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Conference Information

Full Title: Activities in Interaction

Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Start Date: 16-Jul-2017 - 21-Jul-2017
Contact: Cornelia Gerhardt
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Abstract:

“Activities in interaction”
Cornelia Gerhardt (Saarland University)/ Elisabeth Reber (University of Würzburg)

This panel conceptualizes the notion “activity” as a perspective on the thick descriptions that challenge researchers when analyzing video-recordings of mundane and institutional interaction. Despite the relevance of activities to the social organization of mundane and institutional interaction (Levinson 1992, 2003), Robinson (2013) notes a “relative lack of clarity and precision regarding the conceptualization and definition of activity as a unit of interaction” (Robinson 2013: 260). This panel intends to shed more light on how activities may be conceptualized and defined, taking a specific interest in the embodied organization of activities across linguistic and socio-cultural communities.

It is commonly agreed that activities are sequences of actions produced and shaped by an overall structural organization which participants orient towards as a coherent whole. Activities may consist of a minimal sequence, i.e. a single adjacency pair, e.g. a greeting (Sacks 1972, Schegloff 2007), or they may come in ‘big packages’ (Sacks 1992 vol. II: 354), i.e. longer, more extended sequences, such as troubles talk (. Participants can engage in ‘multi-activity’, i.e. in more than one activity at the same time, e.g. dinner table conversation (Ch. Goodwin 1984) or telephone calls (Mondada 2008).

The panels brings together contributions that explore the embodied accomplishment of activities in social interaction, at multiple levels and in various settings, drawing on video recordings of naturalistic interaction from these complementary perspectives:

1) The use of specific vocal, verbal, visuo-spatial resources and/or object to shape, orchestrate and constitute an emerging embodied activity, in being functional e.g. in turn-taking and sequence organization; in displaying, managing and negotiating the epistemic access, rights and authority as well as speaker’s source of information; in displaying and making relevant stance. The panel welcomes studies that examine the formal and functional range of such resources.

2) The embodied coordination and organization of (multi-)activities by participants: in accomplishing the beginning and/or end and/or the transition from one activity to another ; in managing the internal organization of the ongoing activity (e.g. Ch. Goodwin 1984, M. Goodwin 1980a,b, Heath 1982, 1984); in orienting to the (changing) participation framework or supra-sequential structures as meaningful steps in the activity at hand (Robinson 2013).

3) A theoretical-methodological discussion about which unit of analysis provides the best grasp on the data, i.e. the bodily conduct or talk (or both?) that provides for the progression and coordination of the activity; how extra technological equipment, e.g. eyetrackers, can help us further our understanding of the forms and functions of gaze across activities and cultures; how we can grasp that both a minimal sequence of adjacency pairs (e.g. assessments) as well as extended tellings where turn-taking is suspended are conceptualized as activities theoretically and methodologically. Contributions should be based on conversation analytic and/or interactional linguistic methods of analysis.

Cornelia Gerhardt, Saarland University
Elisabeth Reber, University of Wurzburg
Linguistic Subfield: Pragmatics
LL Issue: 27.1833

This is a session of the following meeting:
15th International Pragmatics Conference

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