Reporting Microaggressions: Kinship Carers' Complaints about Identity Slights

Julie Wilkes, Susan Speer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The psychological concept of “microaggression” has refocused interest on what counts as prejudicial action. It redirects attention from standard socio-cognitive explanations of overt prejudice among social groups toward recipients' perspectives of largely unwitting and subtle everyday racism. Microaggression studies define common implicit identity challenges faced by minority groups, including kinship carers. However, criticisms of the “microaggressions program” raise difficulties inherent in establishing prejudicial action from accounts of necessarily ambiguous actions, and contend that reliance on self-reporting inevitably lacks validity. This conversation analytic (CA) study offers a complementary approach: from videos of ten kinship carer support groups it shows how participants construct accountabilities for prejudicial actions in their retrospective reports of questions, challenges and suspicions in ways that build these actions as microaggressive. It addresses methodological shortcomings in microaggression studies, and extends CA research on accountability in offense construction, and on prejudicial social actions that are contested and difficult to analyze.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Early online date28 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2020


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