This thesis is an investigation into the accounting practices by which British and
American expatriates make sense of Western involvement in the Middle East. Based on the analysis of an audio-taped archive of some sixty hours of face-to-face interview
material recorded in Kuwait during a ten-month period in the year immediately
following the Persian Gulf Conflict of 1990-91, this project explores the interactional
work by which speakers situate their conversational contributions in dialogic
anticipation of a range of competing but mutually co-implicative demands for
accountability which they take their talk and their participation in the circumstances
of that talk to entail. Specifically, speakers are seen to manage the productive tension between the competing demands for accountability to conflicting assumptions about the nature of prejudice on the one hand, and the awareness of and/or sensitivity to cultural difference on the other, in and while attending to the situated concerns for their warrant in making the claims that they do and the degree to which they are implicated in those claims in and through the activity of their production. In this way, conflicting assumptions are show to be constitutive of the social practices whereby speakers account for Western involvement abroad.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.