Seen But Unnoticed? How Social Roles and Norms are Co-Constructed Through Interaction in the Media

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  • 12pm–1pm (EDT/UTC-4)


With this lecture series entitled “Critical Media Literacy: A Challenge for Teacher Education and Beyond”, a joint initiative by the Heidelberg School of Education and Teachers College (Columbia University) aims for a transatlantic collaborative dialogue at the intersection of various disciplines and didactics. Lecturers, students, teachers, educators and various stakeholders in education are welcome to join in.

Teaserbild zur Veranstaltung #CMLLectures mit Porträt von Inga Harren | © Inga Harren
Portrait: © Inga Harren

Conversation Analysis provides methodological instruments to uncover the mechanisms of talk and helps to understand how social norms and roles are co-constructed and negotiated in social interactions. This lecture analyses two exemplary talk show episodes and addresses the following questions:

  • How is the picture of a person with physical disability constructed through a conversation in the analysed talk show? How is it negotiated? Looking at the German talk show “Wetten, dass”, we will examine how ascriptions of specialness and deficiency are rejected by a person with paraplegia.
  • How is the role of an expert (de-)constructed and defended in interaction? An example from the German talk show “Markus Lanz – Talkrunde” will be used to analyse how a female virologist fights for her right to speak and be heard as an expert in a round table discussion.

Based on these two cases Harren argues that Conversation Analysis can help to develop a critical view of how the media construct social roles, norms and rights in talks and conversations, and that it can be one tool among others to promote critical awareness in teacher education and beyond.


Inga Harren is a full professor of German Language and German Language Didactics at the Heidelberg University of Education. She first qualified as a teacher for secondary school and grammar school (“Gymnasium”, grade 5–12) for German and Biology and worked as a teacher for several years. As a member of the German “Arbeitskreis Angewandte Gesprächsforschung” (AAG, working group of applied conversation analysis) since 2002, Inga Harren has a wide range of interests and deep expertise in Conversation Analysis and Applied Conversation Analysis. She is one of the editors of the quarterly German didactics journal “Deutsch 5-10” publishing teaching material, teacher instructions and accompanying theoretical information. Her research interests include language-across-the-curriculum, grammar for writing, fostering academic language in natural science classrooms and conversation analytic teacher training.


The lecture will be held via Zoom:

Meeting-ID: 971 1074 9368
Password: 828886

No prior registration required.