American Sociological Association

How Do We “Do Gender”? Permeation as Over-Talking and Talking Over

Gendered expectations are imported from the larger culture to permeate small-group discussions, creating conversational inequalities. Conversational roles also emerge from the negotiated order of group interactions to reflect, reinforce, and occasionally challenge these cultural patterns. The authors provide a new examination of conversational overlaps and interruptions. They show how negotiated conversational roles lead a status distinction (gender) to shape conversational inequality. The authors use a mixed-effects logit model to analyze turn taking as it unfolds in task-group discussions, focusing on how previous behavior shapes current interaction. They then use these conversational roles to examine how locally produced interaction orders mediate the relationship between gender and interruptions. The authors find a more complex process than previous research has revealed. Gender influences the history of being interrupted early in an interaction, which changes the ongoing behavioral patterns to create a cumulative conversational disadvantage. The authors then discuss the implications of these group dynamics for interventions.


Bryan C. Cannon, Dawn T. Robinson, and Lynn Smith-Lovin



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