Analysing the significance of silence in qualitative interviewing: Questioning and shifting power relations – University of Copenhagen

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28 February 2017

Analysing the significance of silence in qualitative interviewing: Questioning and shifting power relations

Postdoc Lars Fynbo contributed together with his colleague Tea T. Bengtsson to the journal Qualitative Research with the article 'Analysing the significance of silence in qualitative interviewing: Questioning and shifting power relations'.

In the article Lars Fynbo and Tea T. Bengtsson analyse the significance of silence in qualitative interviews with 36 individuals interviewed about high-risk, illegal activities. They describe how silence expresses a dynamic power relationship between interviewer and interviewee. In the analysis, they focus on two different types of silence: 'silence of the interviewee' and 'silence of the interviewer'. The analyse shows how silence functions as an interviewee’s resistance against being categorized as ‘social deviant’, how an interviewer may use silence strategically, and how silence stemming from an interviewer’s perplexity constructs significant data. Thw conclusion shows that silence constitutes possibilities for interviewees and interviewers to handle the complex power at play in qualitative interviewing either by maintaining or by losing control of the situation.

Lars Fynbo: Analysing the significance of silence in qualitative interviewing: Questioning and shifting power relations in Qualitative Research, 2017