Invoking the complainer’s past transgressions (journal article)

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Create Date 12th February 2018
Last Updated 25th June 2018

This paper examines how a person who is the target of a complaint can undermine the moral entitlement of the complainer to issue that complaint. They do so by invoking the complainer’s own past transgressions. By pointing out an incongruence between the complainer’s current moral stance, as reflected in the complaint, and their status, as evidenced in their past conduct, speakers orient to an expectation of moral status/stance congruence as a basis for the validity of a complaint. My data consist of complaints and rebuttals collected from recorded group meetings within therapeutic communities for the treatment of people recovering from drug misuse. Data are in Italian with English translation.

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