Viveka Adelswärd, Jana Holsánová & Victoria Wibeck:
Virtual talk as a communicative resource. Explorations in the field of gene technology

In face-to-face conversation, participants often give the floor, or the voice, to non-present participants – virtual participants. These are made present in the conversation by actual speakers quoting them, voicing them or referring to their opinions. In this paper, we examine instances of such virtual talk. Data are drawn from focus group discussions and public meetings about genetically modified food. Our analyses demonstrate some of the dynamics inherent in the interaction between the speaker, the present participants and one or more virtual participants. We focus on the specific functions of virtual talk, suggesting that it is a communicative resource that can be used to solve a number of different communicative tasks.

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