Reading groups and the language of literary texts / Swann & Allington (2009)

Citation - Swann, J., & Allington, D. (2009). Reading groups and the language of literary texts: a case study in social reading. Language and Literature, 18(3), 247-264.

Keyword - Reading group, Reading

  • 背景/動機:
    • 了解閱讀團體中的語言互動。
    • 閱讀團體提供了研究「普通讀者」如何解讀文學作品(相對於學術性文學批評或專業文學評論的閱讀)。
  • 方法:互動性社會語言分析(interactional sociolinguistic analysis);Atlas.ti 質性資料分析
  • 資料:兩個閱讀團體、16個面對面訪談對象。在自然情境下的田野觀察研究。
  • 發現:
    • 透過質性研究軟體分析,發現參與者會將自己的主觀回應參照到文本上,能以較為緩和的形式呈現個人對文本的評價。
    • 透過互動社會語言分析,發現「語言」是持續出現的討論主題。而「語言」主題是如何由參與者所共同建構,以及這種文學活動是如何在文化上、互動地與人際間地偶然出現。
    • 「面子(Face)」在兩種分析中,都有所探索。

Discourse of Reading Groups project 閱讀團體言談研究計畫

Discourse of Reading Groups project 了解「閱讀團體(Reading group)」,此一當代文化現象。研究團體中的成員如何做出文學文本的解讀/評價。


  • 這些解讀/評價,在閱讀團體中,是如何在互動中逐步建構的
    how these interpretations/evaluations are discursively constructed in reading group interaction;
  • 作品如何交織在閱讀團體的社會、人際、情感互動中
    how such critical work is interwoven with the social, interpersonal and affective demands of group interaction;
  • 在團體討論中,有哪些讀者種類
    the kinds of reader identities that are negotiated in discussion;
  • 日常的文學判斷與專業文學判斷有多麼相關
    how such everyday literary judgements relate to the professional judgements made by literary critics and academics.


  • 16個面對面訪談對象
  • 兩個閱讀團體


  • 英國開放大學,
  • 英國人文藝術研究委員會(the British Arts and Humanities Research Council)


  • 人類學式的 ethnographic (e.g. Howie, 1998; Long, 2003)
  • 問卷調查式的 survey based (e.g. Hartley, 2002; Sedo, 2003)


  • 說明與比較實驗研究與自然主義研究
  • 解釋此研究為何採用自然典範

Table 1 Some characteristics of experimental and naturalistic studies of literary reading

Experimental studies
Naturalistic studies
Focus on contextualized, pre-specified and isolated aspects of reading/ interpretation
著重於閱讀實踐,通常範圍較廣/ 整體定義
Focus on contextualized reading practice(s), usually more broadly/ holistically defined
Readers in a controlled but artificial environment, engaged in atypical reading behaviour
讀者在尋常環境中,從事習慣的閱讀行為Readers in their usual environment, engaged in habitual reading behaviour
Atypical presentation of texts, or textual fragments
Texts presented whole, and in their typical form
Readers often interact only with researcher
Readers interact freely with others



  • 閱讀團體談話是閱讀行為之一,包括私自閱讀、在討論中引發的再次閱讀、諮詢他人的閱讀如出版評論、在電子報中寫下團體的評論。
    … Reading group talk is one in a series of acts of reading, including individual private reading, and occasionally re-reading in the light of discussion, consultation of other readings such as published reviews, writing up members’ own reviews for newsletters.



  • ON-BOOK: 在討論中,指出這是根據書/文本中某某特定段落。
    discussion referring explicitly to the specific book that the group had met to discuss on the occasion of the recording.
  • ACT OF READING: 引用某次之前的閱讀行為或經驗,此行為是不在討論現場中發生的。如:外顯的「我在某個下午開始讀它」,或內在的「我讀了覺得很感動」
    used to tag any episode in which reference is made to interaction with texts outside (and usually prior to) the ongoing discussion; this includes both explicit reference, as in ‘I got it and read it in like the afternoon I got it at work’ (a fairly clear case); and implicit reference, as in ‘I just found it really moving’ (here the past tense suggests that the speaker is referring to her responses at the time when she was physically engaged in reading).
  • IDEAL TEXT: 討論文本被建構的情節。如:試圖找出作者散文風格的特徵。
    used to tag episodes in which discursive representations of the text were constructed: mentions of characters or plot events, for example, or attempts to characterize the author’s prose style.
    used to tag episodes where the meaning of the text is discussed.
  • EVALUATION: 評價文本
    used to tag episodes where evaluative judgements are made of the text.
  • LANGUAGE: 為了區隔文字運用與小說中的事件與情節建構
    created in order to distinguish references to language use or prose style from references to fictional entities and events.

Hall (2009) review

  • Hall (2009)1) 對此研究的摘要
    • 文學閱讀團體,如何透過談話進行閱讀的社會建構。
      showing literature reading as socially constituted, particularly through talk.
    • 「評估行為」在閱讀團體中是重要的,但被成員彼此謹慎地侷限著。評估行為也是文本語言到真實語言的關鍵轉移機制。
      Evaluation is important for their reading groups, but is carefully hedged and modalized by reader-speakers, and is shown at critical junctures to lead to explicit attention to and appeals to the actual language of the text being read as a displacement device (‘negative politeness’).
    • 團體中的友誼維持,比起否定某一小說更重要。
      Disagreement over a novel is usually subordinated to friendship maintenance work in these groups.


Hall, G. (2009). Texts, readers—and real readers. Language and Literature, 18(3), 331-337.