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Desire and sacrifice: Seeking Compliance in Designated Driver Talk

Kathleen S. Valde
Kristine L. Fitch, University of Iowa


Media campaigns introduced the term designated driver to United States discourse in an effort to persuade people to not drink and drive. This study explores implementation of the media campaign's objective in social interactions. We describe cultural premises related to drinking and driving, facework issues in designated driver talk, and relational resources relevant to designating a driver. Although people routinely attempt to designate a driver, interpretations of the term often diverge from the goal of eliminating drunk driving. The findings emphasize that designated driver talk is constructed through interaction sequences, and that problematic issues around face threats and cultural assumptions about drinking and driving should be addressed

Suggested Citation

Kathleen S. Valde and Kristine L. Fitch. "Desire and sacrifice: Seeking Compliance in Designated Driver Talk" Western Journal of Communication 68.2 (2004): 121-150.

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