|Title||Signaling equality: On humor and other semiotic resources that serve disagreement and display horizontal hierarchy|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Power, Disagreement, Humour|
This paper studies the public display of horizontal hierarchies. Drawing on a naturalistic paradigm, audio- and videotaped presentations of college students were investigated. The students presented in class before their peers. Excerpts that comprise disagreement between equals were selected for analysis. The primary assumption was that disagreements can serve as a potential risk to horizontal hierarchies. Hence, they serve as an interesting source for exploring if and how colleagueship is sustained. The analysis shows the use of various verbal and nonverbal semiotic resources (including humor), which display the shift students make between assuming power and signaling equality. The sequential organization of disagreements (detailed in the paper) pertains to the building blocks (i.e., a contest and a retreat from confrontational positions) that comprise horizontal hierarchy. These building blocks are exhibited in different turns and within turn-constructional components.