What are We Going to “Talk About” in this Public Meeting?: An Examination of Talk about Communication in the North Omaha Development Project

Abstract

The goal of this essay is to illustrate how the investigation of one communicative phenomenon, metacommunication or talk about communication, can be a resource for understanding and evaluating public meetings and public participation. Such talk about communication is ubiquitous in public discourse (Craig, 2005). Participants in public meetings sometimes talk at great length about what can be said, how it can be said and by whom. In the analysis of the North Omaha Development Project (NODP) public meeting, we chose to focus on two categories of metacommunication: linguistic action verbs or LAVs (Dirven, et al., 1982) and terms for talk (Carbaugh, 1989). In examining LAVs, we focus specifically on participant uses of the verbs “talk,” “tell,” and “say.” The term for talk we examine is participant uses of the term “meeting”. We believe that the examination of these two categories of metacommunication prove to be insightful about this particular public meeting and, taken together, provide a rich (if incomplete) picture of the ways in which the participants themselves framed, textured and judged the NODP public meeting.

Keywords

public meeting, linguistic action verbs, metacommunication

How to Cite

Leighter J. & Castor T., (2009) “What are We Going to “Talk About” in this Public Meeting?: An Examination of Talk about Communication in the North Omaha Development Project”, Journal of Public Deliberation 5(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.16997/jdd.87

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Authors

Jay Leighter (Creighton University)
Theresa Castor (University of Wisconsin-Parkside)

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