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Negotiating Norms of Discussion in the Public Arena: The Use of Irony in Israeli Political Radio Phone‐In Programs

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Phone‐in radio programs are part of the public sphere and thus require open access, rationality, and practicality. Simultaneously, they are a media product, which requires entertaining content. We demonstrate these demands through the analysis of interactional irony in Israeli political radio phone‐ins. From an emic perspective, callers see irony as detrimental to the discussions, yet hosts and regular callers use it to make entertaining interactions. Irony is a critical tool that points to violations of norms: the norm of a clear 2‐sided interaction; norms akin to the Habermasian public sphere; and at the content level, irony is used to reject racist positions. Being indirect, irony can be used to create an entertaining yet critical discussion in the public sphere.
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Keywords: Broadcast Talk; Irony; Norms; Public Sphere; Racism; Radio Phone‐In Interactions

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2015

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