- gards Jenny’s immediately prior reference to him, and, by extension, her utterance. The sta- tus of Vera’s utterance as a “first position” assessment is subsequently accepted by Jenny: she cuts off her initial response to Vera’s comment (line 15), and then redoes her responsive agreement at line 16 with a type-conforming “Yeah” and an elaboration
that gives a potential (and decidedly pallid) specification of the “little bugger” as “into everything.” In this case, then, the tag ques- tion, by inviting a response, positions Vera’s evaluation as a first action to be agreed or disagreed with. In this way, it attenuates its responsiveness to Jenny’s initial evaluation, thus asserting Vera’s rights in the matter.
Upgrading with negative interrogatives: Just as negative interrogatives upgrade the epistemic claims embodied in first assess- ments, they also can achieve this outcome for second assessments. Used in second position, negative interrogatives (like second posi- tioned tags) provide a putatively “new” first pair part for the previous speaker to respond to, and thus attenuate their status as “second position” assessments. In the following case (discussed above), Margie’s second assess- ment downgrades the virtues of the assessed party (“Pat”) while deploying a negative interrogative to assert upgraded rights to her opinion.
page16image27936
page16image28208
(24) [NBVII:1-2]
1 Emm:
2
3 Mar:

  1. 4  Mar:
  2. 5  Emm:
  3. 6  Mar:
  4. 7  Emm:
  5. 8  Mar: ->
=Oh honey that was a lovely luncheon I shoulda ca:lled you
s:soo[:ner but I:]l:[lo:ved it.Ih wz just deli:ghtfu[: l.]=
     [((f)) Oh:::]  [°(      )                      [Well]=
=I wz gla[d    y o u] (came).]
         [’nd yer f:] friends] ‘r so da:rli:ng,=
= Oh:::[: it wz:]
       [e-that P]a:t isn’she a do:[:ll?]
page16image34264
page16image34536
page16image34808
page16image35080
page16image35352
page16image35624
page16image35896
page16image36168
page16image36440
page16image36712
page16image36984
page16image37256
page16image37528
page16image37800
page16image38072
page16image38344
page16image38616
page16image38888
page16image39160
As we noted earlier, Emma praises Margie’s friend (“Pat”) using a negative inter- rogative (line 7) to upgrade both her rights to assess the friend and, with it, the compliment that her assessment embodies. Perhaps to manage the receipt of this compliment in an appropriately downgraded fashion (Pomerantz 1978), Margie responds (line 8)
          [iY e]h isn’t she pretty,
with an initial type-conforming agreement and a significantly weaker token of praise (“pretty” versus Emma’s “a doll”) (Pomerantz 1984). At the same time, she asserts her own primacy in assessing her friend by packaging her response as a negative interrogative.
A somewhat more perverse case can be found in a return to excerpt (22):
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
30
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY QUARTERLY
.h ↑How wz yer tri:p. Oh:: Go:d wonderful Emm[a,
(22) [NB IV.10.R:1]
  1. 1  Emm:
  2. 2  Lot:
  3. 3  Emm: ->
[Oh idn’it beautiful do:wn the:re,
relative rights to assess, and therefore is rela- tively “mild.” Much more combative are the “all-purpose” resources afforded by the use of “oh”-prefacing, tag questions, and negative interrogatives. Whether a first assessment is unmarked, upgraded, or downgraded, the change-of-state semantics of “oh”-prefacing asserts an independent stance, and hence epistemic authority, in relation to an assess- able. It can be used in combination with other resources, and can be deployed to address first assessments regardless of their specific formulation.Tagquestionsinsecondposition function by asserting interactional primacy in assessment sequences: their deployment of interrogative syntax formulates the second speaker’s assessment as the axial one calling for agreement. Finally, negative interroga- tives are perhaps the strongest of the four practices. Like tag questions, they deploy interrogative syntax to assert interactional primacy in an assessment sequence, but they are significantly more assertive. Thus they combine both the import of a declarative and the sequential implicativeness of an interrog- ative as resources to wrest the initiative from the first speaker.
Multiplex Deployments of These Resources and the Management of Face
Having developed an analysis of some of the resources through which speakers negoti- ate epistemic primacy and subordination in assessment sequences, we now turn to three cases in which the terms of agreement are more complicated. In the preceding analysis we relied on examples involving a straight- forward relationship between the partici- pants’ prima facie socioepistemic rights and the practices they deploy to manage them as a way of establishing a relationship between the two. There is no guarantee, however, that speakers will assert the rights to which they may be entitled, nor that recipients will align with or support the rights asserted by them. Speakers may assert rights that are (or could be) contested; in some cases they may defer
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
page17image21912
page17image22184
page17image22456
page17image22728
page17image23000
page17image23272
page17image23544
page17image23816
As we noted above, Lottie is the project- edly authoritative evaluator of her trip. Her initial evaluation, however, is intersected with an “oh”-prefaced negative interroga- tively formed assessment. By shifting the ref- erent to the location, this assessment brings the topical focus of the sequence towards Emma’s generalized experience of Palm Springs rather than Lottie’s more immediate experiences there. In these ways, an assess- ment initiated in response to Lottie’s evalua- tion is designed to exert control over the onward trajectory of the sequence.
Summary
Above we described four practices with which speakers can upgrade the epistemic claims of second assessments relative to the claims embodied in first positioned assess- ments. These four practices are of two types. The first two—[repeat/confirmation + agree- ment] and [”oh”-prefacing]—assert primary rights to assess by embodying the claim that the position asserted was held already and independently by the second speaker. The second two—[statement + tag] and [negative interrogatives]—assert primary rights by manipulating the sequence to “reclaim” the first position assessment slot and thereby the epistemic rights which accrue to that posi- tion. These two latter practices reflect an important way in which “first” and “second” position, though at first appearance lodged in the temporal order, are not confined there. Rather, these positions can be negotiated through practices of speaking that reflexively claim “first position” and “second position” (see note 10) as distinct from the raw appear- ances of temporal ordering in the flow of conversation.
Reviewing these practices, the first— [confirmation + agreement]—is relatively specialized to environments in which first assessments are downgraded by using tag questions. For these reasons, this practice is normally used in circumstances where the speakers achieve alignment concerning their
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
EPISTEMIC AUTHORITY AND SUBORDINATION 31
to a recipient with putatively subordinate rights. Here we consider three cases in which participants assert rights which are potential- ly problematic, or which become a source of conflict or struggle. By explicating the resources through which such circumstances are prosecuted, we can discern the reflexive character of these practices for asserting rela- tive rights to assess in sequences of turns, and thus the management of face and identity issues within these interactions.
The first of our cases involves one party’s assertion of the primary right to assess a per- son that previously had been treated as her recipient’s primary right to assess. In (25), Vera and Jenny are discussing Vera’s grand- children after a recent visit. As we noted above, in the course of managing a potential discrepancy regarding what Jenny and Vera have just agreed on (in lines 4–6), Jenny
comes to offer a negative assessment of one grandson, James (line 11), most likely to counter the inference that she was simply deferring to Vera’s naming of Paul as the “bright little boy.” Although Vera produces a similarly negative assessment of James (line 14), she then complicates matters by revers- ing herself and evaluating James’s behavior positively (line 17–18). It is this reversal, and Jenny’s response to it, that we now address. This environment may be especially prob- lematic for Jenny: if she is to agree with Vera, she must produce a positive, second position assessment of James even though she has just offered a highly negative assessment. As in the sequence regarding Paul, Jenny has a clear interest in indicating that her reversal is not “merely responsive” to Vera’s, especially since she has lesser rights to evaluate the child.
page18image18456
(25) [Rahman:14:1-2]
1 Ver:
ehr: they readjer comics:’n evrythink yihkn[o:w
                                           [Yeh: w’l
I think he’s a bri:ght little boy: u[h:m
                                    [I: do=
=l[ittle Ja]:[:mes,] uh [Pau:l.yes.]
  [ Pau:l, ] [mm- m] mm [Pau : : l,]
page18image21848
page18image22120
page18image22392
page18image22664
2   Jen:
3
4   Ver:
5   Jen:
6   Ver:
7   Jen:     Mm:.[Yes.
page18image24344
page18image24616
page18image24888
page18image25160
page18image25432
page18image25704
page18image25976
page18image26248
page18image26520
page18image26792
page18image27064
page18image27336
page18image27608
page18image27880
8 Ver:
9
10Ver:
11 Jen:
12 Ver:
13 Jen:
14 Ver:
15 Jen:
16 Jen:
17 Ver: -> 18

[Yes. (0.3)
[Yes( )]
[Yeh James’s a little] divil ihhh
↑heh heh [That-
[.huh .hh[h He:-

         [James is a little bugger [isn’e.
                                   [Yeh-
Yeah [(into)  ev’rythi]ng.
     [Mindju ‘eez good] Jenny, ‘e wz mischeevious
but w-’e wz good.
Oo ‘e wz beautiful here [wuz↑n’t’ee.=

[↓Yes. =’E wz very well beha:ved.
page18image34584
page18image34856
page18image35128
page18image35400
page18image35672
page18image35944
page18image36216
page18image36488
page18image36760
page18image37032
page18image37304
page18image37576
page18image37848
page18image38120
page18image38392
19  Jen:
20  Ver:
21  Jen:
->
page18image39872
page18image40144
page18image40416
page18image40688
page18image40960
Despite her putatively subordinate rights in the matter, Jenny (line 19) strongly asserts rights to assess James by (1) producing an “oh”-prefaced assessment of James’s behav- ior (2) focused on his behavior at her house. She follows this assessment with (3) a tag question. Each component of Jenny’s assess- ment works against the potential inference that her positive assessment reflected any-
thing other than the actual position she held independently of Vera’s immediately prior positive assessment. First, the “oh”-preface indexes Jenny’s previous, independent access to James. Second, Jenny supplies the basis for this claim by invoking James’s behavior “here” (at her own house), in contrast with Vera’s assessment of his behavior in general. Finally, her use of the tag question casts her
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
(26) [Holt X(c)-1-1-1]
1 Les:
And um (0.4) I ↑don’ t know ‘f you remember Missiz Mil↓beck th’t use to go to ↓chu:rch.
(0.8)
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
32 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY QUARTERLY
turn as a “new” first assessment, even though its production immediately follows Vera’s positive evaluation of James.
In light of Jenny’s systematic deference, up to this point, to Vera’s primary rights to assess her own grandchildren, it appears that Jenny’s assertion of primary rights in this sequence is designed to defeat any suspicion that her current, positive assessment could be motivated simply by a desire to agree with Vera. Specifically, although her turn is pro- duced in response to Vera’s, she deploys an array of practices to establish that the posi- tion she takes in that turn is held indepen- dently of the circumstances of its production. In this case, then, Jenny uses such practices for asserting her primary rights to assess James (despite her previous deference to Vera) as a method for managing the local,
interactional circumstances created by Vera’s reversal.
Our second case offers a more ambigu- ous deployment of these resources. This excerpt is taken from a conversation between Lesley and her elderly mother, in which Lesley offers a series of reports regarding (potential) acquaintances who are currently in the hospital or who have just died. In this case, although Lesley produces an extended description of Mr. Millbeck, Mum fails to rec- ognize him. As Lesley proceeds with the report “anyway,” she notes that he was “still working” when he died at age 79. Yet despite Lesley’s status as teller and her clearly inti- mate access to the deceased, she packages her first position assessment (in line 25) using a tag question that eschews any claim of epis- temic primacy:
page19image19680
page19image19952
page19image20224
2
3
4   Mum:     °(Mi[ssiz)°
page19image21312
5 Les: 6
7 8Mum: 9 Les: 10

11  Mum:
12
13  Les:
14  Mum:
15  Les:
16
17
18  Mum:
19
20  Les:
21
22  Mum:
23  Les:
24  Mum:
  1. 25  Les:
  2. 26  Mum:
27
28  Mum:
29
30
31
[Uh: uh-he wz the vicar’s ward’n ↑anyway ↑he die:d suddenly this week .hhh and he wz ↑still wo:r↓king. (0.3)
([ )

[He wz ↑seventy ni↓:ne, (0.3)
My: wo:rd.
(0.2)
↑Y e : s [he: wz um
[(You’ve got s’m ↑rea:l) workers down the:re,heh He wz a p- uh: Ye:s. Indee:d .hh He wz a (0.2) .p a ↑buyer for the hoh- i-the ↑only horse hair fact’ry left in England.
Good (gracious).
(0.3)
And he wz their buyer,
(.)
↑Hm:::
.t
↑↑Hm:.
So ↑he
page19image32944
page19image33216
page19image33488
page19image33760
page19image34032
page19image34304
page19image34576
page19image34848
page19image35120
page19image35392
page19image35664
page19image35936
page19image36208
page19image36480
page19image36752
page19image37024
page19image37296
page19image37568
page19image37840
page19image38112
page19image38384
page19image38656
-> ->
had a good inni:ngs ↑did[n’t ↓he.
[I should say ↓so: ↑Ye:s.
page19image40376
page19image40648
page19image40920
page19image41192
page19image41464
page19image41736
page19image42008
Les:
(0.2) ↑Marvelous.
(0.2)
.tk.hhhh
↑Anyway we had a very good evening ↑o:n Saturda:y
page19image44088
page19image44360
page19image44632
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
EPISTEMIC AUTHORITY AND SUBORDINATION 33
It is not clear whether Lesley’s tag ques- tion indexes Mum’s rights to judge a person of similar age, or simply acknowledges the self-evident character of her assessment (i.e., that a person who worked until the day he died at age 79 had a “good innings”). Mum, however, matches the position taken by Lesley by using the [confirmation] + [agree- ment token] format to upgrade the rights that otherwise would accrue to her second posi- tion assessment. In this case, then, Lesley manages the potentially problematic circum- stance of producing a first position assess- ment regarding a state of affairs that both she and Mum can claim rights to assess by simply avoiding any claim of epistemic priority, despite her status as putatively the better- informed party.
Finally, in our third case, competitive positions regarding epistemic rights to evalu- ate Margie’s friend are coopted into a deeply ambiguous process of agreement. This exam- ple, as noted previously, is an extended com- pliment sequence. After a generalized
evaluation of Margie’s friends as “so da:rli:ng” (line 5), Emma’s “e-that Pa:t isn’she a do::ll?” singles out one of the guests for particular praise. As observed earlier, the primacy embodied in this first position assessment is further upgraded by Emma’s deployment of a negative interrogative for- mat to package it. On the one hand, this for- mat (as noted earlier) invites an agreement produced as a response to a question. On the other, however, the assessment and its format create two problems for Margie. First, as a question, the assessment invites confirma- tion, but as a compliment Margie’s agree- ment is constrained by conventions governing self-praise (Pomerantz 1978). Second, although Emma characterizes the persons present as “your friends” (line 5)— thus acknowledging Margie’s primary rights to evaluate them—her assessment is pack- aged with a format which (as we have seen) asserts epistemic primacy and virtually com- mands agreement.
page20image20328
(27) [NBVII:1-2]
1 Emm:
2
3 Mar:

  1. 4  Mar:
  2. 5  Emm:
  3. 6  Mar:
  4. 7  Emm:
  5. 8  Mar:
    9
    10  Emm:
    11  Mar:
    12  Emm:
=Oh honey that was a lovely luncheon I shoulda ca:lled you
s:soo[:ner but I:]l:[lo:ved it.Ih wz just deli:ghtfu[: l.]=
     [((f)) Oh:::]  [°(      )                      [Well]=
=I wz gla[d    y o u] (came).]
         [’nd yer f:] friends] ‘r so da:rli:ng,=
= Oh:::[: it wz:]
       [e-that P]a:t isn’she a do:[:ll?]
page20image27152
page20image27424
page20image27696
page20image27968
page20image28240
page20image28512
page20image28784
page20image29056
page20image29328
page20image29600
page20image29872
page20image30144
page20image30416
page20image30688
page20image30960
page20image31232
page20image31504
[iY e]h isn’t she pretty,
page20image32384
(.)
Oh: she’s a beautiful girl.=
=Yeh I think she’s a pretty gir[l.
page20image33792
page20image34064
page20image34336
page20image34608
Margie’s response in this context embod- ies two elements: (1) a minimal, pro forma, type-conforming agreement “iYeh”, and (2) a negative interrogative-formed assessment, built as a new first assessment that invites agreement but which is downgraded signifi- cantly (“pretty” versus Emma’s “a doll”).
In the face of this divergent assessment, Emma’s response at line 10 reasserts a ver- sion of her earlier assessment (“beautiful girl”). It does so within an “oh”-prefacing frame that, in this context, reasserts an over-
       [En that Reinam’n::
riding epistemic claim. Here it is plausible to see Emma’s insistence on this compliment as an effort to overcome Margie’s purely “social” resistance to it. Margie’s final response again expresses a pro forma agree- ment; however, her repetition of her earlier evaluation (“pretty”) underscores her posi- tion as overtly unmovable (as adumbrated in her turn at line 8), while the introduction of “I think” into the utterance explicitly acknowledges its status as a disputed assess- ment. Here, as in Example (25), one partici-
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
34 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY QUARTERLY
pant’s efforts to build a strong positive evalu- ation of a part of another person’s world cre- ates a context in which agreement is contaminated by a competitive epistemic struggle.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
In his essay “Territories of the Self,” Goffman describes an array of territorial “preserves” and ways in which their bound- aries “are ordinarily patrolled and defended by the claimant” (Goffman 1971:52). Goffman did not include a discussion of knowledge and expertise in his description of an “information preserve” (1971:63–64), though control over rights to information is evidently the object of linguistic and interac- tional management (Kamio 1997; Maynard and Zimmerman 1984) and systematic social competition (Abbott 1988). In this paper we have suggested that rights to evaluate states of affairs are indeed “ordinarily patrolled and defended” by individuals in routine con- versational practices through which these rights are ranked by speakers relative to one another.
Our evidence comprises two sorts of observations. First, we have argued that assessing a referent state of affairs in first position implies a claim of primary epistemic and/or moral rights to assess that state. We will abbreviate these as “K+ rights,” relative to those of a second speaker, who has lesser (“K–”) rights. The evidence for this claim is fourfold:
To begin with, first position assessments are rarely upgraded in the several hundred ordinary conversations we have examined; however they are quite commonly down- graded. Similarly, second position assess- ments are rarely downgraded but they are quite commonly upgraded. These distribu- tions suggest a recurrent social need to com- pensate for the primary (K+) claims of first position and the secondary (K–) claims of second position.10
10 As noted elsewhere, this analysis is based on an examination of several hundred recorded conversa- tions. Robustly founded quantitative analysis is ham- pered, however, by what Schegloff (1993) calls the “denominator problem.” Briefly put, without clear evidence of the parties’ relative rights to knowledge
This general distributional observation is supported by three others:
Downgraded first position assessments are generally produced by persons who, at least at first appearance, have lesser socioepistemic (K–) rights to evaluate them.
In addition, upgraded second position assessments are generally produced by per- sons who, at least at first appearance, have greater socioepistemic (K+) rights to evalu- ate them.
Finally, under conditions where both speakers have putatively equal access to a referent state of affairs, first speakers may downgrade initial assessments using a tag question format, while second speakers respond with declaratives. These two prac- tices cooperate to cancel the epistemic impli- cations of the first and second positioned status of their contributions (see note 7).
This conversational patrol and defense of information preserves is mandated by the fundamental association between the posi- tioning of an assessment and the epistemic claims implied by that positioning. Because social interaction is organized sequentially and because someone must necessarily be first to assess a referent, the management of information preserves is inexorably relevant in social interaction.
Second, we have identified a variety of practices that are deployed in managing these epistemic claims. Downgraded claims in first position are implemented prominent- ly through tag questions and evidentials.11
independent of the talk, we cannot evaluate the extent to which parties assert these rights in the talk. Thus we are obliged to focus on those cases in which the asser- tion of these rights emerges as a matter that the par- ties are addressing by talking. These methodological issues, of course, bracket the question of whether, or how, these relative rights exist independent of their assertion in the situation itself.
11 These do not exhaust speakers’ methods for downgrading the rights claimed by first position assessments. In addition to evidentials and tag ques- tions (which focus on the authoritativeness of the assessment, or on the access claimed by it), speakers also can modulate the rights claimed by a first posi- tion assessment by downgrading its “firstness.” For example, speakers can preface their turns with “so” or other expressions which indicate that the turn is being offered as an upshot or other product of prior talk, and by that action can acknowledge their recip- ients’ primary rights. For example, in the following excerpt, Shirley offers a “so”-prefaced upshot (in
page21image43040
page21image43312
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
EPISTEMIC AUTHORITY AND SUBORDINATION 35
Upgraded claims in second position are implemented through an array of practices that either invoke a “settled” and preexisting point of view, or deploy interrogative syntax to compete for first position by usurping a previous evaluation with a new “first posi- tioned” evaluation to which the other should respond. The practices we have identified here are somewhat varied in their privileges of occurrence. The [confirmation + agree- ment] response format is enabled by and vir- tually specialized to address, and complement, first assessments that deploy the [statement + tag] format. Although “oh”- prefacing is not tied to a specific first position format, and thus is usable in less complemen-
line 43) to display her understanding of Gerri”s telling about Dana. By virtue of the very way in which this sequence is initiated (e.g., Shirley’s “Did you talk to Dana this week” and “how is he” (line
tary and more competitive ways, it is deployed almost exclusively in second posi- tion. Negative interrogatives are most aggres- sive and can be deployed in either first or second position to assert claims of epistemic supremacy. Some of these practices also have positional and relational variations. For example, the [statement + tag] format, which downgrades claims in first position, can be used by K+ speakers to upgrade a responsive assessment in second position.
Agreement involves more than simply arriving at aligned evaluations. As our analy- sis makes clear, persons evidently are con- cerned to establish the independence of the positions that are asserted in accomplishing
7)), Shirley conveys her understanding that Gerri has superior knowledge about Dana. This stance is confirmed further by the telling that Gerri goes on to produce.
page22image18216
page22image18488
[Frankel TCI]
  1. 7  Shi:
  2. 8  Ger:
9 Shi: 10 Ger:
    25  Ger:
    26
    27
    28  Shi:
    29  Ger:
    30  Shi:
    31  Ger:
    32
.hh Uhm how is he.
(Well) he’s fi:ne[(yeh),
page22image22520
                 [ss-
Yihknow he’s no:w (.) in (0.2) competition, .hhh=
((14 lines of transcript omitted))
 .hh A:nd u- (0.2) yihknow I don’t- he doesn’t think he’s
 going to win.c’z there’s a lot’v other students thet, .hh
 are doing equally well.=
 =M-[hm,]
    [or ]and or better.
 M-hm,
 Bu:t, he does feel tha:t (1.0) yihknow, (.) he’s proud a’
 the fact thet he got intuh th’finals. .hhh en he doesn’t
 ca:re if he doesn’t make the finals en go o:n .hh=
 =Ri[:ght.]
 (.)
 become a Harvard attorney I mean ‘e doesn’t care
 about*that. et[all.
33
34  Shi:
35  Ger:
36  Shi:
37
38  Ger:
39
40  Shi:
41  Shi:
42  Ger:
43  Shi:  -> .hh So he’s doing alright.
44  Ger:     Ye:ah.
[to-  ]Berkeley er wherever, .h[h en then-
                               [Ri:ght.
Ri[ght. [So
[Right.
page22image33392
After Gerri’s telling regarding Dana’s participa- tion in an academic competition, Shirley conveys her understanding of its upshot by producing an assessment: “he’s doing alright” (line 43). Although Shirley produces her assessment of Dana before Gerri has offered any similar evaluation, she clear- ly indicates its derivative status, and Gerri’s prima-
ry knowledge in the matter, by prefacing it with a “so.” Thus instead of modulating the access claimed by her assessment, she downgrades its “first- ness”—much as speakers have used interrogative forms in second position assessments to counter the default assumptions attached to that position (Raymond 2004).
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
36 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY QUARTERLY
agreement. This is reflected most prominent- ly in two themes in our data. First, persons work to establish the independence of their access to evaluated states of affairs as a basis for agreement. Second, persons recurrently negotiate the relevance of “confirmation” rather than “agreement” in circumstances where primary access to a state of affairs comes to assume critical importance. In these and other ways, the matter of “who agrees with whom” turns out to be a common, if not ubiquitous, feature of the terms of agree- ment.
These considerations suggest a systemat- ic dilemma at the heart of agreement sequences. Put bluntly, affiliation and agree- ment generally are sought from others; when provided, however, they must respect the parties’ information territories and their associated epistemic rights. Although this problem may be soluble in the matter of “Burmese cats” by responding to someone who asserts the merits of his own cat in terms of the merits of the breed in general, such a solution involves an unavoidable element of detachment from the concrete specifics of the other’s experience. Perhaps this is acceptable in the matter of cats, but a mother’s claim to lack loving feelings for her child cannot be met effectively by remarks about “women in general” (Heritage and Lindström 1998). For this reason, Alcoholics Anonymous specifi- cally encourages members to seek out per- sons with a history of recovering from alcoholism to discuss their problems (Alcoholics Anonymous 2001). In respond- ing to assessments of distinctively personal matters, speakers must manage the indepen- dence of their access to the matters under discussion while avoiding too deep an inter- vention into territories of knowledge, feeling, and relational ownership that their recipients may defend as their own. In such cases, the sociological dilemma of involvement and detachment is an entirely practical matter.
Our analysis of these practices suggests a further observation regarding “face” and related subjects. As we noted in introducing this concept, Goffman and others distinguish betweenfaceandidentity.Aswehaveshown, considerations of face are clearly implicated in the kind of epistemic negotiations with which we have been concerned here. Yet as
Goffman also made clear, face claims com- monly invoke elements of enduring social identity. Although multiple identities may be engaged in the sequences we have discussed (and in others like them), dog and cat owners evidently expect to be treated as experts on their pets. Grandparents have ownership rights and expect to have the last word in evaluating their grandchildren. And all par- ticipants, as Sacks (1984) and Goffman (1983) observed, have primary rights to know and describe their own thoughts and experi- ences.
Persons deploy these practices with remarkable frequency in the context of con- versational agreement. One might think that interactants’ insistence on the assertion of relative epistemic rights is an ugly contami- nant of courses of action which otherwise are the essence of consensus building. One also might think that in this paper we make much ado about nothing: the negotiations and con- flicts that we observe are simply made salient, as Labov and Fanshel (1977:346) noted, as a product of looking closely at activ- ities which probably were not experienced consciously, much less recollected by the par- ties at this level of detail.12 Yet one also may observe that relative epistemic rights to describe and evaluate objects within differ- ent knowledge domains are part of our basic human rights to experience and its expres- sion. The regulation and sanctioning of such rights is no trivial matter, but is rather a part of the interactional “housekeeping” that is a condition of personhood and even sanity (Goffman 1983). That the means by which this housekeeping is managed are lost in a Leibnitzian “surf” is, in this context, all to the good.
REFERENCES
Abbott, Andrew. 1988. The System of Professions: An Essay on the Division of Expert Labor. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Alcoholics Anonymous. 2001. Alcoholics
12 Labov and Fanshel (1977:346) termed this the “paradox of microanalysis,” observing, “[T]he more deeply we analyze the underlying speech actions that motivated these sequences of events, the further we remove ourselves from the conversation as it was actually experienced.”
page23image41520
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
EPISTEMIC AUTHORITY AND SUBORDINATION 37
Anonymous, 4th ed. New York: Alcoholics
Anonymous World Services, Inc.
Berlin, Isaiah. 2002.
Four Essays on Liberty.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bernstein, Basil. 1971.
Class, Codes and Control,
Vol.1. London: Routledge.
Brown, Penelope and Stephen Levinson. 1987.

Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Chafe, Wallace and Johanna Nichols, eds. 1986.
Evidentiality: The Linguistic Coding of
Epistemology. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Drew, Paul. 1991. “Asymmetries of Knowledge in Conversational Interactions.” Pp. 29–48 in
Asymmetries in Dialogue, edited by Ivana Markova and Klaus Foppa. Hemel
Hempstead UK: Harvester.
———. 1997. “’Open’ Class Repair Initiators in

Response to Sequential Sources of Trouble in Conversation.” Journal of Pragmatics 28:69–101.
Drew, Paul and John Heritage. 1992. “Analyzing Talk at Work: An Introduction.” Pp. 3–65 in Talk at Work, edited by Paul Drew and John Heritage. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.
Durkheim, Emile. 1915. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. London: Allen and Unwin.
Gill, Virginia. 1998. “Doing Attributions in Medical Interaction: Patients’ Explanations for Illness and Doctors’ Responses.” Social Psychology Quarterly 61:342–60.
Gill, Virginia and Douglas Maynard. Forthcoming. “Explaining Illness: Patients’ Proposals and Physicians’ Responses.” In Practicing Medicine: Structure and Process in Primary Care Consultations, edited by John Heritage and Douglas Maynard. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Goffman, Erving. 1967. Interaction Ritual: Essays in Face to Face Behavior. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
———. 1971. Relations in Public: Microstudies of the Public Order. New York: Harper and Row.
———. 1983. “Felicity’s Condition.” American Journal of Sociology 89:1–53.
Heritage, John. 1984a. Garfinkel and Ethnomethodology. Cambridge, UK: Polity.
———. 1984b. “A Change-of-State Token and Aspects of Its Sequential Placement.” Pp. 299–345 in Structures of Social Action: Studies in Conversation Analysis, edited by J. Maxwell Atkinson and John Heritage. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
———. 1998. “Oh-Prefaced Responses to Inquiry. Language in Society 27:291–334.
———. 2002a. “Oh-Prefaced Responses to
Assessments: A Method of Modifying Agreement/Disagreement.” Pp. 196–224 in The Language of Turn and Sequence, edited by Cecilia Ford, Barbara Fox and Sandra Thompson. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
———. 2002b. “The Limits of Questioning: Negative Interrogatives and Hostile Question Content.” Journal of Pragmatics 34:1427–46,
Heritage, John and Anna Lindström. 1998. “Motherhood, Medicine and Morality: Scenes from a Medical Encounter. Research on Language and Social Interaction 31:397–438.
Heritage, John and Jeffrey Robinson. Forthcoming. “Accounting for the Visit: Giving Reasons for Seeking Medical Care.” In Practicing Medicine: Structure and Process in Primary Care Consultations, edited by John Heritage and Douglas Maynard. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Holtgraves, Thomas. 1992. “Linguistic Realization of Face Management: Implications for Language Production and Comprehension, Person Perception, and Cross-Cultural Communication.” Social Psychology Quarterly 55:141–59.
Jefferson, Gail. 2002. “Is ‘No’ an Acknowledgment Token? Comparing American and British Uses of (+)/(–) Tokens.” Journal of Pragmatics 34:1345–83.
Kamio, Akio. 1997. Territory of Information. Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Kollock, Peter, Philip Blumstein and Pepper Schwartz. 1985. “Sex and Power in Interaction: Conversational Privileges and Duties. American Sociological Review 50:24–46.
Labov, William and David Fanshel. 1977.
Therapeutic Discourse: Psychotherapy as
Conversation. New York: Academic Press. Lakoff, Robin. 1975. Language and Women’s Place.
New York: Harper.
Lerner, Gene. 1996. “’Finding Face’ in the

Preference Structures of Talk-in- Interaction.” Social Psychology Quarterly 59:303–21.
Maynard, Douglas W. and Don Zimmerman. 1984. “Topical Talk, Ritual, and the Social Organization of Relationships.” Social Psychology Quarterly 47:301–16.
O’Barr, William N. and Bowman K. Atkins. 1980. “’Women’s Langauge’ or ‘Powerless Language.’” Pp. 93–110 in Women and Language in Literature and Society, edited by Sally McConnell-Ginet, Ruth Borker, and Nelly Furman. New York: Praeger.
Pomerantz, Anita. 1978. “Compliment Responses:
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011
38
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY QUARTERLY
#2032—Social Psychology Quarterly—VOL. 68 NO. 1—68103-heritage
Notes on the Co-Operation of Multiple Constraints.” Pp. 79–112 in Studies in the Organization of Conversational Interaction, edited by Jim Schenkein. New York: Academic Press:.
Pomerantz, Anita. 1984. “Agreeing and Disagreeing With Assessments: Some Features of Preferred/Dispreferred Turn Shapes.” Pp. 57–101 in Structures of Social Action: Studies in Conversation Analysis, edited by J. Maxwell Atkinson and John Heritage. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Raymond, Geoffrey. 2000. “The Voice of Authority: The Local Accomplishment of Authoritative Discourse in Live News Broadcasts.” Discourse Studies 2:354–79.
———. 2003. “Grammar and Social Organization: Yes/No Type Interrogatives and the Structure of Responding.” American Sociological Review, 68:939–67.
———. 2004. “Prompting Action: The Stand- Alone “So” in Ordinary Conversation.” Research on Language and Social Interaction, 37:185–218.
Roth, Andrew. 2002. “Social Epistemology in Broadcast News Interviews. Language in Society 31:355–81.
Sacks, Harvey. 1984. “On Doing ‘Being Ordinary.’” Pp. 413–29 in Structures of Social Action: Studies in Conversation Analysis, edited by J. Maxwell Atkinson and John Heritage. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
———. 1987. “On the Preferences for Agreement and Contiguity in Sequences in Conversation.” Pp. 54–69 in Talk and Social Organisation, edited by Graham Button and John R. E. Lee. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Schegloff, Emanuel A. 1988. “On an Actual Virtual
Servo-Mechanism for Guessing Bad News: A Single Case Conjecture.” Social Problems 35:442–57.
———. 1992. “Repair After Next Turn: The Last Structurally Provided for Place for the Defense of Intersubjectivity in Conversation.” American Journal of Sociology 95:1295–1345.
———. 1993. “Reflections on Quantification in the Study of Conversation.” Research on Language and Social Interaction 26:99–128.
———. 1996a. “Confirming Allusions: Toward an Empirical Account of Action.” American Journal of Sociology 104:161–216.
———. 1996b. “Turn Organization: One Intersection of Grammar and Interaction.” Pp. 52–133 in Interaction and Grammar, edit- ed by Elinor Ochs, Sandra Thompson and Emanuel Schegloff. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
———. 1996c. “Some Practices for Referring to Persons in Talk-in-Interaction: A Partial Sketch of a Systematics.” Pp. 437–85 in Studies in Anaphora, edited by Barbara Fox. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
———. Forthcoming. A Primer of Conversation Analysis: Sequence Organization. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Schegloff, Emanuel A., Gail Jefferson, and Harvey Sacks. 1977. “The Preference for Self- Correction in the Organization of Repair in Conversation.” Language 53:361–82.
Stivers, Tanya. Forthcoming. “Modified Repeats and Claiming Authority from Second Position.” Research on Language and Social Interaction.
Whalen, Marilyn and Don Zimmerman. 1990. “Describing Trouble: Practical Epistemology in Citizen Calls to the Police.” Language in Society 19:465–92.
John Heritage is professor of sociology, at UCLA. His research addresses topics in conversa- tion analysis including applications to a variety of institutional settings. He is currently working on a range of aspects of doctor-patient interaction, and on presidential press conferences (with Steven Clayman).
Geoffrey Raymond is assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research interests include the study of talk-in-interaction, the role of talk in the organization of institutions, and qualitative research methods. Recent publications on these issues have appeared in American Sociological Review, Discourse Studies and Research on Language and Social Interaction. He is currently co-editing a book, with Darin Weinberg and Paul Drew, on the role of talk in sociological research.
Downloaded from spq.sagepub.com by Wayne Mellinger on October 22, 2011 

Comments