[New publication] “Gua means scrape”: a conversation analysis of identity construction and negotiation in polylogal Wikipedia paratext

By Henry Jones


This article contributes to multidisciplinary research exploring the role played by paratext in the construction of identities. First, it develops a theoretical and methodological framework inspired by recent scholarship on conducting conversation analysis in digital contexts and on the ways in which speakers claim positions of expertise through their turns-at-talk. Next, it presents a case study examining translation-focused discussion forum comments posted within the so-called “Talk” pages that surround the mainspace content of the online user-generated encyclopedia Wikipedia. The analysis highlights the often intensely interactive nature of digital paratext and probes the implications for participants’ identity work: I argue that the polylogal nature of this paratextual space requires the constant negotiation of identities as Wikipedia contributors relentlessly jostle with one another for recognition of their epistemic authority. In the final section, I discuss the implications of this Wikipedia case for broader areas of scholarship on translation and digital paratext.