Ritual, aggression, and participatory ambiguity: A case study of heckling

Dániel Z. Kádár, Siân Robinson Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper analyses the phenomenon of participatory ambiguity in aggressive ritualistic interactions. One can ‘participate’ (Goffman 1979, 1981) in an interaction in different statuses, and these statuses entail different interactional constraints and obligations, also within the realms of language aggression and conflict. We are interested in a specific aspect of participation, namely ratification — the assumed right to participate in an interaction. ‘Ambiguity’ describes forms of behaviour which deviate from participant and observer expectations of interacting in certain discursive roles, without clearly violating (un)ratified participation roles. Examining the relationship between participatory ambiguity and language aggression fills an important knowledge gap in the field, as this area has been relatively ignored. We take heckling in experimental performing arts as a case study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-233
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Language Aggression and Conflict
Issue number2
Early online date16 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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