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Information on recently completed PhD's, as well as some less recent ones.

Note: An initiative of the Australasian Institute of Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis: An Ethnomethodology and CA thesis repository.

last additions: 3 August 2014

Yaël Kreplak, (2014). L’œuvre en pratiques: Une approche interactionnelle des activités artistiques et esthétiques. École Normale Supérieure de Lyon. Sous la direction de Lorenza Mondada et Louis Quéré


This PhD dissertation develops an approach to artworks defined as practical accomplishments, drawing on fieldwork observation of the preparation of an exhibition in a center for contemporary art. This study draws on the analytical and theoretical findings of conversation analysis and ethnomethodology to investigate artistic and aesthetic activities. Approaching artworks as practical accomplishments, by analyzing interactions with and around artworks, contributes to redefining artworks as well as artistic and aesthetic activities. The detailed analysis of micro- activities accomplished by art professionals (entering the artwork’s space, giving instructions for installing the artwork, assessing the artwork installation, successively introducing different artworks in the course of a guided tour) allows for the description of the artwork’s constitution as an empirical phenomenon, as can be observed in the exhibition’s ecology and through the interactions between its actors. The study advocates a descriptive approach to social and situated practices which produce artworks. It endeavors to offer an empirical contribution, from a linguistic and sociological perspective, to theoretical debates in aesthetics and, incidentally, to expand the study of art as an interdisciplinary field of research.
Contact details for Yaël:

Rasmus Persson defended his PhD thesis at the Centre for Languages and Literature, Lund University, Sweden, in April 2014. The thesis (written in French) is entitled Ressources linguistiques pour la gestion de l'intersubjectivité dans la parole en interaction: Analyses conversationnelles et phonétiques [Linguistic resources for managing intersubjectivity in talk-in-interaction: Conversation analytic and phonetic studies]. It was supervised by Paul Touati and Richard Ogden.

ISBN: 978-91-7473-886-5 (print) / 978-91-7473-887-2 (pdf). Available online at

The faculty opponent was Lorenza Mondada (University of Basel) and the examining committee was composed of Mathias Broth (Linköping University), Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen (University of Helsinki) and David House (KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm).

Abstract in English:

This dissertation deals with conversational practices through which interactants manage issues of intersubjectivity, i.e. mutual understanding for all practical purposes. Intersubjectivity is understood in a procedural sense, and as built into the infrastructure of interaction, where each next action embodies aspects of how the previous action was understood. This understanding can be inspected by others, and amended where deemed appropriate. Largely, mutual understanding is thus taken for granted and tacitly assumed. However, at times interactants do pay overt attention to managing understandings, and this thesis focuses on three such cases.

The analyses are couched in the framework of conversation analysis (CA), which aims to uncover how participants produce recognizable social actions by means of generic but flexible conversational practices. These practices draw on linguistic resources and other conduct, as well as the sequential position in which the practice is located. The approach taken in this thesis is also characterized by its attention to phonetic detail (including prosodic, articulatory and phonatory aspects of talk) as a resource for action.

Each of the three empirical chapters deals with a particular phenomenon involved in managing intersubjectivity in French talk-in-interaction. The first is concerned with formulations, a way of drawing out the gist of what the interlocutor has just said. These may be used to solicit either mere or elaborate confirmations. The second investigates "ah"-prefaced other-repeats, which acknowledge receipt and claim a renewed understanding, while indexing a previous action as inadequate. The third concentrates on mere other-repeats, and demonstrates that they may either indicate a breakdown in intersubjectivity, or display uptake and thus maintained intersubjectivity.

One of the main findings is that phonetic design is pivotal in specifying the action conveyed by the practices examined, and thus constitutes an integral part of the practices. The results show that the phonetic design of a turn at talk does not straightforwardly map to intersubjective meaning, but is inextricably linked to action and sequential organization.


Rasmus can be contacted at rasmus.persson at

Trevor Benjamin has recently completed his dissertation entitled "Signaling trouble: On the linguistic design of other-initiation of repair in English conversation”. His dissertation is available online at:


This thesis examines how speakers of English signal that they have trouble hearing, understanding or accepting what another person has just said. The principal finding is that speakers regularly offer quite specific diagnoses of the trouble they are having. For instance, by initiating repair with the word “who”, produced with falling intonation, a speaker claims that the trouble is understanding who a pronoun (“he”, “she”, “they””) or similar form (“that guy”) is referring to. This differs from “who” produced with rising intonation, which addresses other types of troubles (e.g., hearing a name used). Similarly, it is shown that by repeating what another person has said, and doing so with high-rise fall intonation, a speaker claims specifically that the repeated item is “wrong” and in need of correction. These and other findings contribute to our understanding of conversational repair in two main, interlocking ways. First, they highlight the linguistic variety one finds among these repair-initiating actions, especially with respect to their prosodic design. Second, by demonstrating the diagnostic consequences of these linguistic choices, this thesis underscores the active role played by the recipient (the repair-initiating speaker) in the process of repairing communicative troubles. The resolution of communicative problems, and hence re-establishment of a shared understanding, is truly an interactional accomplishment. The study draws its data from recordings of 150 hours of naturally occurring conversation, and combines linguistic analysis with the methods and framework of Conversation Analysis.
Keywords: repair, correction, grammar, prosody, echo questions, conversation analysis

Trevor Benjamin can be reached at trevormbenjamin [at]

Alia Amir has recently completed her dissertation entitled "Doing Language Policy: A Micro-Interactional study of policy practices in English as a Foreign Language Classes”. Her research is to do with language policy practices in a Swedish school, and how English-only policy emerges in practice in this particular class. Her dissertation is available online at:


This study investigates foreign language classroom talk and micro-level language policy-in-process from an ethnomethodological conversation analytic perspective. The study is based on 20 hours of video recordings from 20 lessons in an English as a Foreign Language classroom (EFL) in grades 8 and 9 of an international compulsory school in Sweden between the years 2007 and 2010. The main purpose of the study is to shed light on some of the distinguishing features of how a target-language-only policy is materialised in situ in a foreign language classroom. The study demonstrates the relative ease with which teachers and pupils uphold a strict language policy in the classroom, but also the considerable interactional work that is done, by both teachers and pupils, in cases where upholding the policy becomes problematic. An interactional phenomenon which arises in such cases is language policing, where the teacher or pupils restore the policy-prescribed linguistic order. Such sequences are analysed in detail. The study increases our understanding of how language policy is lived out in practice, through interaction in the classroom.

Keywords: conversation analysis, ethnomethodology, language policy, practiced language policy, language policing, classroom discourse, EFL, TEFL, code-switching

Alia Amir [alia.amir [at]] a researcher currently based at Department of Culture and Communication at Linköping University in Sweden.

Karine Lan Hing Ting received her PhD in Sociology from the Département Sciences Economiques et Sociales of Telecom ParisTech in November 2010. Her dissertation entitled Offshoring in action : an analysis of situated practices of work in call centers (La délocalisation en action : une analyse des pratiques situées du travail en centres d’appels) was co-supervised by Christian Licoppe and Bernard Conein.
Committee : Lorenza Mondada, Rosemary Batt, Virginia Teas Gill, Anni Borzeix, Josiane Boutet


This thesis is a naturalistic study of work activity in offshored call centres. Call centers, which serve as an interface between an organization and customers/users, are now present in all spheres of economic activity. In order to reduce costs and gain efficiency, this activity is increasingly outsourced and offshored. One destination for offshoring is Mauritius, where I conducted video-ethnography in two call centers.
Studies within CA on emergency calls and helplines have shown how, through language and social interaction, help or service work is carried out, mediated solely by the telephone. Fewer studies have focused on call centre agents’ multiple streams of activity and how technological tools support multi-activity. This thesis contributes to the workplace studies on teleservice work as an improvisational choreography of action involving talk on the phone and the concurrent utilization of tools: Call centre agents' work consists of a series of complex actions characterized by multi-activity.
My main finding is that, despite repetitiveness in call making and priority given to the call management activity, collaboration between colleagues is dominating. Whether this collaboration is finely coordinated in co-presence through gestures, or mediated technologically, it constitutes another stream of activity which occurs parallel to the 'main' call management activity. Finely analyzing this multi-activity, I show how, most of the time the simultaneous parallel activities are artfully managed or, how sometimes visible disruptions occur in the phone talk.
The second contribution of my thesis is how distance issues are managed in offshored call centres. Time difference, familiarity with geographical places or accent, potentially constitute “problems” and are the object of various managerial decisions. Adopting a communicational perspective focused on analyzing in detail the phone conversation, it appears that distance is not simply “masked”. The invisibility of distance is conversationally achieved, that is, made transparent and non-relevant for the task at hand and for the customer. Mutual understanding between agent and customer is established and maintained, enabling the efficient delivery of service, sequentially organized around the service request and its delivery.

Karine is currently a post-doc researcher in the Tech-CICO team at Université de Technologie de Troyes (UTT), France
Contact : karine.lan[at]

Clair-Antoine Veyrier received his PhD. from the Université Montpellier 3 in November 2012 for his thesis "Les cinq premières minutes: organisation des ouvertures en (web)conférence Analyse de pratiques interactionnelles en réunion professionnelle" (English: 'The first five minutes: organization of openings in (web)conferences Analysis of interactional practices in work meetings') under the supervision of Chantal Charnet (Université Montpellier 3).
Committee: B. Bonu (Université Montpellier 3), C. Licoppe (Télécom Paris ParisTech), L. Mondada (University of Basel), L. Sanmiguel (Expert)


This research aims at analyzing members’ interactional procedures interrelated with technology in professional distant work meetings. Webconference is a kind of audioconference system enhanced by web features allowing the users to manage the gathering, to chat, and to share screen, presentation, documents or applications.
Based on video recordings of naturally occurring webconferences in work setting, the thesis analyzes how members take into account the specificities of the sociotechnical environment and mobilize verbal, nonverbal, and artefactual resources in order to accomplish situated actions.
The study analyzes the complex transitional accomplishment of entering the meeting when opening the session. I examine how specific sequences reconfigure the way a meeting is opened and how the frame participation emerges in this specific distant setting. Opening and sustaining social relations in webconferences (and audioconferences as well) are not produced anymore within the model of a dyadic telephone call, where the ring produces a summons which makes relevant the standardized relational pair caller/called and organizes the call. Webconference is based on the model of the entrance. I analyze the repertoire of practices used by members to achieve the entrance into the meeting. I examine how a new standardized relational pair participant/moderator is made relevant to achieve and organize talk. At last I study systematic and multimodal procedures to delay the start of the meeting (pre-meeting) and to achieve a transition toward its beginning.
Key words: webconference; opening; entrance; pre-meeting; work meeting; conversation analysis.


Ce travail de thèse se donne pour objectif d’analyser des pratiques interactionnelles de réunions professionnelles en interrelation avec les technologies. La webconférence est un système de réunion à la convergence de l’audioconférence et d’un support web permettant de gérer la réunion, de chatter, de partager des applications, un écran, des présentations ou des documents.
En nous appuyant sur une collection d’enregistrements audiovisuels de situations réelles d’usage de webconférences, nous analysons comment les participants tiennent compte des spécificités de l’environnement sociotechnique et mobilisent les ressources (verbales, non-verbales, artefactuelles) dans l’organisation située de leurs actions.
Nous traitons l’organisation transitionnelle complexe de l’entrée en réunion à l’ouverture de la séance. Nous montrons comment des séquences spécifiques reconfigurent les ouvertures des réunions et nous interrogeons les spécificités des cadres de participation qui émergent dans ces dispositifs. La mise en relation des personnes par webconférence ou audioconférence se produit sur le modèle de l’entrée et non plus sur celui de la sommation qui distribue les identités d’appelant et d’appelé dans les appels dyadiques. C’est d’abord le répertoire de pratiques pour « entrer en réunion » qui fait l’objet de notre analyse. Nous examinons ensuite la paire relationnelle standardisée participant/modérateur vers laquelle les membres s’orientent pour organiser la parole à l’entrée. Enfin, nous étudions les procédures systématiques et multimodales pour retarder le début de l’activité (la pré-réunion) et pour accomplir une transition vers l’activité de réunion.

Clair-Antoine Veyrier can be reached at:

Ulrike E. Schröder  received her Ph.D. in November 2011, based on her Dissertation:  "Veränderung von Deutungsmustern und Schemata der Erfahrung: depressive Patienten in der Interaktion klinischer Psychotherapie" (engl.:  "Change of interpretative schemes and schemes of experience: depressive patients in the interaction of clinical psychotherapy")  under the supervision of Jörg R. Bergmann. Department of Sociology, Bielefeld University, Germany
Her Dissertation is published as:
Ulrike E. Schröder (2012/2013): Veränderung von Deutungsmustern und Schemata der Erfahrung: depressive Patienten in der Interaktion klinischer Psychotherapie. Wiesbaden: VS- Verlag Springer Research
ISBN 978-3-531-19618-3
eBook:   ISBN 978-3-531-19618-0

By analyzing therapeutic talks my study approaches a cognitive cultural sociology. The study's key issue investigates how and under which conditions a change of interpretative schemes and schemes of experience can take place. It also discusses which components and dynamics are vital for the process of change and which practices the therapists' use in order to effect change in the patient. By means of Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis I investigated various observation levels and linguistic means for the observation of such processes of change. Furthermore, the study develops two theoretical concepts: a concept for the distinction of cognition and communication, and a concept of (cognitive) processes of change and their conditions.

Ulrike can be reached at: ulrike.schroeder [at]

Olcay Sert has obtained his PhD degree in Educational and Applied Linguistics from Newcastle University (UK), School of Education, Communication, and Language Sciences for a thesis on A Micro-analytic Investigation of Claims of Insufficient Knowledge in EAL Classrooms; Supervisors: Steve Walsh and Paul Seedhouse

This PhD thesis primarily investigates the interactional unfolding and management of students’ claims and teachers’ interpretations of insufficient knowledge in two ‘English as an Additional Language’ classrooms from a multi-modal, conversation analytic perspective.  The analyses draw on a close, micro-analytic account of turn-taking practices, repair, and preference organisation as well as various multi-semiotic resources the participants enact during talk-in-interaction including gaze, gestures, body movements, and orientations to classroom artefacts. In this respect, this is the first study to investigate claims of insufficient knowledge (e.g. I don’t knows) from a multimodal perspective. Furthermore, although the phenomenon has been investigated from a CA perspective in casual talk and institutional interactions (e.g. Beach and Metzger 1997), this is the first study thus far to thoroughly examine students’ claims and teachers’ interpretations of insufficient knowledge in educational contexts, and in particular in instructed language learning environments, where English is taught as an additional language.

The research draws upon transcriptions of 16 (classroom) hours of video recordings, which were collected over a six-week period in 2010 in a public school in a multilingual setting; Luxembourg. The findings show that establishing recipiency (Mortensen 2009) through mutual gaze and turn allocation practices have interactional and pedagogical consequences that may lead to claims of insufficient knowledge. The findings also illustrate various multi-modal resources the students use (e.g. gaze movements, facial gestures, and headshake) to initiate embodied claims of no knowledge and that are a focus of orientation for the teacher to interpret insufficient knowledge by initiating ‘epistemic status checks’. Finally, it is suggested that certain interactional resources (e.g. embodied vocabulary explanations, Designedly Incomplete Utterances) deployed by the teacher after a student’s claim of insufficient knowledge may lead to student engagement, which is a desirable pedagogical goal. The findings of this thesis have implications for the analysis of insufficient knowledge, teaching, and language teacher education. It also has direct implications for L2 Classroom Interactional Competence (Walsh 2006) and the effect of teachers’ language use on student participation.

Olcay Sert works in the Division of English Language Teaching, Department of Foreign Language Education, Faculty of Education, Hacettepe University, Beytepe/Ankara, 06800
Türkiye, and can be reacht at: osert [at]

Stuart Ekberg has recently had his doctoral thesis on ‘Making Arrangements: Remote Proposal Sequences and Attendant Structural Phenomena in Social Interaction’ accepted in the School of Psychology at the University of Adelaide. Supervisors: Amanda LeCouteur & Shona Crabb


In this thesis, I contribute to the study of how arrangements are made in social interaction. Using conversation analysis, I examine a corpus of 375 telephone calls between employees and clients of three Community Home Care (CHC) service agencies in metropolitan Adelaide, South Australia. My analysis of the CHC data corpus draws upon existing empirical findings within conversation analysis in order to generate novel findings about how people make arrangements with one another, and some of the attendant considerations that parties to such an activity can engage in:

Prospective informings as remote proposals for a future arrangement – Focusing on how employees make arrangements with clients, I show how the employees in the CHC data corpus use ‘prospective informings’ to detail a future course of action that will involve the recipient of that informing. These informings routinely occasion a double-paired sequence, where informers pursue a response to their informing. This pursuit often occurs even after recipients have provided an initial response. This practice for making arrangements has been previously described by Houtkoop (1987) as ‘remote proposing.’ I develop Houtkoop’s analysis to show how an informing of a future arrangement can be recompleted, with response solicitation, as a proposal that is contingent upon a recipient’s acceptance.

Participants’ understanding of references to non-present third parties – In the process of making arrangements, references are routinely made to non-present third parties. In the CHC data corpus, these third parties are usually care workers. Prior research (e.g., Sacks & Schegloff, 1979; Schegloff, 1996b) explains how the use of ‘recognitional references’ (such as the bare name ‘Kerry’), conveys to recipients that they should be able to locate the referent from amongst their acquaintances. Conversely, the use of ‘non-recognitional references’ (such as the description ‘a lady called Kerry’), conveys that recipients are unacquainted with the referent. I examine instances where the selection of a recognitional or non-recognitional reference form is followed by a recipient initiating repair on that reference. My analysis provides further evidence that the existing analytic account of these references corresponds to the way in which participants themselves make sense of them. My analysis also advances an understanding of how repair can be used, by recipients, to indicate the inappositeness of a prior turn.

Post-possible-completion accounts – In a case study of a problematic interaction, I examine a misunderstanding that is not resolved within the repair space, the usual defence of intersubjectivity in interaction (cf. Schegloff, 1992b). Rather, I explore how the source of trouble is addressed, outside of the sequence of its production, with a ‘post-possible-completion account.’ This account specifies the basis of a misunderstanding and yet, unlike repair, does so without occasioning a revised response to a trouble-source turn.

By considering various aspects of making arrangements in social interaction, I highlight some of the rich order that underpins the maintenance of human relationships across time. In the concluding section of this thesis I review this order, while also discussing practical implications of this analysis for CHC practice.

Stuart Ekberg is now a Research Fellow, at the Medical Education Development Unit (MEDU), School of Medicine, University of Southampton, U.K. S.Ekberg [at]

Katie Simmons received her PhD from the School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, Australia, for her thesis: Resisting behavioural change: Proposal-resistance sequences in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions for clients with depression, supervised by: Amanda LeCouteur & Shona Crabb

The thesis examines some of the standard ways in which therapists attempt to initiate behavioural change in clients attending Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) sessions for the treatment of depression, and highlights the interactional consequences that follow from such attempts.

CBT is one of the most widely used treatments for depression across the Western world. Previous research on the use of CBT for depression has largely involved outcome studies that measure the overall effectiveness of this form of treatment. These studies have not examined the specific aspects of CBT practice that allow therapists and clients to accomplish particular therapeutic goals. The analysis undertaken in this thesis was concerned with identifying the different ways by which therapists accomplished one specific CBT practice – that of behavioural activation.

Conversation analysis (CA) was used to analyse a corpus of 20 naturally-occurring CBT sessions involving clients diagnosed with depression. The sessions were recorded at the Centre for the Treatment of Depression and Anxiety (CTAD) in Adelaide, a university-affiliated teaching clinic that specializes in CBT treatment. Sessions were one-on-one with the therapist and client, and typically lasted one hour.

The analysis showed that when therapists approached the practice of behavioural activation by proposing their own suggestions for behavioural change - in what might be referred to as a non-collaborative manner - widespread client resistance ensued. That is, turns in which therapists proposed their own suggestions for change recurrently led to resistance from clients. This pattern was noted, even though in each instance, therapists displayed subordinate epistemic authority within their turn design. In contrast, when therapists approached behavioural activation via questioning and the use of collaborative turn designs, such as gist formulations and collaborative completions, the sequence typically appeared to run off without a hitch.

The analysis also demonstrated patterns in the way that clients typically produced resistance to therapists’ proposals for behavioural change. Clients commonly drew, first, upon premonitory resistance resources (withholding a response or initiating repair), before producing one of four types of ‘resistive accounts’. It was shown that clients’ resistance turns were not only designed to reject therapists’ proposals but also to display resistance to more subtle implications carried within the proposals, and to display their epistemic authority over the matter at hand, relative to the therapist.

Finally, the analysis showed how therapists and clients managed clients’ resistance to therapists’ proposals for behavioural activation in the way that they exited the proposal-resistance sequence. By transitioning into a troubles-telling before therapists had properly responded to their resistance, clients’ resistance was left without immediate sequential consequentiality in the interaction.

These findings are discussed in relation to their implications for the field of conversation analysis and for CBT theory and practice.

Katie Simmons' current position: Research Fellow in the School of Medicine, University of Southampton, UK

E. Sean Rintel received his PhD from the University at Albany, State University of New York in 2010; Committee: Anita Pomerantz (Chair), Teresa Harrison, Glenna Spitze,
Ronald Jacobs

Abstract: The limitations of home Internet connections make Personal Videoconferencing (PV) interaction vulnerable to network trouble. This dissertation explores how novice couples collaboratively manage PV network trouble so as to carry on their conversation. It is found that transmission/reception and their perturbations are material frames for participant action, but participants are free to treat this frame as an interactional resource. Couples enact both remedial and non-remedial reactions to PV network trouble, tending to emphasize conversational continuity and minimize their focus on technology unless invoking technology has a bearing on continuity. It is argued that Communication Technology research should treat network trouble as a common and fundamental constraint, and participant concern, in all Communication Technologies.

Keywords: Personal videoconferencing, network trouble, conversation, continuity, novice, couples, home

Current Position: School of English, Media Studies, and Art History, The University of Queensland, Australia.

Contact: s.rintel [AT]

Marjolein Deunk received her PhD in December 2009 for her dissertation Discourse Practices in Preschool. Young Children’s Participation in Everyday Classroom Activities. Department of Speech Communication and Discourse Analysis, University of Groningen, the Netherlands.

Dutch preschools intend to increase the learning opportunities for children from 2½ to 4 years of age by providing them with new experiences and by stimulating social-emotional and cognitive development. To be able to understand how children learn and develop in preschool, it is important to get a grip on the interactions children are involved in during their days at school. This dissertation aims to add to an understanding of what children can learn by participating in everyday preschool activities and interactions and how children are socialized into the routines, procedures and ways of talking in the classroom.

In this longitudinal study, 30 children are followed from age 2½ to 4. Children’s natural interactions during everyday classroom activities were collected by letting them wear a special jacket with a wireless recoding device inside. The audio recordings were combined with video recordings and transcribed using Jeffersonian conventions. Four key activities were selected for micro analysis: pretend play, mundane literacy events, borrowing a book and closing a crafts assignment. The analyses of children’s interactions during these activities show how they are a context for children to learn to use language and to learn to participate in educational activities and routines.

Dissertation avalable at:

Marjolein is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Groningen Institute for Educational Research (GION) of the University of Groningen. She can be reached at m.i.deunk at,

Götz Schwab has received his PhD in 2008 for a thesis on Gesprächsanalyse und Fremdsprachenunterricht from the University of Education in Ludwigsburg, Germany

It has been published in 2009 by: Landauer Schriften zur Kommunikations- und Kulturwissenschaft, Bd. 16, ISBN 978-3-941320-16-1, 436 S., E 34,90


Das fremdsprachliche Klassenzimmer ist ein Ort, an dem institutionelle Gespräche stattfinden. Die Gesprächsforschung hat sich schon seit Längerem der Aufgabe gestellt, solche Interaktionen genauer zu untersuchen. Was sich allerdings im angelsächsischen Raum unter der Überschrift Conversation Analysis for Second Language Acquisition etabliert hat, konnte bisher im deutschsprachigen Raum nur sehr eingeschränkt Fuß fassen. Hier schließt die Arbeit eine Lücke, indem sie einem Paradigma folgt, welches die unterrichtliche Interaktion als konstitutives Element sprachlichen Lernens und Handelns erachtet und mikroanalytisch untersucht.

Neben einer konsequent konversationsanalytischen Herangehens -weise fokussiert die Arbeit aber auch auf die besondere Klientel vermeintlich schwächerer Schülerinnen und Schüler, wie sie insbeson -dere in Hauptschulen zu finden sind. Dabei werden weniger deren Defizite als ihre Fähigkeiten und Kompetenzen herausgearbeitet, die sich vor allem in dem manifestieren, was der Autor als Schülerinitiative bezeichnet und in den analytischen Mittelpunkt stellt.


Vorwort / Einleitung

I. Zum theoretischen Hintergrund

1. Fremdsprachenunterricht an Hauptschulen
1.1. ,Englisch für alle' und die Entwicklung einer hauptschulspezifischen Fremdsprachendidaktik
1.2. Eine hauptschulgemäße Fremdsprachendidaktik
1.3. Die Ausdifferenzierung des Methodenkanons
1.4. Ausgewählte Forschungsarbeiten
1.5. Mündlichkeit als Basis des Fremdsprachenunterrichts mit lernschwachen Schülern

2. Interaktion und Partizipation im Fremdsprachenunterricht
2.1. Interaktion
2.2. Partizipation
2.3. Zur Bedeutung der Interaktion für den schulischen Spracherwerb
2.4. Interaktion und Partizipation - eine soziokulturelle Perspektive

3. Konversationsanalyse und Unterrichtsforschung
3.1. Die Konversationsanalyse - eine Begriffsbestimmung
3.2. Zur Genese einer wissenschaftlichen Disziplin
3.3. Grundsätzliche Prinzipien der Konversationsanalyse
3.4. Gesprächsforschung und Zweitspracherwerb

II. Konzeption der Untersuchung
4. Aufbau und Durchführung
4.1. Fragestellung und Zielsetzung
4.2. Auswahl und Beschreibung der Forschungssubjekte
4.3. Durchführung der Untersuchung

5. Beteiligungsstrukturen im lehrerzentrierten Unterrichtsdiskurs
5.1. Die Verteilung des Rederechts
5.2. Gesprächsinitiative als wichtiges Merkmal schulischer Diskurse

III. Schülerbeteiligung im Fremdsprachenunterricht
6. Gesprächsinitiativen durch die Lehrperson
6.1. Der pädagogische Austausch als Hauptmerkmal der Lehrer-Schüler-Interaktion
6.2. Nachbarschaftspaare in lehrerinitiierten Sequenzen
6.3. Die Rahmung (framing) - Sequenzielle Markierungen durch die Lehrkraft
6.4. Zusammenfassung: Die Lehrerinitiative

7. Gesprächsinitiativen von Schülerseite
7.1. Thematische Einordnung
7.2. Die Schülerinitiative in der Literatur
7.3. Zur Kategorisierung von Schülerinitiativen in lehrerzentrierten Diskursen
7.4. Sequenzielle Positionierung
7.5. Semantische Positionierung
7.6. Relationale Positionierung
7.7. Räumlich-interaktionale Positionierung
7.8. Die Schülerinitiative - eine Gesamtschau

8. Ausgewählte Sequenztypen innerhalb der lehrerzentrierten Unterrichtskommunikation
8.1. Schülerinitiative in eingebetteten Sequenzen
8.2. Negotiation of meaning
8.3. Zusammenfassung: Sequenzmuster im lehrerzentrierten Unterrichtsdiskurs

9. Reparatursequenzen im Fremdsprachenunterricht
9.1. Begriffsklärung
9.2. Fehler, Feedback und Fehlerkorrektur im Kontext fremdsprachendidaktischer Überlegungen und Erkenntnisse
9.3. Reparatur aus Sicht der Gesprächsforschung
9.4. Zu Feedback, Fehlern und Reparaturen im Korpus der Untersuchung
9.5. Zusammenfassung: Reparatursequenzen im Fremdsprachenunterricht

IV. Zusammenschau
10. Untersuchungsergebnisse und Ausblick
10.1. Zielsetzung der Untersuchung
10.2. Diskussion der Ergebnisse
10.3. Offene Fragen und weitere Forschungsdesiderate
10.4. Zur Zukunft des Fremdsprachenunterrichts mit (lern)schwachen Schülern

Literaturverzeichnis / Anhang

The author:

Der Verfasser studierte die Fächer Englisch, Geschichte und ev. Theologie / Religionspädagogik für das Lehramt an Grund- und Hauptschulen. Nach 5-jähriger Lehrtätigkeit an einer Hauptschule wechselte er an die Pädagogische Hochschule Ludwigsburg, um im Fach Englisch zu promovieren. Er ist heute Leiter der Geschäftsstelle des Forschungsverbunds Hauptschule der Pädagogischen Hochschulen in Baden-Württemberg und zudem im Fach Englisch der PH tätig.

Götz Schwab can be reached at Schwab [at]

Emily F. Rine received a PhD from Penn State University in 2009. Her dissertation, entitled Development in Dialogic Teaching Skills: A Micro-Analysis of a Pre-Service ITA, was supervised by Joan Kelly Hall. Addition committee members were Steven L. Thorne, Meredith Doran, Paula Golombek (University of Florida), and Johannes Wagner (Univ. of Southern Denmark).


As universities have come to depend increasingly on international, non-native English-speaking graduate students to teach many of the undergraduate courses, they have created International Teaching Assistant (ITA) programs in order to provide ITAs with the cultural, pedagogical, and linguistic skills needed to instruct in an American university setting. While research has contributed much to the discovery of linguistic factors affecting ITA effectiveness and has argued for greater attention to pedagogy and cultural training in ITA courses, few studies have investigated what the development of these pedagogical skills actually looks like in training, or traced the changes ITAs make in order to become more recognizably teacher-like. This has left a rather large gap in the literature between the design phase of ITA training programs and their actual practices in the classroom.

This dissertation investigates what pedagogical skills one pre-service ITA develops in one particular practice during a semester-long training course. The practice of interest is the dialogic lecture, which is a particular kind of interactive lecture that seeks to engage or 'dialogue with' the students in discussion during class time. The corpus of analyzed data is comprised of four instances of one pre-service ITA's participation in the practice of dialogic teaching for a total of 29 minutes of interaction collected over a period of 8 weeks. In the study, I utilize a framework of language socialization in tandem with a theoretically compatible framework of language use, interactional competence (IC). The IC framework is interested in the description of interactive practices and the resources individuals utilize to participate in them. Using primarily conversation analysis (CA), I investigate two components of the IC framework (i.e. action sequencing and participant frameworks) in order to capture the dynamic unfolding of the specific practice of the dialogic lecture, as well has how the patterns of participants' participation in this practice changes over time.

The analysis of the component of action sequencing showed several changes in the ways the ITA structured and performed the sequences in the dialogic lecture. First, the ITA became more attentive to the importance of establishing and maintaining engagement and rapport with his students during both the opening and closing sections of the lecture through attention to verbal greetings, leave takings, eye contact, and body positioning. He also became more explicit in the discourse markers and announcements used to signal transitions between sections of the lecture, indicating increasing awareness of the importance of organizational markers to lecture clarity. Lastly, he showed an increasing repertoire of verbal leave taking phrases. In terms of development in participant frameworks, changes were found in the ITA's orientation to the roles of teacher versus student three different areas: (1) increases in the use of classroom-specific language, (2) leave-taking practices, and (3) spatial and non-verbal orientation to the "teacher" space. These changes provide evidence of the ITA becoming more recognizably teacher-like over the course of the semester.

This study contributes to the literature in several areas. First, it presents evidence of how development can be traced longitudinally using CA, thereby expanding the methods of inquiry one can use to study learning. Second, it illustrates how we can expand the object of analysis of what is learned in terms of interactional resources. Third, it shows how using a framework of IC expands what we know about how identity is locally constructed and displayed in interaction. Finally, it informs ITA educators by demonstrating how institutional constraints can affect dialogicality and by adding interactional competence to the areas in which ITAs are evaluated, thus shifting the discourse from one of ITA "deficits" to one of ITAs as skilled interlocutors who manage the resources they do have with their interlocutors in dynamic ways.

Emily F. Rine is a Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at Penn State University. She can be contacted at efr108 (at) psu (dot) edu

Hellene Demosthenous received her Ph.D. in October 2008 from Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia for the dissertation, On the organisation of turn-taking for deep hypnosis. Supervisors Rod Gardner, Calvin Smith and Boni Robertson (Griffith University). Examiners Anssi Peräkylä (University of Helsinki) and Joanna Rendle-Short (Australian National University).


Research indicates that professionals have been unable to agree on what hypnosis is, and on how it should be studied. In an effort to solve this problem, some researchers have called for the investigation of the interaction between the parties (i.e., the hypnotist and the subject). Others have constructively cautioned that further research with highly accomplished hypnotic subjects is essential. However, to date no studies have examined actual talk-in-interaction during deep hypnosis - that is, between the hypnotist and the highly accomplished hypnotic subject. Drawing on conversation analysis (CA), this study examines talk-in-interaction during deep hypnosis. This examination focuses on the ways in which the participants organise taking turns to talk, while the client remains deeply hypnotised.

Unlike traditional studies of hypnosis, this study sets aside preconceived theories and conceptual categories of the phenomenon under investigation. It explores the phenomenon in fine detail and assumes that no order of detail can simply be dismissed a priori, as disorderly, or accidental, or irrelevant. In so doing, the study questions established understandings in the field of hypnosis and raises new issues for consideration about the ways in which turn-taking practices contribute to the accomplishment of deep hypnosis.

This study joins other conversation analytic studies with an interest in examining the organisation of turn-taking (in conversational and institutional settings). The study extends previous examinations of turn-taking in two ways. First, the study enters nonvocal data into the turn-taking rules. Second, the study considers turn-taking in a new domain for conversation analytic investigation.

The data for this study consists of audiovisual recordings of naturally occurring (i.e. non-experimental) interaction in real world clinical hypnosis session, which is consistent with calls by clinicians and some researchers of hypnosis. These recordings are transcribed using the notation system that was originally developed by Jefferson. Numerous examples and illustrations accompany the analyses. This provides the reader of the thesis with a means by which to check the validity of the claims being made, which is also consistent with calls by some researchers of hypnosis.

The thesis has two analytic chapters. These chapters propose and account for a model for the turn-taking organisation for deep hypnosis. This model represents a transformation of the model for the turn-taking organisation for ordinary conversation, as first discussed in Sacks, Schegloff and Jefferson (1974) for speech and transition relevance place oriented turn-taking activities and Goodwin (1981) for gaze and some other aspects of the construction of the turn at talk. Comparisons are sketched with the turn-taking organisations for other speech-exchange systems.

The analytic chapters in this thesis show that the turn-taking system for deep hypnosis can be described in terms of a turn constructional component, a turn allocational component and a set of rules. These chapters also show that a number of grossly apparent facts about deep hypnosis place constraints upon its system, and that the turn-taking system for deep hypnosis accounts for the facts about deep hypnosis, both those which are grossly apparent and others which are far less apparent.

A concluding discussion of the major findings of the study shows that a model for the turn-taking organisation for deep hypnosis can be characterised as locally managed across levels of awareness, hypnotist-administered across levels of awareness, interactionally controlled across levels of awareness, and recipient designed across levels of awareness, that is, across conscious and unconscious states of mind. These findings support theories of hypnosis which conceptualise the phenomenon in terms of an altered state of consciousness. The discussion highlights the significance and implications of these findings for policy, theory, research and practice. Limitations of the study are outlined. Finally, the study concludes with some directions for future research to build on this exploratory work, which establishes that the organisation of turn-taking is fundamental to deep hypnosis, and thus to our understanding of how deep hypnosis actually works.

Contact: Hellene can be contacted at h dot demosthenous at griffith dot edu dot au

Catherine Demosthenous received her Ed.D in July 2008 based on a dissertation, Race Matters in Talk in Interracial Interaction at the Faculty of Education, Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, under the supervision of Prof Rod Gardner, Prof Boni Robertson and University Elder-in-Residence, Aunty Delmae Barton.


Contemporary research indicates that Indigenous people are under-represented in the Australian higher education sector and that on-campus university relations and communications between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous persons may be a problem. However, actual talk in interaction between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians in university settings has not been examined. Drawing on Ethnomethodology (EM) and its analytic methods, Conversation Analysis (CA) and Membership Categorisation Analysis (MCA), this study examines interaction between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous persons, who are participating in a focus group activity discussing experiences of university in a university setting in Australia.

Data are audio-recordings of non-contrived focus group interaction between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous persons. These are transcribed using the Jeffersonian transcription system.

This study's examination of linguistic, conversational and categorial resources shows that race matters to experiences of university. Application of the inclusive/exclusive distinction to an examination of 'we' in retrospective accounts distinguishes the categories of person that participants include in their experiences of university. Primarily it shows that these Indigenous participants report sharing university experiences with racial co-members, that is, with other Indigenous persons. On rare occasions when Indigenous participants did include Non-Indigenous persons as co-members in shared experiences, they did so to emphasise their isolation within racial cross-member tutorial-classes.

In contrast, these Non-Indigenous participants report sharing university experiences with persons from a range of categories. Non-Indigenous participants were found shifting the talk from race matters to non-race matters. This allowed Non-Indigenous participants a turn-at-talk, and was found to diffuse potentially adverse consequences resulting from using race as a category in recounting experiences. Further, the study shows Non-Indigenous participants distance and disalign themselves from the problem of Non-Indigenous people, and therefore from assuming responsibility for racist actions reportedly perpetrated by members of their own racial groups.

As these Indigenous and Non-Indigenous participants discuss sensitive race matters, they manage to align and agree with each other. They accomplish this by organising their talk with a preference for agreement; all the while, assembling a social world in which race matters in significant and sundry ways.

Catherine can be reached at: Griffith University, Nathan QLD 4111 Australia; C.Demosthenous [at]

Tamah Sherman received her Ph.D. based on her dissertation, Proselyting in First-Contact Situations, in December 2007 at the Department of Linguistics, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, under the supervision of Jirí Nekvapil.


This study explores the process of proselyting as methodically accomplished, learned, continually developed in particular situations, and reflected by American Mormon missionaries in the Czech Republic. The analysis is guided by four research questions: 1) How do missionaries "do" proselyting such that it is recognizable to them for what it is? 2) What interactional work constitutes this process, and how is this work done through the interplay of the organization of sequence, preference, topic and category? 3) How do the participants in these proselyting situations make relevant the given setting, in this case characterized by the contact between Czech (local) and American (foreign) languages and cultures? 4) How do the individual missionaries and their church "behave toward language", i.e. how do they manage language and cultural competence and their manifestations through and for the purpose of engaging in proselyting interactions? Recorded and transcribed first-contact public proselyting situations are used as the primary data in this study, supported to a lesser degree by participant observation, field notes, so-called interaction and follow-up interviews, and document analysis. Ethnomethodology, or the study of members' methods for producing and recognizing features of talk, activities, or settings, is the main theoretical approach. Conversation Analysis, Membership Categorization Analysis, and Language Management Theory are used as the primary analytical tools.

"Obracení na víru" jako komunikacní problém: situace prvního kontaktu


Práce se zabývá „obracením na víru" jakoto verbálním procesem, který „metodicky" uskutecnují, ucí se, situacne adaptují a reflektují americtí mormonstí misionári v Ceské republice. Analýza se zameruje na ctyri výzkumné otázky: 1) Jak misionári „delají" obracení na víru a jak je tento proces jakozto práve takový v rozhovoru rozpoznáván? 2) Jaká interakcní práce konstituuje tento proces a jak se na ní podílejí sekvencní, preferencní, tematická a kategoriální organizace rozhovoru? 3) Jak mluvcí v situacích obracení na víru ciní relevantním dané prostredí, které se vyznacuje kontaktem cestiny a anglictiny, resp. ceské (domácí) a americké (cizí) kultury? 4) Jak se jednotliví misionári a jejich církev „chovají vuci jazyku", jak „spravují" svou jazykovou a kulturní kompetenci a jejich manifestace prostrednictvím a za úcelem obracení na víru? Výchozími daty této studie jsou nahrané a transkribované interakce a terénní poznámky ze zúcastneného pozorování; v mensí míre vyuívám tzv. interakcní interview, následná interview a analýzu dokumentu. Hlavním teoretickým prístupem je etnometodologie neboli analýza metod, jejich pomocí aktéri produkují a intepretují ruzné aspekty rozhovoru, aktivit nebo prostredí. Analytický aparát se opírá o konverzacní analýzu, clenskou kategorizacní analýzu a teorii jazykového managementu.

Tamah Sherman is currently a post-doctoral researcher at Department of Linguistics, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.

E-mail: tamah.sherman [at]

Anne Preston received her PhD, The contribution of interaction to learner motivation in the modern foreign language classroom at the University of Southampton, UK under the supervision of Prof Rosamond Mitchell;. her external examiner was Prof Paul Seedhouse.


Motivation is an area of language learning where researchers and practitioners share a vested interest. A major question arising out of second language learning (L2) motivation research in recent years is how to conceptualise and measure its situated dimensions. A lack of development in methodological approaches and conceptualisations which continue to treat L2 motivation as a cognitive and unobservable construct mean that addressing such issues is not straightforward. This study investigates how L2 motivation is collaboratively achieved in the moment-to-moment dynamics of L2 learning and teaching practices. It takes situated classroom interaction as its focus. It uses Conversation Analysis as a methodological tool to document a range of interactional practices, centring on hand-raising, so as to engage with L2 motivational processes in and across time. The empirical setting is a Year 9 French classroom in the UK which offers a distinctive and discrete location for the research, and is the subject of a year-long case study.

Through an inductive analytical framework, L2 motivation is conceptualised as a characteristic of context. The notion of participation is used as a way of aligning L2 motivation and interaction, in which L2 motivation is treated as both the product and the process of motivational experience. The findings reveal how L2 motivation in the language classroom develops through individual orientations to the nature of learning tasks through interaction. These learning tasks foster specific social displays of L2 motivational states which have a role in promoting L2 motivational development for some students but not, it is suggested, for others. This study contributes to increased understandings about the development of L2 motivation by stretching the boundaries of methodological and theoretical treatments in the field to incorporate localised formations of L2 motivation experience. It also provides new insights into the role of hand-raising in the language classroom and into general motivational issues in MFL teaching practices.

Please contact Anne Preston at prestonanne [at] for more information

Geneviève Maheux-Pelletier earned her PhD from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006. Her dissertation, entitled Face-to-Face Interaction in the Multilingual Workplace: Linguistic, Social, and Political Aspects of Language Use in Montréal, was co-supervised by Andrea Golato and Douglas Kibbee.


This dissertation explores language choice decisions of female, working-class immigrants in an on-the-job training center specialized in industrial sewing in Montréal. It aims at describing how Arabic and Bengali speakers use language to maintain or cross cultural boundaries at work. The distributional patterns of the conversational data show that there are different sets of norms regulating language selection on the worksite. Among immigrants, language boundaries are largely maintained: workers overwhelmingly interact with members of their own linguistic group in a language other than French or English. A sequential analysis of the occasional L2 conversations shows that interaction between groups serves two purposes: 1) collaboration on work-related issues and 2) negotiation –– and mostly maintenance –– of cultural boundaries through their L2. These choices are explained in terms of localized language practices and larger issues connected to language ideologies and economic control, using interview data with government officials union representatives. It is hypothesized that since immigrants’ ability to fully integrate the linguistic marketplace remains inadequate, this unequal distribution of language resources encourages minority groups to develop parallel linguistic / economic markets.

Geneviève Maheux-Pelletier is Assistant Professor of French Applied Linguistics & Coordinator of the French Language Program, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
genevieve [at]

Marta Gonzalez-Lloret received her Ph.D. in August 2008 from the department of Second Language Studies at University of Hawai''i, Manoa, for the dissertation, ''No Me Llames De Usted, Trátame De Tú'': L2 Address Behavior Development Through Synchronous Computer-Mediated Communication. The dissertation was supervised by Prof. Gabriele Kasper.

The dissertation explores the potential of synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC) to promote pragmatic competence among language learners in a higher education context. Specifically, the development of their L2 address system and their interactive resources to display closeness when engaged in communication with L1 speakers. Through Conversation Analysis (CA), the sequential organization of SCMC between L1 speakers of Spanish and L2 Spanish learners was analyzed to discover what type of address behavior they exhibited, as well as documenting any change in their pragmalinguistic resources and patterns of interaction. Eight weeks of SCMC between US students of Spanish and L1 Spanish speakers in Spain were microanalyzed through Conversation Analysis. The data illustrate how students engaged in organized meaningful interaction, employing a turn-taking system borrowed from oral communication but re-shaped and adapted to the medium, much in the same way that L1 speakers do.

As for address behavior, the data revealed that L1 speakers consistently used informal pronouns and verb morphology, while employing a variety of resources to do ''being close''. The learners'' data presented two distinctive groups. The first displayed large variety in their use of formal and informal address forms. A longitudinal exploration revealed that, in order for learners to develop proficiency in the use of the Spanish address system, a minimum amount of interaction is needed. The students'' knowledge of the address system at the beginning of the study may also be a determinant on the ratio of development, as well as personal attitude and their first language. In addition, learning seemed to happen when there was explicit focus on the address forms. For those students that already used informal address behavior at the onset of the study, the data revealed that students developed a variety of resources to do ''being close'' in the co-construction of interaction with collaborative L1 speakers. The findings suggest that SCMC can be a valuable tool for the development of the Spanish system, especially in context with limited access to L1 speakers and other resources vital for the development of L2 address behavior.

Contact: Marta is currently working at the Spanish division of the LLEA department at the University of Hawai''i. She can be contacted at marta at hawaii dot edu

Julie Denouël-Granjon completed her thesis in linguistics, entitled Les interactions médiatisées en messagerie instantanée. Organisation située des ressources sociotechniques pour une coprésence à distance [Forms of copresence in Instant Messaging. A praxeological approach of computer mediated communication] in October 2008 at the University Paul Valéry (Montpellier III, France) under the supervision of Chantal Charnet (Praxiling UMR 5267 CNRS, Montpellier III).
Committee members : Jacques Bres (Montpellier III), Bruno Bonu (Montpellier III), Benoit Lelong (Orange Labs), Maria-Caterina Manes Gallo (Bordeaux III), Lorenza Mondada (Lyon II).

Abstract (english/french) :

This research deals with instant messaging (IM) mediated interactions. IM can be defined as writing and quasi-synchronous communication artifacts, whose specificity is to be based on a list of contacts (or buddy list) gathering previously co-ratified partners ant to provide a series of presence indicators. A large number of works has been carried out with a special interest in buddy lists and in icons bearing witness of "on line" connection in this repertory. Thus, it has been shown that the perception of these icons contributes to creating a feeling of copresence among the distant participants.
The aim of our study is to carry on the discussion about distant copresence in IM through a multimodal and praxeological perspective. While resorting to an audiovisual corpus of mundane IM interactions, we pay a particular attention both to the course of situated actions and to the various local resources (interactional, discursive and technical) participants employ in order to get in touch. Using a multidisciplinary approach (conversation analysis, discourse analysis,
distributed cognition, Goffman's interactionism, situated action), we demonstrate finally that, rather than being a sensation originating from the perception of the buddy list and its components (i.e. the "on line" icon), the copresence in IM is, above all things, a practical accomplishment which results from the embodied organization of sociotechnical resources, and which enables different forms of encounters.

Cette recherche porte sur les interactions médiatisées en messagerie instantanée (MI). Les MI sont des outils de communication écrite et quasi-synchrone dont la particularité est de s'articuler autour d'un répertoire de contacts (buddy list en anglais) regroupant des partenaires préalablement co-ratifiés, et de fournir un ensemble d'indicateurs de présence. Ainsi, nombreux sont les travaux à s'être intéressés à la buddy list et les icônes de connexion "en ligne" visibles dans ce répertoire, montrant par là-même que la perception de ces icônes contribue à faire émerger une sensation de coprésence entre les partenaires distants.
Notre étude vise à prolonger la discussion concernant la coprésence à distance en MI par le prisme d'une approche praxéologique, multimodale et incarnée. Prenant appui sur un corpus audiovisuel d'interactions ordinaires en MI, nous accordons une attention particulièère aux
actions temporellement situées, ainsi qu'aux différentes ressources (interactionnelles, discursives et techniques) que les participants mobilisent pour entrer en contact. Au moyen d'un systèème d'analyse pluridisciplinaire (analyse de conversation d'inspiration ethnométhodologique, analyse de discours, action située, cognition distribuée, interactionnisme goffmanien), nous démontrons ainsi que la coprésence en MI constitue, non pas une sensation liée à la saisie perceptive de la buddy list et de ses composantes (comme l'icône de connexion « en ligne »), mais avant tout un accomplissement pratique lié à l'organisation incarnée de ressources sociotechniques, qui favorise l'instauration de différentes formes de rencontres à distance.

Julie Denouël-Granjoncan be reached at: julie.denouel-granjon [at]

Leah Wingard received her Ph.D. in June 2006 from the University of California, Los Angeles for the dissertation, Verbal Practices for Accomplishing Homework: Socializing Time and Activity in Parent-child Interactions. The dissertation was supervised by Elinor Ochs and the committee included Marjorie H. Goodwin, Kris D. Gutiérrez and John Heritage.


This dissertation uses ethnographic methods and conversation analysis to analyze naturally-occurring parent-child directive response sequences about homework in dual-earner families. The analyses highlight homework as an interactional achievement between the parent and child and focus on how discourse about homework socializes children to beliefs and practices concerning work and time management.

First, a presentation of ethnographic data based on interview data and systematic tracking of activities, situate homework in the families' lives and provide some ethnographic background on the families participating in the study. This chapter highlights the impact that homework has on everyday family life and the involvement these parents display in their children's educations. Core analyses of the three next chapters concern the interactional routines of parent-child talk about homework. One chapter examines how homework is first topicalized by parents and children. Analysis of first mention sequences reveals that early homework inquiries by parents are a recurrent verbal practice that allow parents to topicalize homework and then segue into a planning sequence about homework. The analyses of first mentions have implications for documenting that directives are not isolated utterances, but can be situated within a larger set of sequences in order to initiate activity. The analyses in the next chapter show how planning for activities in family life entails constructing the availability of time and temporally ordering activities. I focus in particular the practices of appending and prepending activities for prioritizing some activities over others. I argue that through these interactions children are socialized into time management and planning. Finally, the last analytic chapter examines accounts (reasons and justifications) that parents use with their children in conjunction with directives to children to do homework. In these accounts, parents orient to homework as something to get out of the way and use a discourse of reward and punishment to mobilize children to do homework. The accounts parents provide are of interest for what they reveal about how parents perceive and socialize children to think about the task of homework.

Leah Wingard is currently assistant professor at San Francisco State University and affiliate researcher at the UCLA Sloan Center on the Everyday Lives of Families. She can be contacted at wingard at sfsu dot edu.

Mehmet Ali Icbay, gained his PhD for his thesis The role of classroom interaction in the construction of classroom order: A conversation analytic study, from the Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Education, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.


This conversation analytic study basically aimed at unearthing the role of classroom interaction in the construction of classroom order. Rooted in the theoretical and methodological principles of Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis, this study investigated the mechanisms of how the order in the classroom was established, organized and sustained mutually by the teacher and students. From three classrooms in three high schools in Ankara, the study collected a 47 hour video-recording database from 69 different sessions with 15 teachers. The analysis focused on the scenes of trouble that revealed the interactional organization of order with particular reference to the participants' demonstrable actions. The scenes of troubles were composed of four particular groups of moments in the classroom life: (a) class beginnings, (b) transitions between activities, (c) post-humor moments, and (d) specific-student calls. The results demonstrated in the details of recordings how the participants in the classroom attributed meaning to order, how they showed their understanding of classroom order through their demonstrable action, and through their actions how they applied their mechanisms of classroom order to other contexts. Supervised by Prof. Dr. Ali Yildirim.

Mehmet Ali Icbay can me reached at icbay [at]

Kristian Mortensen received his Ph.D. in June 2008 from the Department of Language and Communication at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, for the dissertation, Instructions and Participation in the Second Language Classroom. The dissertation was supervised by Catherine E. Brouwer


The dissertation investigates how students participate in the second language classroom. It discusses second language classroom pedagogy from looking at how students participate and display their understanding of the ongoing activity/ies they are engaged in. More specifically, student participation is related to the teacher's instructions and the ways in which these instructions make specific kinds of participation relevant for the students. This is analyzed primarily from a communicative or interactional approach. Instructions are in this way analyzed as interactional tasks that students orient to, and deal with, during the course of the teacher's management of the lesson. "Interactional tasks" are related to the notion of conditional relevance, and the dissertation deals specifically with sequence organization and turn-allocation. Each of the three analytic chapters, which are written as independent articles, deals with participation, instructions and conditional relevance.

In the first article, "Selecting Next-Speaker in the Second Language Classroom: How to Find a Willing Next-Speaker in Prepared and Available Activities", I describe a specific classroom activity, i.e. going through homework or a list of questions. In these cases, the task is (visibly) available to the students thus making projection of a (possible and relevant) activity crucial. The article shows how selecting a next-speaker in done on the basis of interaction work between teacher and students. It shows how students display availability to be selected as next-speaker by gazing towards the teacher when either next-speaker selection or transition to a next "task-item" is projectable. Similarly, it shows how the teacher orients to students' display of availability. However, this does not mean that the teacher always selects an available student as next-speaker, but that next-speaker selection is done on the basis of interactional work, and that it has sequential consequences when an unavailable student is selected.

The second article, "Establishing Recipiency in Pre-Beginning Position in the Second Language Classroom", deals with teacher instructions that neither selects a next-speaker nor the recipient of the (self-selected) student's turn-at-talk. In these cases, establishing recipiency with a co-participant is a relevant task for students to deal with as part of their turn-at-talk. Based on previous findings on turn-beginnings, mutual gaze and display of recipiency the article shows how students through means of embodied and (other kinds of) pre-speech signals request and establish recipiency with a co-participant prior to the "real" turn-beginning.

The third article, "'Doing Word Explanation': The Interactive Construction of Vocabulary Teaching", describes a sequential format of vocabulary teaching as an interactional accomplishment between teacher and students. The article describes how the teacher highlights a specific part of his/her ongoing turn-at-talk, and how this sets up a particular framework for what might result in a specific teaching sequence - "doing vocabulary explanation". During this social practice, which is described as a side sequence, the students repeat (part of) the highlighted word(s), and thus acknowledges the pedagogical emphasis of the (potentially new) vocabulary.


Kristian Mortensen is currently a post doc researcher in the Unit for Sociocultural Research on Learning and Development (LCMI) at the University of Luxembourg. He can be contacted at kristian.mortensen at

Danielle Pillet-Shore. Coming together: Creating and maintaining social relationships through the openings of face-to-face interactions. University of California-Los Angeles, Department of Sociology. Supervised by Professors Emanuel A. Schegloff (Chair), John C. Heritage, Steven E. Clayman, Gene H. Lerner.


Examining phenomena critical to sustaining everyday social life, this dissertation investigates how both previously acquainted and unacquainted parties open their face-to-face interactions. I use the methods of conversation analysis to examine video recorded naturally occurring encounters between English-speaking persons interacting in a wide variety of settings in the United States. The first research to identify the specific interactional practices with which parties constitute their face-to-face openings, this dissertation selects four of these practices for close inspection, showing how they are loci for parties' management of affiliation and social solidarity:

Co-present greetings - Elucidating the work involved in producing co-present greetings, I demonstrate that parties tailor their greetings specifically for current recipients. Analysis reveals that co-participants use the precise production features with which they deliver greetings to index familiarity (or lack thereof) and the state and character of their social relationships.

Introductions - I show how parties produce their introducing actions sensitive to social norms, making choices regarding how they launch introductions, how they manage formulating 'who' an introducible person 'is', and when they do introductions. Analysis reveals that: when a known-in-common person is present, parties treat mediator-initiated introductions as preferred over self-initiated introductions; when launching introductions, offers of identifying information are strongly preferred over requests; in formulating introducible persons, speakers carefully select from many possible name forms and social categories/identities; and parties hold themselves and others accountable for a display of remembering persons with whom they have worked through introductions.

Arriving parties doing 'how I'm coming here' - I show that parties use the sequences engendered by arrivers embodying and articulating a display of their arrival state to manage negative and positive face wants, thus maintaining their social relationships.

Pre-present parties' previous activity formulations - I demonstrate that pre-present parties summarize their previous activities to coordinate arrivers' entry into the turn-by-turn talk and provide arrivers the contextual resources they need to understand and participate in the ongoing interaction.

Danielle has accepted a position as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of New Hampshire, USA. She can be contacted at dpillet [at]

Oskar Lindwall received his PhD from the Department of Communication Studies, Linköping University, Sweden, for his dissertation: 'Lab Work in Science Education: Inscription, Instruction, and the Practical Achivement of Understanding'


Taking an analytical perspective founded on ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, the four studies presented in the thesis provide detailed analyses of video recorded lab work in mechanics at secondary and university level. The investigated activities all build on educational designs afforded by a technology called probeware. The aim of the thesis is to investigate how teachers, task formulations, and technology make mechanics visible and learnable, and how students and teachers witnessably orient towards the practical achievement of understanding in the setting. The first study investigates how students use the technology in the interpretation and production of graphs: how they produce increasingly precise interpretations, how they fluently switch between different modes of meaning, and how the interpretations are both prospectively and retrospectively oriented. With a starting point in the analysis, the relevance of technology and task structure for the students' interaction and learning are discussed. In the second study, the use of probeware is contrasted with the use of a simulation software. The study shows that some important differences between the local enactments of the two technologies are to be found in the practical work of the students; more specifically, in the ways that students orient to the subject matter content. The third study demonstrates an intimate interplay between how students display their problems and understandings and how instructors try to make the subject matter content visible and learnable. The analyzed episodes are illuminating with regard to the analytical notion of disciplined perception as applied to graph interpretation, the cognitive and practical competencies involved in producing, recognizing, and understanding graphs in mechanics, and the interactive work by which these competencies are made into objects of learning and instruction. The fourth study investigates episodes where explicit references to students' understanding are made through formulations such as, "I don't understand" or "do you get it?" The analysis focuses on the use, reference, interactional significance, and positioning of these formulations, and is followed by a discussion on the relation between the many and varied ways references to understanding are used and the concrete conditions of lab work. In sum, all four studies contribute to a detailed understanding of lab work as an educational practice and how learning and instruction are practically achieved.

The introduction to the thesis can be downloaded at:
One of the studies in the thesis was just published in the Journal of the Learning Sciences.
Lindwall, Oskar, Gustav Lymer (2008) 'The dark matter of lab work: Illuminating the negotiation of disciplined perception in mechanics', Journal of the Learning Sciences, 17 2: 180-224.
The text can be downloaded at:

Contact:Oskar Lindwall is currently working as a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Education at Gothenburg University. He can be reached at oskar.lindwall at

Don Bysouth, "Jolly good nutter": A discursive psychological examination of bipolar disorder in psychotherapeutic interactions. Murdoch University - Division of Health Sciences, School of Psychology; Supervisors Alec McHoul and Ngaire Donaghue, Murdoch University, Australia. Examiners Charles Antaki (Loughborough), Ivan Leudar (Manchester), and Richard Buttny (Syracuse).


This dissertation examines how bipolar disorder, a common and disabling psychiatric condition, is made relevant as a participants' concern in a site of massively consequential psychological business - the psychotherapy session. As its central thesis is the claim that the practices by which bipolar disorder gets done as bipolar disorder are invariably absent in most formal accounts of the disorder. In this regard, the dissertation provides an empirically grounded description of a range of discursive practices associated with the doing of bipolar disorder in psychotherapy. This is undertaken from a discursive psychological orientation that draws extensively from ethnomethodology, conversation analysis, and Wittgensteinian philosophy.

Following a review of bipolar disorder as a diagnostic psychiatric category, consideration is given to alternate conceptualisations which suggest the category is constructed in-and-through complex socio-historical practices which are often occluded and considered irrelevant to the category's situated deployment. This notion is used to provide a more sustained examination of how one might 'get at' such practices in situ by way of conducting ethnomethodological and conversation analytically informed investigations. In consideration of how one might approach psychological categorisation practices in talk-in-interaction, a discursive psychological orientation is developed which stresses the social, public nature of psychological categories in use.

The empirical materials examined in the dissertation are drawn from a corpus of audio recordings of seven 'naturally occurring' psychotherapy sessions involving a clinical psychologist and five clients for whom the category 'bipolar disorder' has demonstrable relevance. Practices examined include those relating to the production and recognition of what might count as a bipolar disorder 'symptom', the manner in which 'moods' operate as account production devices, and the methods by which psychological terms (such as 'thought' and 'feel') operate in-and-as situated practices involved in psychotherapeutic business.

The thesis can be downloaded at:

Don is currently Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology at Nottingham Trent University, UK. He can be contacted at don dot bysouth at ntu dot ac dot uk

Emma M Betz   received her PhD from the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in August of of 2007 for her dissertation on 'Grammar and Interaction: Pivots in German Conversation'. This conversation analytic dissertation was supervised by Andrea Golato.


This dissertation explores the use of syntactic pivot constructions in two varieties of spoken German. Using the methodology of Conversation Analysis (CA), I show that such constructions emerge in discourse in response to local communicative needs. Specifically, I locate syntactic pivot constructions as a resource within fundamental principles in the organization of social interaction through talk: turn-taking organization (Chapter 3), sequence and topic organization (Chapter 4), and the organization of resources for dealing with interactional trouble (Chapters 5 and 6). As their basic property, pivot constructions allow a speaker to extend an utterance beyond a point of possible completion in a syntactically and prosodically unobtrusive way. In each of the data-based chapters, I explore how speakers utilize this property in context-specific ways.

Chapter 1 (Introduction) situates the phenomenon within the fields of Interactional Linguistics and CA. Chapter 2 (Preliminaries) reviews relevant aspects of spoken German and outlines different types of syntactic pivot constructions. Chapter 3 discusses the systematic use of pivots in the environment of overlap, where they serve as a resource for managing the distribution of speakership and recipiency in interaction. While Chapter 3 focuses on boundaries of speakership, Chapter 4 discusses pivots employed to bridge sequential/topical junctures. I show that speakers use these structures to effectively steer the direction of the current topic or manage the transition between a subsidiary activity and the main activity. In Chapter 5, I shift my attention to the role of sentence-level resources in the organization of word searches. Pivot constructions are used at different points in the organization of searches (during/at the end of/after a search) and their interactional functions differ with their placement. Chapter 6 focuses on pivots used to carry out embedded self-correction. In the pivot turns analyzed, speakers accomplish a change in the action format or a modification of the stance conveyed and thereby orient to problems in alignment in an 'embedded' way. In the conclusion I address implications for the field of Linguistics, point to limitations of my study, and provide avenues of future research.

This dissertation shows that spoken syntactic constructions and their functions can only be grasped if we acknowledge the temporality of spoken language and view grammar as usage-based and negotiable.

Contact: Emma Betz is Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern Languages at Kansas State University. You can contact her at emmabetz at ksu dot edu.

Bregje C. de Kok, Constructing infertility in Malawi: Management of interpersonal, normative and moral issues in talk. University of Edinburgh


This study examines social constructions of infertility in Malawi. The literature on infertility consists of epidemiological studies, describing patterns of infertility in terms of its incidence, causes and health seeking behaviour; studies of the psychological correlates of infertility; and ethnographic studies which describe experiences, perceptions and management of infertility within specific socio-cultural contexts. In addition, some studies discuss social aspects of medical practice in relation to infertility. Overall, studies of infertility in developing countries emphasize its many serious psychological and social consequences, usually attributed to cultural norms mandating parenthood. There appear to be several lacunae in the literature: men with fertility problems are rarely included, an in-depth examination of practitioners’ views is missing, and no qualitative study has been conducted on infertility in Malawi, which has a considerable secondary infertility rate. Furthermore, although ethnographic studies highlight the interpersonal (related to others’ judgements), normative (related to ideas about what ‘ought’ to be) and moral (related to ideas about what is good or bad) issues involved in infertility, no study has investigated how these issues are managed in situ, in verbal interactions. However, it has been argued that ‘talk’ is a prime site for the management of issues such as blaming and deflecting responsibility. Hence, this study addresses several gaps in the literature. It focuses on Malawi, and includes a wide range of participants: women and men with a fertility problem, significant others, indigenous and (Malawian and expatriate) biomedical practitioners. Semi-structured interviews with 63 participants were recorded and transcribed, and translations were obtained of interviews in which interpreters were used. For the analysis, I used discourse analysis (DA), informed by conversation analysis (CA). This analytic approach, novel in infertility studies, examines the interpersonal functions of statements in interactions, such as blaming or justifying. Use of DA and CA has led to novel insights into how respondents construct infertility, its causes, solutions (sought and offered), and consequences, and how they thereby manage interpersonal, normative, and moral issues, revolving around accountability, blame and justification, and attribution of (problematic) identity categories. For instance, I have shown how respondents construct childbearing as a cultural, normative requirement, and how this can be used to justify practices like extramarital affairs, or polygamy, as necessary solutions. In addition, identifying causes appears to be problematic for people with a fertility problem due to certain interpersonal and interactional issues, such as the idea that they are not entitled to medical knowledge. Practitioners can be seen to work up and bolster an identity of professional, competent expert in constructions of causes of infertility, and by attributing problems in helping infertility clients to external factors, including patients’ intelligence.
This study has several theoretical, practical, and methodological implications, although I discuss some thorny methodological issues, especially those concerning the use of translations and the transferability of the analytic findings. A first contribution pertains to methodological debates and developments in conversation analysis, and in studies of infertility and other health issues which rely upon people’s self-reports. Second, my study contributes to theoretical developments in health psychology and health promotion. My analysis points to the relevance of social and normative considerations for engagement in ‘risky’ behaviours, such as extramarital affairs. This challenges cognition models which treat health behaviour as the outcome of individualistic decision-making processes, and see providing information as the main way of changing people’s behaviour. Therefore, a third set of implications is of a practical nature: some of the findings can contribute to health promotion, as well as to improvement of health services. For example, practitioners’ attribution of failures and (communication) problems to their patients, may prevent them from reflecting critically on, and addressing, their own contributions to problems. Overall, this thesis shows that when one wants to ‘give voice’ to people who are suffering from infertility, it is valuable to examine what they say in detail, within its interactional context, and the concerns they themselves make relevant, in their own terms.

Bregje de Kock is now a ESRC/MRC Postdoc. Research Fellow, Sociology, School of Social and Political Studies, University of Edinburgh mail: BdeKok at

Julien Morel has been awarded the PhD at the university of Rouen (France) for his thesis: Vie publique et téléphonie mobile: Une approche praxéologique entre espaces publics d'usage et conversations.

Abstract :

This thesis aims at describing how mobile phone users build remote conversations in public places. We examine how various features of these environments become constitutive components of conversations. The main intuition of this research is that the observation of the telephonists' local actions and investigations can convey us to a practical and vivid picture of public places' everyday life. We considered that mobile phone conversations constitute a convenient tool to explore the organisation of public life. This research strategy promotes the development of a precise and formal analysis of social action. Thus, we have singled out the study of video sequences recorded in various public places (streets, restaurants, railway stations, etc.) as well as of audio conversations issued by mobile phones. These data proved to be a sufficiently detailed material to analyse of the organisation of courses of action. If several studies of mobile phone have focused on trouble and inconvenience raised by conversations in public places, our analysis underlines the ability of social actors to manage and organize their practices in public places and in their conversations. The naturalistic study of these two fronts of interaction allows to cope with several reflexive characteristics of usage environments. Mobile conversations have also the singular property to reveal different social usages of the location of telephonists in public places: to arrange to meet, to look after temporal norms, etc. Finally, this analysis led us to pay attention to private places, insofar as users tend to localize their calls not far from home, and more generally to challenge usual boundaries of social life.

The text can be downloaded at:

Carly Butler recently completed her thesis, entitled Talk-in-Interaction on the Playground: Sequences and Categories in Fairy Club, at Victoria University of Wellington, under the supervision of Ann Weatherall.

This thesis is an ethnomethodological case study of a game described as 'fairy club'. Fairy club was played by a group of six and seven year old children for entire lunchtime periods, and was audio-recorded over three days. The recordings were transcribed in detail, and then examined using the principles, tools, and findings of conversation analytic (CA) research. The thesis deals closely with Harvey Sacks' (1992) work on children and play, and the categorical and sequential organisation of talk and social action. The analysis applies the organisational properties and structures for social interaction and games that Sacks proposed in order to generate a formal description of fairy club.

Fairy club is described as a membership categorization device - a locally relevant set of categories and associated rules for recognizing and applying these categorizations - that was generated in, and relevant for, situated instances of action (Sacks, 1972a, 1972b, 1992). The apparent owner of fairy club was also the teacher in the club, and the other members were her students (or, workers). An institutional model of membership and activity was established and made relevant in the deployment of these membership categories, and in the organization of turns-at-talk and social action.

Two single-case analyses illustrate the application of the fairy club device for accomplishing particular contexts and action. In the first, the fairy club 'shares news' using a formal model for turn taking. The analysis considers the categorical and sequential organization of this episode, and discusses how an institutional order of talk was introduced, resisted, and abandoned in the course of sharing news.

The second case is a conversation between two fairy club members that took place while the teacher was absent, and in which a number of negative assessments were made about aspects of the club - including the teacher. Drawing on Sacks' (1992) work on partitioning populations, cover categories and safe complaints, the analysis considers the design, positioning, and category relevance of the assessments, and the alignments between the members over the course of the sequence. For example it is argued that co-membership as a worker in fairy club was used as a cover category for initiating and generating 'safe' criticism and complaint about a friend (Sacks, 1992).

The thesis contributes to conversation analytic research on the sequential organization of talk-in-interaction, perhaps most substantively in its attention to the categorical organization of sequences and action, and the sequential organization of categorization work. The analytic approach demonstrates how Sacks' notion of the membership categorization device can be understood as a framework created in, and used for, the organization of turns-at-talk and locally situated interaction, and used to generate analytically rigorous accounts of social action. In offering a detailed analysis of a children's game, and insight into children's everyday competencies, intersubjective understandings and social action, the thesis makes a substantial contribution to the fields of ethnomethodology, child studies and the sociology of childhood, linguistics, education and psychology.

Carly can be contacted at carlywbutler at gmaildotcom

Tobias Barske received his PhD from the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in October of 2006 for his dissertation Co-Constructing Social Roles in German Business Meetings: A Conversation Analytic Study supervised by Andrea Golato.


This dissertation investigates how participants in German business meetings collaborate to talk this speech exchange system into existence. Using the methodology of conversation analysis, the study describes how participants in meetings perform different social roles. Specifically, I focus on ways in which the enactment of ‘‘doing-being-boss’’ and ‘‘doing-being-employee’’ depends upon a moment-by-moment collaboration between all participants. In my description of how participants enact these social roles through talk-in-interaction, I also provide the first attempt at systematically incorporating embodied actions into the analysis of business meetings.
In Chapter 1, I situate this dissertation within existing studies on business meetings and introduce the research methodology of conversation analysis. Chapter 2 examines all uses of the particle ok in German business meetings. In my presentation of the first description of ok in a language other than English, I argue that certain uses of ok relate to enacting the social role of ‘‘doing-being-boss.’’ Furthermore, Chapter 3 examines the practice of how employees produce extended reports about ongoing projects. In discussing the social role of ‘‘doing-being-employee,’’ I compare the practice of story-telling in ordinary conversation to that of producing reports during German business meetings. Specifically, I describe how speakers orient to a systematic use of intonation patterns to enable correct and complete reports. Moreover, Chapter 4 problematizes the notion of pre-assigned social roles. Using the concept of zones of interactional transition, I discuss instances where employees question the role of meeting facilitator, chairperson, and boss. In analyzing the interactional fallout in these examples, I offer additional evidence that social roles such as boss represent a social construct which depends on a constant co-construction of this role. Finally, in the conclusion I situate my findings within the field of institutional talk.


Tobias Barske is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. You can contact him directly at tbarske at uwsp dot edu

Eda Üstünel received her PhD in September, 2004 for her thesis on The Sequential Organisation of Teacher-Initiated and Teacher-Induced Code-Switching in a Turkish EFL Setting. School of Education, Communication, and Language Sciences, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne; under the supervision of Paul Seedhouse (Uni. of NCL).


The study depicts the relationship between pedagogical focus and language choice in the language teaching/learning environment of English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) at a Turkish university in Izmir. I present the organisation of code-switching (the use of more than one linguistic variety in the same conversation) which is teacher-initiated and 'teacher-induced' (when the teacher asks for the Turkish equivalent of an English word). A major research gap in the area of code-switching (CS) is a lack of adherence between English-Turkish CS and EFL studies. Eldridge (1996) studied learners' CS in a Turkish secondary school focusing on teachers' attitudes toward CS in the classroom; therefore, his implications are limited to teacher-training. However, in my research, I choose my subjects at the university level, focus on teacher-learner interaction in EFL classrooms, and examine transcripts according to the sequential analysis of conversation analysis (CA).

The data for this study are collected by means of classroom observation. This consists of audio and video-taping lessons from six beginner level English classrooms. Transcripts of the lessons are examined according to the CA method of sequential analysis applying an adapted version of the classic CA question (Why that, right now?) for interaction involving code-switching, which is why that, in that language, right now?

It is found that teachers code-switch in orientation to twelve pedagogical functions: Dealing with procedural trouble, dealing with classroom discipline, expressing the social identity, giving Turkish equivalent, translating into Turkish, dealing with a lack of response in English, providing a prompt for English use, eliciting Turkish or English translation, giving feedback, checking comprehension in English, providing meta-language information, and giving encouragement to participate. It is also found that there is a systematic preference organisation pattern in which teachers code-switch to Turkish to repair trouble when there is a delay in the learner's reply turn of more than one second.

The study supports the claim that first language (L1) is difficult for teachers to avoid, and perhaps more difficult for learners to ignore in the EFL context. Consequently, teaching methods that incorporate L1 in L2 teaching/learning environments are highly recommended.


Üstünel, Eda (in press) 'Multiple Intelligences come to the university'. In S. Borg, ed. Language Teacher Research in Europe. TESOL organization serial publications.

Üstünel, Eda, Paul Seedhouse (2005) 'Preference Organisation in Teaching and Learning English as a Foreign Language in a Turkish University Setting', International Journal of Applied Linguistics. 15/3: 302-325

Üstünel, Eda (2004) 'Conversational code-switching among Turkish learners and teachers of English: its impact on second language acquisition', International Journal for the Study of Southern African Literature and Languages- Alternation: Special Sociolinguistics Issue. 11/2: 203-215

Üstünel, Eda (2004) 'Preference Organisation in Learners' Language Choice Following Teacher-Initiated and Teacher-Induced Code-Switching in Turkish EFL Classrooms', Online Journal of ECLS. University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


Eda Üstünel is currently an Assistant Prof Dr in the Department of English Language Teacher Training, Mugla University, Turkey. E-mail: Eda.Ustunel at

Steven Bloch has been awarded the PhD in July 2006 by the Department of Human  Communication Science, University College London for his thesis:  Trouble sources and repair in acquired dysarthria and communication aid use: A Conversation Analysis study, supervised by Ray Wilkinson.


A common symptom of acquired progressive neurological conditions like Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is deterioration in the neurological control of physical speech production. This is termed ‘dysarthria’. People with progressive dysarthria can thus experience deterioration in speech intelligibility and may, ultimately, be unable to use speech as a primary modality for communication, relying instead on the use of an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) system to compensate for the progressive speech deterioration. Previous dysarthria research has examined this deterioration as a largely physical phenomenon, focussing upon the dysarthric speaker’s own output. The main aim of this thesis is to consider the interactive features of dysarthria, and to examine how such talk might be sequentially organised through everyday conversation.

This thesis presents an analysis of naturally occurring conversation interaction between three adults with dysarthric speech and their family members. Utilising the principles and methods of Conversation Analysis (CA), the study provides an examination of the management of troubles in both dysarthric speech production and AAC system use. The analysis focuses on the nature of both ‘simple’ and ‘complex’ troubles, how they are revealed through the practice of other-initiated repair, and how they are finally resolved.

Findings show that both unintelligible speech and AAC system outputs are jointly managed through other-initiated repair and collaborative turn constructions.  It is also shown that troubles in talk can occur despite an achievement of intelligibility, and that the understandability of a turn’s action can be treated separately from its intelligibility.

Examining the occurrence and resolution of troubles in talk between people with dysarthria and significant others, this thesis offers new insights and implications for clinical assessment, therapy and outcomes for people with acquired progressive dysarthria, family members, professionals and carers

Steven can be contacted directly at:  s.bloch at

Kris M. Markman received her Ph.D. in May 2006 from the Department of Communication Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Her dissertation, Computer-Mediated Conversation: The Organization of Talk in Chat-Based Virtual Team Meetings, was supervised by Jürgen K. Streeck.


This dissertation is a qualitative, microanalytic case study of conversation in computer chat-based virtual team meetings. Five undergraduate students enrolled in a summer term (5.5 weeks) independent study course worked together as a virtual (i.e. noncollocated) team to research and create a multimedia presentation. I employed a Conversation Analytic approach to analyze the chat transcripts and video recordings made from each team member's computer screen to explain how conversation is organized in small group quasi-synchronous computer chat. I show how the disjointed temporality of chat conversations gives rise to a system of turn organization (threading) that is topical, rather than strictly sequential, in nature. I describe the system of turn allocation used by team members, and how allocation techniques in small group chat differ from those commonly found in large chat rooms. In addition, I discuss how participants achieve intersubjective understanding in chat through an examination of repair phenomena. I found that, as with spoken conversation, self-repair is the dominant type of repair found in chat. However, I also found that repair in chat could serve social functions for the group, by serving as a resource for participants to determine norms for spelling and other typing conventions in their chat meetings. I also examine the chat transcripts as examples of meeting talk, with a particular focus on how conversational practices such as openings and closings work to structure meetings in chat. I found that the structural characteristics of chat made opening and closing meetings a complicated process subject to frequent interruptions, and that a two-stage process was adapted by the team for opening and closing their meetings. This project advances our understanding of how quasi-synchronous computer-mediated communication is structured, and how the use of this medium by a virtual team can affect collaboration. I show how an analysis of the structure of chat conversations offers an explanation for why computer chat is not widely used in organizational settings, why people sometimes describe feeling uncomfortable with these types of meetings. Based on my findings, I also offer a set of recommendations for practitioners for making virtual meetings more successful.

Kris can be reached at krism <at> alumni dot utexas dot net

Amelia Church received her PhD from Monash University (2004) for a thesis entitled "You can't come to my birthday": Preference organisation in young children's adversative discourse.


Young children's communicative competence has traditionally been underestimated. This thesis contributes to the expanding body of work which shows preschoolers as adept conversationalists, equipped with multiple strategies to manage their social world. The empirical data and analysis is wholly concerned with preschoolers' peer verbal conflict and is designed to ameliorate understanding of how children actually go about resolving disputes.

Existing research on children's conflict has focussed on types of strategies used by participants in different categories of disputes. The relationship between turns, however, has not been thoroughly explored. The methodology of conversation analysis (CA) proves ideally suited to closer investigation of features of the discourse which are salient to the children themselves. Preliminary review of the data (spontaneous disputes between four-year-old children recorded in preschool settings) points to preference organisation, a theoretical concept in conversation analysis which identifies the non-equivalency of possible responses, to be particularly illuminative of sequences of actions in adversative discourse.

In order to consider the import of preference features in the children's disputes, specifically in relation to dispute closings, possible outcomes were identified and classified as resolved, abandoned or brought to a close through teacher intervention. While threats occasionally brought conflict to an end, disputes were overwhelmingly resolved through final utterances performed in typical dispreferred turn shape. Subsequently, attention is directed to the efficacy of accounts in dispreferred turn shapes produced throughout the data, and a relationship between objectivity and persuasiveness is established. In other words, concrete accounts (e.g. referring to tangible properties of objects) are more likely to bring about resolution - an outcome mutually acceptable to both parties.

The close analysis afforded by CA methodology uncovers the significance of preference features in the sequences of turns in children's disputes. Specifically, accounts or justifications for opposition are related to resolution. In prompting either further opposition or acquiescence from the opposing party, preferred turn shapes essentially perform as sustaining moves (i.e. continuing the dispute) and dispreferred turns as non-sustaining. These findings not only contribute to our understanding of children's developing communicative competence, but have implications for adult intervention strategies for preschool children.

Amelia is currently lecturing in the Department of Childhood Studies at the University of Wales Swansea. Email: at

Cajsa Ottesjö completed her PhD thesis at Göteborg University in December 2005, entitled: fortsätta och att återgå. Studier i koherensskapande praktiker i vardagliga flepersonssamtal. [To continue and to resume. A study of coherence-creating practices in everyday multiparty conversations.]
Language: Swedish, with an English summary. The Department of linguistics, Göteborg University, Box 200, SE-405 30 Göteborg


The thesis has two parts: a collection of four articles and an introduction, including a summary of the articles. The introduction is a comprehensive background to the articles, their theory and method.

The aim of this thesis is to contribute to the understanding of how communicative projects in everyday multiparty conversations can be contined and resumed after interruptions. This includes an analysis of various practices of coherence-creating by participants in conversation. The theory and method is that of interactional linguistics, which is inspired by conversation analysis. The data is drawn from a corpus of everyday conversation, principally of audio recordings of mealtime conversations in a six-person family. Some of the studies also draw on material from the Gothenburg Spoken Language Corpus.

The first of the four articles, is a single case study foccusing on how a discontinuous turn is formed as one coherent unit with the help of syntax and prosody.

In the second article it is argued that the collocation men iallafall ('but anyway') is a resumption marker used after digressions from and side sequences in the main project. The collocation jo iallafall ('well anyway') is used to claim the turn back after some kind of interruption in a project.

The third article discusses ('so' or 'then') as a discourse marker in initial position in an utterance. As an adverb it signals continuation of a discourse unit, i.e. a narrative. As a conjunction it marks that the following utterance is commenting, summing up or reformulating the previous discourse. is also a one word utterance for marking an action as completed.

The last article presents two different communicative projects and how the participants act to continue and resume the projects after a range of different interruptions. It is argued that the linguistic resources used reflect the seriousness of the interruption, from simple continuations after parentheses and endogenous side sequences, over resumption markers after more turn threatening interruptions to explicit forms for re-introductions and turn demanding.

Cajsa Ottesjö can be reached at cajsao at

Geraldine Leydon received her PhD in the fall of 2005 for her thesis on Communication in UK Outpatient Oncology Consultations. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London; co-supervised by David Silverman and Judith Green (LSHTM).

This thesis is based on a sociological analysis of outpatient oncology consultations involving doctors and patients. Most patients have had surgery to remove their cancer. All have been referred for radiotherapy or chemotherapy and have been told on previous occasions that they have cancer.

I demonstrate how information about cancer is managed between doctors and patients. Analysis draws on some of the insights and principles of applied conversation analytic work. I report on a range of short and long transcribed data fragments, drawn from a tape-recorded data corpus. Whilst respecting the “autonomy" of the recorded data, I occasionally and informally draw on observations made during fieldwork to crystallize analytic claims. Analytic foci are derived from the natural unfolding of the consultation trajectory.

Three key topics are addressed: how doctors use history-taking to establish patient journeys to ascertain what patients know of their cancer; how diagnoses are embellished and treatment implications discussed; and how, within diagnostic and treatment talk, the participants negotiate the good, the bad and the uncertain character of the information shared.

I revisit the broad (and predominant) policy and research literature to confirm the benefits of conversation analytic work and the particular insights provided by this thesis. I also delineate some of the broader themes to emanate from the detailed analysis and challenge some common conceptualisations of “doctor-patient communication". Finally, I close with a discussion of the limitations of this thesis and possibilities for further work.

Geraldine Leydon is a Senior Research Fellow & Qualitative Advisor, Wessex Primary Care Research Network (WReN), Primary Medical Care, Southampton Medical School, Aldemoor Health Centre, Aldemoor Close, Southampton SO16 5ST U.K.G.M.Leydon at

Suzanne Beeke completed her PhD, entitled Rethinking agrammatism: using conversation analysis to investigate the talk of individuals with aphasia, in December 2005 at the Department of Human Communication Science, University College London, under the supervision of Ray Wilkinson and Jane Maxim (UCL).


This thesis applies Conversation Analysis (CA) to the phenomenon of agrammatism, a particular type of aphasia (a language difficulty acquired most commonly after stroke) which is characterised by grammatical impairment. Although mainstream research has done much to characterise the nature of the underlying disorder, most studies have analysed elicited, task-based data by applying the theoretical concepts of a standard grammar; the well-formed sentence, clause and phrase. As a result, little is known about the grammar that people with agrammatism use in real, everyday talk-in-interaction with habitual conversational partners. This study investigates the utility of CA as a tool for the exploration of conversational grammar in agrammatic aphasia.

The data comprise video-recordings of the conversation of two adults with agrammatic aphasia, recorded in the home talking to a family member or friend. Conversation is contrasted with single word-, sentence- and narrative-level language samples elicited via commonly used clinical assessments. The data-driven procedures of CA reveal recurring turn construction formats in the talk of the individuals with aphasia. Cognitive neuropsychological, linguistic and psycholinguistic methodologies are drawn on to analyse the elicited language samples, in order to produce the type of clinical profile of agrammatism on which speech and language therapy is based. A comparison of the two samples finds that turn construction for conversation differs from sentence construction for testing.

The thesis concludes that the conversation of both aphasic speakers exhibits structure and systematicity, a ‘grammatical’ organisation, but that the constructions documented do not resemble the sentences, clauses and phrases of a standard grammar. Rather, their form is shaped by the interactional demands of taking a turn at talk. The study questions the widely-held assumption that elicited language tests provide a view of grammatical impairment that is synonymous with the reality of the condition for the person who lives, and most crucially talks with it.


Beeke, S., Wilkinson, R. & Maxim, J. (in press) Grammar without sentence structure: a conversation analytic investigation of grammar. Aphasiology.

Beeke, S., Wilkinson, R. & Maxim, J. (2003a) Exploring aphasic grammar 1: a single case analysis of conversation. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics 17 (2), 81-107.

Beeke, S., Wilkinson, R. & Maxim, J. (2003b) Exploring aphasic grammar 2: do language testing and conversation tell a similar story? Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics 17 (2), 109-134.


Suzanne is currently an ESRC/MRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Human Communication Science, University College London Email s.beeke at

Steven Ariss recently completed his PhD, entitled Exploring Interactions Between General Practitioners and Frequently Attending Patients, at the Department of Health Sciences, University of York, under the supervision of Paul Drew (York) and Ian Watt (York).


This study applied Conversation Analytic methods to investigate the video recorded consultations of patients who had visited their General Practitioner ten or more times in the year prior to the study. Whilst the focus of the analysis was a broad exploration of frequent attendance, a primary concern was the negative emotional reactions reported by practitioners as a response to certain patient's consultations (i.e. the 'heartsink' phenomenon).

The three main aims were: 1) to compare the consultations of frequently attending patients with current understandings of GP consultations for new or acute problems; 2) to investigate the 'heartsink' phenomenon from the perspective of GPs' views and feelings; 3) to compare consultations with 'heartsink patients' with those of other frequently attending patients.

The findings demonstrated the largely illusive nature of 'shared understanding' in the consultation, and how patients' expectations could be translated into clinical outcomes despite their limited resources for influencing the interaction. There were clear distinctions between work carried out regarding patients' concerns, and activities conducted for the reassurance of the practitioner. GPs also made distinctions between patients who had been 'made' frequent attenders and those who were responsible for their own consultation rates. Other findings demonstrated some interactional consequences of ongoing health problems, including methods for the re-presentation of problems, the interactional effects of shared knowledge, and patients' requests for specific treatments.

Practitioners' reports supported recent literature concerning feeling under pressure to provide unsuitable somatic interventions. The findings propose a link between GPs feeling under pressure, and feelings of 'heartsink' when certain patients consult.

Frequent attendance by a small number of patients, contributes towards a substantial proportion of the workload in General Practice. As an exploratory study, the findings contained in this thesis offer an opportunity to begin to understand consultations with frequently attending patients as interactions that are different in many ways to occasional, acute visits. Also highlighted by this study are the sources of GPs' reported problems with a potentially very large proportion of these patients.


Steven is currently a Research Assistant at the NHS Primary Care Research Office at The University of York. He can be contacted at steven.ariss @

Pentti Haddington was awarded the Ph.D. Degree in November, 2005 in the University of Oulu, Finland. Contact the author for a copy of the dissertation.

Contact information: pentti.haddington @

Haddington, P. (2005). The Intersubjectivity of Stance Taking in Talk-in-interaction. University of Oulu: Oulu University Press.


The dissertation is composed of a summary book and five original articles. The chapters in the book suggest that the expression of stance in talk-in-interaction should be perceived as an intersubjective phenomenon in which stances are taken and expressed, first of all, on the basis of the stances taken by co-participants in prior talk (backward-type intersubjectivity) and, second, on the basis of who the recipients / co-participants are (forward-type intersubjectivity). It is further suggested that stance taking is managed in complex ways by the use of various linguistic, action-sequential and embodied practices. The dissertation is composed of five articles (and an initial summary) which investigate some of the practices through which interactants engage in stance taking in talk-in-interaction. The data in these articles come from British and American news interviews (recorded in 1999-2004) and from everyday interaction.

Article I (see list of the original publications below) provides an overview of the approach used for this work. This approach combines, on the one hand, the successes and tools of conversation analysis, and on the other hand, the discourse-functional theory of stance (Du Bois 2004). I further suggest that in order to look at how co-participants construct and display their stances, an analysis of the simultaneously deployed linguistic resources and sequential aspects of turn design and turn construction is required. I focus on the question of how stance taking can be studied in news interview data and consider an example of an intersubjective stance-taking activity called positioning / alignment.

Article II explores in greater detail the positioning / alignment stance-taking activity in news interviews. I focus on some linguistic practices by which interviewers set up positions for interviewees by evoking preferred stances and constructing presuppositions. I also show how interviewees align with these positions by using the 'denial + account' action combination.

Article III uses the methodology provided by interactional linguistics to further describe the use of two action combinations in news interviews: the 'denial + account' action combination (see above) and the 'claim of insufficient knowledge + account' action combination. The first action combination denies a presumption / presupposition in or the adequacy of the interviewer's question and subsequently provides an account. The second action combination claims insufficient knowledge and after that provides an account. I concentrate on describing the linguistic practices through which these action combinations are produced by the interviewees. One such recurrent practice is called the neg + pos pattern, in which the interviewee uses epistemic stance markers and recycles a linguistic unit, phrase or structure from the interviewer's questioning turn. Previous research on news interviews has considered these types of interviewee answers evasive or otherwise violative of the projected trajectory of talk. However, the data show that denials and claims of insufficient knowledge engage strongly with the question. Therefore, they reflect the intersubjective relationship between the question and the answer and should not just be considered expressions of interviewee evasiveness. These frequent action combinations play a central and important role in organizing the interviewees' stance taking in British and American news interviews.

Article IV takes a somewhat different perspective compared to the first three papers. It aims to shed light on the question of how interactants use the concurrent organizations of assessments and particular gaze patterns as resources for stance taking in everyday conversation. It discusses stance taking in relation to three gaze patterns: congruent gaze points, mutual gaze and cut-off gaze. This paper provides further evidence of the intersubjectivity of stance taking. I also suggest that the above-mentioned gaze patterns play an important role in stance taking. The data show that although the interrelationship between gaze and assessments is manifold, certain gaze patterns are intertwined with the making of assessments, and therefore gaze and assessments can be seen together to function as resources for interactional stance taking. Additionally, these gaze patterns act as resources for the co-participants for tracing the meanings of the co-participants' stances. However, it is not claimed that these gaze patterns have meanings in themselves or that they would implicate a speaker stance, but rather that gaze is an important element in the interactants' joint constitution of stance.

Finally, in article V my aim is to examine how co-participants in news interviews simultaneously use membership categories as a resource and use them for constructing and negotiating identities when they engage in taking stances. I draw on the above-mentioned combination of conversation analysis and the theory of stance. From this vantage point, I look at two examples from Crossfire (CNN) and show, on the one hand, how identity work becomes manifest in the interlocutors' actions and turn-taking and, on the other, how ethnic identities for non-present parties are negotiated and constituted in this particular episode of Crossfire.

Keywords: stance taking, talk-in-interaction, everyday conversation, news interviews, intersubjectivity, language, dialogic syntax.


Du Bois J. W. (2004) Stance and Intersubjectivity. Paper read at the Stance Taking in Discourse: Subjectivity in Interaction symposium at Rice University, Houston, TX. April 3.

List of original publications

This dissertation is based on the following original publications, which are referred to in the text by the Roman numerals I-V

Haddington, P. (2004) Stance taking and news interviews. SKY Journal of Linguistics 17, 101-142.

Haddington, P. (under review) Positioning and alignment as activities of stance taking in news interviews. In Englebretson, R. (ed.) Stancetaking in discourse: the intersubjectivity in interaction. [Papers from the Tenth Biennial Rice Linguistics Symposium]

Haddington P. (to appear in 2005) The linguistic neg + pos pattern and two action combinations as resources for interviewee stance taking in news interviews. In: L. Kuure, E. Kärkkäinen and M. Saarenkunnas (eds) Kieli ja sosiaalinen toiminta - Language and Social Action. AFinLA Yearbook. Publications de l'association finlandaise de linguistique appliquée 63, 85-107.

Haddington, P. (to appear in 2006) The Organization of Gaze and Assessments as Resources for Stance Taking. Text & Talk.

Haddington, P. (to appear in 2005) Identity and stance taking in news interviews - a case study. In I. Lassen, J. Strunck and T. Vestergaard (eds) Mediating Ideology in Text and Image: Ten critical studies.

Kelly Benneworth graduated as a PhD at Loughborough University in 2004 with a thesis: A discursive analysis of police interviews with suspected paedophiles: The implications of 'open' and 'closed' interviewing for admission and denial


This thesis examines the discursive interaction between the police officer and the suspected paedophile in the investigative interview. A review of the literature revealed that paedophiles talk about their offences in terms of conventional relationships, personal bonds and emotions whilst being discrete about the sexual aspects of their activities. In the investigative interview, police officers must establish accountability, avoid emotional talk and encourage paedophiles to discuss their criminal activities in terms of direct, agentic detail. Given these two distinct approaches to the description of unlawful sexual contact, there is the potential for difficulties to arise in the elicitation of information in the investigative interview. This thesis explores how police officers and paedophiles negotiate an account of 'what really happened' whilst managing conflicting descriptions of the offence. This thesis also evaluates the relative effectiveness of interviewing strategies used by the police for maximising admission in suspected paedophiles.

Eleven interviews conducted at Leicestershire Police Constabulary were transcribed using the Jefferson system of notation. The offenders were male and aged between 34-54 years. The victims were male (n=5) and female (n=6) and aged between 5-13 years. Content analysis confirmed that police officers and paedophiles do describe sexual acts between adults and children differently. A 'physical' repertoire of explicit sexual terms was used more frequently by the police officers, while the suspects exhibited a preference for an 'emotional' repertoire of relationship talk and euphemisms (² = 125.518; df = 1; p<0.01).

Discourse analysis explored what was happening when the police officers and suspected paedophiles used these repertoires. The analysis identified two distinct styles of interviewing with implications, not just for eliciting information from the suspect but also for admission and denial. Suspect admission was associated with 'open' police interviewing, where the officer invites the suspect to 'tell the story' using open-ended, relationship questioning. The suspect subsequently constructs an inappropriate, self-serving account, which the officer is able to reformulate to confirm sexual contact and secure admission. On the other hand, suspect denial was associated with 'closed' police interviewing, characterised by the officer recounting an explicit sexual narrative and eliminating suspect intervention with the use of linguistic devices to hold the floor. The suspect, rather than being invited to tell the story, is only asked to confirm the police officer's version of events. The police officer cannot reformulate the suspect's narrative and subsequently increases opportunities for the suspect to deny the accusations.

The analysis represents a distinctive qualitative understanding of how language clashes shape the progression of the police interview. The findings provide a vocabulary for skilled police officers to both reflect on their own interviewing practices and communicate their skills to less experienced officers. This thesis also offers hope to police interviewers by suggesting that if they interview effectively they can make a difference to the outcome. The methodological implications of the study, strategies for future research and suggestions for a discourse-based police interviewing training programme are outlined.


Merran Toerien completed her thesis, entitled Hair Removal and the Construction of Gender: A Multi-Method Approach, at the Department of Sociology, The University of York, under the supervision of Celia Kitzinger and, previously, Sue Wilkinson.

This thesis explores the production, maintenance, practices, and socio-cultural meanings of the UK norm for women's body hair removal. Hair removal is one of the statistically most common - and socially taken-for-granted - body-altering practices performed by women in the West today. Widely regarded as both 'beauty flaw' and a sign of masculinity, body hair - and its removal - is closely tied to cultural ideals of femininity. Yet it has received minimal research attention. Taking a feminist social constructionist approach, I examine hair removal as both constructed and constructive: as social norm maintained by particular, dominant ways of making sense of the world; and as a set of practices and meanings that help to constitute what it means to be - and appear as - an 'appropriately' feminine woman. Following a literature review, which is also a critical analysis, this thesis reports findings from three original empirical datasets: quantitative and qualitative survey data from 678 women; audio-recorded discussions with 68 women, collected through 10 focus groups and 27 one-to-one interviews; and audio/video-recordings of 8 beauty salon hair removal sessions. Taking a multi-method approach, I provide: (i) a quantitative study of women's (reported) body hair-related practices; (ii) an analytic account - based on a thematic analysis of women's body hair-related tellings - of the maintenance of the hairlessness norm; (iii) a discursive analysis of women's own accounts for hair removal; and (iv) a two-part conversation analysis of the paid work of hair removal, examining how beauty therapists and clients bring off their interaction as an institutional encounter of a particular kind. As a whole, the thesis contributes substantively to feminist research on the gendered body, and to conversation analytic work on institutional talk-in-interaction. Moreover, concerned with the social control of the body, I seek to challenge the cultural assumption - widely reinforced by normative body-alteration practices - that a woman's body is unacceptable if unaltered. Based on a feminist politics, this thesis offers, then, a social critique, aiming to unsettle the taken-for-granted.

Merran Toerien is currently working as a Research Associate for the Medical Research Council/ Health Services Research Collaboration, based at the University of Bristol. She can be contacted at: Merran.Toerien at

Toerien, Merran, Sue Wilkinson  (2003) 'Gender and body hair: Constructing the feminine woman', Women's Studies International Forum 26: 333-44
Toerien, Merran, SueWilkinson  (2004) 'Exploring the depilation norm: A qualitative questionnaire study of women's body hair removal', Qualitative Research in Psychology 1 :69-92
Toerien, Merran, Wilkinson, Sue, & Choi, Precilla Y. L. (accepted). 'Body hair removal: The 'mundane' production of normative femininity', Sex Roles, forthcoming.

Michael Clarke received his PhD November 2004 from the  University College London for his thesis: Conversational interaction between children using communication aids and their peers

This thesis uses the principles and practices of Conversation Analysis in an examination of conversational interaction between non-speaking children with Cerebral Palsy using voice output communication aids (VOCAs) and their speaking peers. In order to capture the unique and subtle ways in which these interactions are organised this thesis presents a detailed examination of three dyads.

Many children with Cerebral Palsy experience profound difficulty producing intelligible speech. Such children may be provided with communication aids, including VOCAs, as an alternative communication modality. Despite recognition of the value of children's peer relationships, few studies have focused on interaction between children using communication aids and their peers. The central aim of this thesis is to examine how such interactions are organised. In particular, this work is concerned with examining the role of the speaking partners in conversational organisation, how VOCAs contribute to interaction and how conversations are organised when non-speaking children participate through unintelligible vocalisations and non-verbal actions.

A significant feature of each dyad is the work that speaking partners do in organising particular types of structural integrity for the conversation. This includes speaking partners locating the production of VOCA mediated turns and non-verbal actions within specific sequential contexts. Such practices provide frameworks within which VOCA mediated contributions and non-verbal actions may be understood. VOCA use initiated outside such predefined sequential locations may be realised problematically. Speaking children may also seek to organise the interaction through the treatment of their partners' unintelligible vocalisations and non-verbal actions with rich meaning. In so doing, speaking partners portray children with Cerebral Palsy with particular types of competence.

By revealing the ways in which these children organise conversational interaction, this thesis highlights implications for intervention by Speech and Language Therapists who support children using communication aids in schools.

Michael is at the Department of Human Communication Science, University College London

Rebecca Randell gained her PhD at  the Department of Computing Science, University of Glasgow
 with her thesis on: "I just took it all apart": A Study of the Appropriation and Customisation of Technology Within the Intensive Care Unit.


This thesis is concerned with the appropriation of medical devices by nursing staff within the setting of intensive care. Particularly, this thesis focuses on the customisation of medical devices by nursing staff. Customisation can be considered as an important part of the process of technology appropriation.

Studies within the fields of HCI and CSCW have typically seen such customisation as a positive attempt by users to appropriate the technologies they use in their daily lives. However, customisations to medical devices naturally have consequences for patient safety. Thus, within the medical domain, such changes have been treated by both researchers and regulators as a threat to safety. The potential consequences of such customisations make this an important area for research, in order to better understand why such customisations occur.

The analysis presented is based on an ethnographic study carried out in three Scottish intensive care units. Using this data, this thesis seeks to answer two research questions:

The first part of the thesis sets the scene for the research, by placing the research within the context of previous work on appropriation and customisation, as well as in the context of workplace studies generally. Several methods that could be used for learning about the use of intensive care equipment are explored. The ethnographic approach to data collection and the ethnomethodologically-informed approach to the analysis of the data used within this research are described, and the limitations of such an approach are discussed. The assumptions about the nature of human action and interaction on which this thesis draws are described.

The second part of the thesis presents the analysis of the collected data. Throughout, there is a concern to describe the practical details of appropriation and customisation as it happens in the ICU, but also to describe the social processes that support such appropriation and customisation. The analysis is organised around three topics. Firstly, the introduction of a new device into a unit is considered, in order to show some of the difficulties of appropriation. This also allows for discussion of some typical problems that nurses experience in their interaction with medical devices. Aspects of their relationship with the devices' manufacturers and distributors are described. The nurses' persistence with the device is considered in relation to the nurses' local accountabilities. The second central chapter then shows how customisation is a practice used in the process of appropriation. Again, the local accountabilities that encourage such customisations, and the situated nature of the work that make them necessary, are considered. Finally, the thesis considers the adjusting of alarm limits. Adjustable alarm limits are treated as an example of a technology that is open to appropriation, allowing nurses to fit the alarm settings with both the current situation and their local accountabilities.

The final part of the thesis summarises the findings of the research in order to answer the first research question. An argument is then made for ways to provide users of the technology with more control over the technology that they use, looking at ways to support the customisation that is occurring. The thesis considers the extent to which technologies currently available within the ICU support customisation and how they do this. It then considers two approaches from the field of HCI and CSCW that developed in response to the phenomenon of user customisation. The first involves the development of easily customisable technologies. The second involves a reallocation of resources in the systems lifecycle, so that the later stages of design are carried out within the work setting once the technology is in use. How such approaches can be adapted for the medical domain is considered.

The thesis concludes by reflecting on the theory and methodology used within the research, summarising the contributions of the research, and highlighting areas for future research.

Rebecca Rendall  is Senior Lecturer at the Interaction Design Centre, School of Computing Science, Middlesex University, Trent Park, Bramley Road, London N14 4YZ

Erica Sandlund was awarded the Ph.D. degree in September, 2004, from Karlstad University, Sweden. The dissertation, published by Karlstad University Press, is available for purchase via the author at

Sandlund, E. S. (2004). Feeling by Doing: The Social Organization of Everyday Emotions in Academic Talk-in-Interaction. Doctoral dissertation, Karlstad University: Department of English. Published by Karlstad University Studies, 2004:36.

The present dissertation is concerned with the social organization of emotions in talk-in-interaction. Conversation analytic procedures were used to uncover the practices through which participants in social interaction convey, understand, enact, and utilize emotions that are made relevant to the interaction. The central aim is to describe such practices and the contexts in which they are deployed, and to link emotions to the social actions that they perform or contribute to performing within situated activities. Conversation analytic work has generally not addressed emotions explicitly for reasons discussed in the dissertation, and a second aim was therefore to test the applicability of conversation analysis to emotion research, to theoretically bring together separate fields of inquiry, and to discuss advantages and limitations of a talk-in-interactional approach to emotions. Furthermore, the analytic approach to emotions is restricted to displays and orientations that are made relevant by participants themselves.

Data consists of video recordings of six graduate school seminars at a large university in the United States, as well as interviews with all 22 participants. From the analyses, three themes emerged; “frustration”, “embarrassment”, and “enjoyment”, and within each, an assortment of practices for doing emotions were found. Frustration was primarily located in the context of violations of activity-specific turn-taking norms. Embarrassment was found to do multiple interactional work; for example, in contexts of repair, teasing, and culturally delicate matters. Enjoyment was found to be collaboratively pursued between and within institutional activities; for example, through reported speech dramatizations, utilization of activity-transitional environments, and playful ‘mock’ emotions. Timing of gaze aversion, laughter, and gestures were also found to be key to the display and perception of emotions.

The findings indicate that emotion displays can be viewed as transforming a situated action, opening up alternative trajectories for sequences-in-progress, and also function as actions in themselves. Furthermore, it was concluded that conversation analysis is indeed a fruitful empirical route for understanding emotions and their role in social interaction.

Keywords: conversation analysis, emotions, social interaction, talk-in-interaction, institutional, embarrassment, frustration, enjoyment, academic seminars

Christian Greiffenhagen recently completed his PhD, entitled "'Macbeth ex machina': an ethnomethodological study of computer-based storyboarding in school classrooms", at the Centre for Requirements and Foundations, Computing Laboratory, University of Oxford, under the supervision of Rod Watson (Manchester) and Jeff Sanders (Oxford).


This thesis reports an ethnomethodological study of a computer-based storyboarding tool which was designed to help secondary school pupils with their study of Shakespeare's "Macbeth".

In the first part, the focus is on the {development} of the software, which was one of the outcomes of an interdisciplinary project involving both academic and commercial collaborators. The analysis, based on organisational documents and 'respondent-driven' interviews with key participants, exhibits how participants used category-bound relevances and goals (e.g., educational, technological, and commercial) as resources in their accounts of the development of the software.

In the second part, the actual use of the storyboarding tool is investigated on the basis of a four-month video-based observational study of how the software was integrated into teaching and learning practices in two classrooms. The analysis focuses on the two-way reflexive determination between the resources provided by the software and the practices that make use of and explore the potential of these resources. First, the way in which the administration of task serves as a way of structuring and organising the activities of pupils over several lessons is exhibited. Tasks are respecified as party-administered, interactionally managed, and oriented-to by teacher and pupils. Tasks are characterised as shaping pupils' activities rather than determining them. Second, the socio-cultural methodic practices that pupils rely upon in their "working up" of a storyboard frame are examined. The analysis details how two pupils progressively produce the sense of a particular picture and highlights the `open-endedness' of that production as well as its collaborative nature.

In sum, this thesis constitutes a study of the 'mundaning' of technology, i.e., it exhibits some of the structures through which technology gets used and 'activated' according to local and practical relevances.


Christian can be at reached at the Department of Sociology, University of Manchester. Email: Christian.Greiffenhagen [at]

Ruth Helen Parry got her PhD in 2002 from the University of Nottingham for her thesis on: Communication between Stroke Patients and Physiotherapists.


This thesis reports an ethnomethodological conversation analytic study of communication between stroke patients and physiotherapists.   Analysis describes and explicates patterns of conduct by which therapists and patients communicate about treatment activities during therapy sessions.  Analysis included a comparison between practices observed in the data and current published professional recommendations for good practice.  A further theme within the analysis concerns how patients’ physical incompetence is interactionally managed.

The data consist of 74 treatment sessions that were video-recorded in four English hospitals.  The 21 patient participants were undergoing inpatient rehabilitation for stroke.  Most were recorded on four occasions over a two-week period.  Their disabilities varied, but all could speak and understand at least short sentences in English.  Each of the ten therapist participants was employed at senior level and used treatment approaches that are prevalent in the UK.

Analysis involved repeated viewing of data and transcription of talk and body movement.  It focused on three areas that emerged as central to physiotherapy interactions:

The study contributes to ethnomethodological and conversation analytic knowledge regarding methodological strategies for researching lay professional interactions, and to sociological understandings about the organisation of conduct in clinical interactions, particularly the role of orientations to managing physical incompetence and its implications.  The second volume of the thesis contains detailed transcripts (talk and body movements).

Consistent with conversation analytic studies in other settings, I found that each communication practice in physiotherapy has a range of interactional effects, and that these are locally constructed and accomplished.  Therefore, rather than generating ‘blanket prescriptions’ about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ interactional practices, the study contributes to enhancing practitioners’ understanding of the contingencies and underlying orientations that shape communication conduct, and raising their awareness of the effects of different means of achieving various interactional tasks in physiotherapy.  I argue that these understandings can contribute to improvements in the practice and training of physiotherapy communication.

Ruth Parry's current address: Clinical Research Group, School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK. email:
British Library reference for PhD thesis:
Parry RH (2002) University of Nottingham, British Library reference DXN054515 (via

See also:
Parry, Ruth Helen (2004) 'Communication during goal setting in physiotherapy treatment sessions' Clinical Rehabilitation 18, 9, 668-82

Esther González Martínez completed her thesis in sociology, entitled La comparution immédiate. L'organisation des échanges langagiers [The Organization of Verbal Exchanges in Immediate Trial Hearings] in April 2003 at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) and the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (Paris-France), under the supervision of André Petitat and Louis Quéré. Committee members: Paul Beaud, Irène Théry, Rod Watson and Jean Widmer.

On the basis of ethnomethodology and analysis of conversations, this thesis presents a sociological analysis of a corpus of verbal exchanges drawn from sixty-seven immediate trial hearings. The French legal procedure of "comparution immédiate" (immediate court appearance or immediate trial) is applied in the case of violations of a "correctionnelle" nature: violation of a banning order, theft, assault, damage to property, drug dealing...  This is an accelerated procedure conducted by the prosecutor, without the involvement of a committing magistrate (juge d'instruction), during which the prosecutor decides if there is sufficient evidence to charge the suspect. The hearings studied follow the arrest, and precede the appearance before the court, if the prosecutor decides an appearance is required,. In addition to the prosecutor and the suspect, a police officer is present during the hearing, but remains silent. Three different prosecutors conduct the hearings, each hearing generally lasting less than ten minutes.

This corpus comes from the audio-visual recordings made in the Paris Court by the famous French documentary film-maker Raymond Depardon for the production of his documentary Délits Flagrants (1994). This data is exceptional in nature; it makes it possible to observe the course of legal interactions usually subject to investigational secrecy.

The central question of this thesis is: by which procedures do the protagonists of the interactions organize concretely, one moment after the other, sequentially and endogenously, their verbal exchanges, thus giving them their specific characteristics? Integrating several ways of analysis, this research poses a certain number of points from which to describe the interaction. 1) The base of the coordination of the actors is placed in an exchange of perspectives - defined as proposals or orientations for action - concerning the various dimensions of the conversation. 2) The organization of the exchange develops on three planes: conversational (the mechanics of the speech turns), practical (the accomplishment of actions) and relational (the production of identities and intersubjective bonds), all of them interdependent. 3) The analysis - developed primarily on the practical plane, while anchoring itself on the other planes as well - proposes that, no matter what the actors do, they do it through the discursive production of "what happened which led to the arrest". 4) This production is described at the same time in terms of contents of the propositions about "what happened" and in terms of the movements of production, reception, and shaping, utterance after utterance, of the elements that give form to this entity.

The analysis - based primarily on the sound recordings - identifies in the central phase of the exchange - the discussion - forms of coordination, corresponding to particular wefts of perspectives, recognizable in sequences of utterances with characteristics and contours well defined, and called activities. These activities draw general movements of exposure, alignment, opposition and attribution of perspectives about "what happened which led to the arrest". 1) The first activity is characterized by a sequence having the form of an "invited story", whereby the prosecutor communicates to the defendant the charges retained against him, and requests and receives his declarations. 2) The second activity is characterized by a sequence of questions and answers. 3) The third is presented in the form of a succession of counter-assertions having the form "X, but Y". 4) The last activity is strongly structured by oralisations of inscriptions, produced by the prosecutor when he writes the declaration of the suspect, followed by interventions which mark the suspect's reception of the oralizations.

In successive chapters, the thesis describes for each one of these activities: 1) the location inside the phase of discussion, the delimitation toward the other activities, the mode of coordination which ensures their maintenance; 2) the form of the sequences, the type of turns which constitute them and the way in which they are connected; 3) the movements of shaping the "what happened" entity that they produce; 4) the characteristics of realization of the activity according to the prosecutor who conducts the meeting. The address and the asymmetrical resources of the participants at the time of introducing, of maintaining, of changing, or of refracting these activities are also studied. One distinct chapter approaches the linking, the piercing, and the embeddedness of the activities. By the study of these phenomena, the analysis gradually exceeds the framework of the isolated sequence and includes more significant sets of conversation to end up giving a description of several discussions from beginning to end.

This work highlights the inextricable bond between the type, the distribution, and the order of the turns and the production of "what happened", between the way the interlocutors speak to each other and what they do while speaking. By modifying the type of sequence, the prosecutor gradually succeeds in introducing his own perspectives into the speech of the suspect such as in the text supposed to reproduce the latter's declaration. In conclusion, the thesis defends that the mode of organization of the exchange which can appear at first transparent - the code of penal procedure orders that the prosecutor acquaint the suspect with the facts which are reproached to him and collects his declarations if he requests it - is also, because of the plurality and the entanglement of activities, shifting and equivocal. This conclusion echoes the evolution of a phase of the procedure which has been successively an act conducted by a prosecutor vested with the powers of a committing magistrate (acte d'instruction), an interrogation inside the investigation conducted by the police and, recently, at least in theory, a hearing or simple notification.

Two published papers from the same research:

Esther González Martínez is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Sociology of Boston University. E-mail address:

Katarina Eriksson received her PhD at Linköping University, Sweden, in May 2002, under the supervision of Karin Aronsson. The title of the thesis is: Life and fiction: on intertextuality in pupils? booktalk.

This study examines booktalk, that is, teacher-led group discussions about books for children in a Swedish school. The empirical data comprise 24 hours of video-recorded booktalk in grades 4-7. In total, 40 children (aged 10-14 years) were recorded during 24 sessions. The present approach diverges from previous reader-response studies in that it draws on authentic data, and in that it examines talk at a micro level, applying an approach from discursive psychology. By focusing on authentic book discussions, the study contributes to the development of reader-response methods.
All eight books applied in the booktalk sessions involved some type of existential issue: freedom, separation, loyalty, and mortal danger (Chapter 4). Yet, such issues were rarely discussed. An important task of the present thesis was to understand why such issues did not materialise, that is, what did not take place. In Chapter 5, a series of booktalk dilemmas were identified. The booktalk sessions were generally lively and informal. Yet, booktalk as such was often transformed into other local educational projects; e.g. time scheduling, vocabulary lessons or reading aloud exercises. Gender was invoked in all booktalk sessions (Chapter 6). In line with predictions from reader-response theory, progressive texts were, at times, discussed in gender stereotypical ways. The findings also revealed a generational pattern in that the pupils discussed fictive children in less traditional ways than adult characters. The interface between texts and life was invoked in all booktalk sessions (Chapter 7). There was, again, a generational pattern in that children entertained ideas other than those of their teachers concerning legitimate topics in a school context. Also, the discussions revealed a problem of balance between pupils' privacy, on the one hand, and engaging discussions on texts and life, on the other.

(Keywords: reader response; children's literature; discourse analysis; booktalk; gender)

Katarina Eriksson can be reached at the Dept of Child Studies, Linköping University (e-mail:

Karin Osvaldsson  received her PhD at Linköping University in October 2002, under the supervision of Karin Aronsson.

Karin Osvaldsson: Talking Trouble. Institutionality and Identity in a Youth Detention Home
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science • 263
Language: English
Department of Child Studies
Linköping University, S-581 83 Linköping, Sweden
Linköping 2002
ISBN: 91-7373-439-X ISSN: 0282-9800

This study explores talk, and what talking may amount to, in terms of social organization. It was carried out in a Swedish Youth Detention Home specializing in assessments. The analyses draw on conversational data from multiparty conferences, so-called network meetings, involving the assessment of ten girls/young women. Apart from the young person herself and her family, the detention home staff, social workers and sometimes other persons also took part in the meetings. One chapter also analyzes ten research interviews conducted with the girls/young women. The epistemological framework of the thesis rests on several discourse-oriented approaches to the analysis of talk, notably on the interrelated research programs of ethnomethodology, conversation analysis and discursive psychology, all of which advocate a practice-based program of social inquiry. A central research problem deals with how institutionality may bear on and inform identity descriptions and the interactional work through which different identities are collaboratively constructed. In terms of institutionality, the present study highlights some formalizing devices, which orient the interaction towards particular organizational goals. In addition, a systematic production of informality was observed to facilitate the organization’s work, and a locally relevant preference structure is introduced to account for these findings. Important parts of the meetings proceeded according to set agendas and, for someone who was not directly  addressed, considerable effort was required to take a turn at talk. Here laughter was found to be a particularly useful tool for the structuring of interaction, as it provided both lay and professional participants with opportunities to participate meaningfully in the flow of talk without actually expressing much through words. The analyses focus on the fine-grained and delicate aspects that comprised social interaction at the juncture of distinct institutional projects, highlighting the production of contrastive versions, which cast the young person as either accountable or not accountable for past events. In this sort of competition or politics of representation, participants could, for example, be seen to “do normality” as a situated accomplishment of talk. In sum, the thesis highlights various devices used to manage institutional categorizations and identities, invoking different notions of accountability and different notions of normality/deviance. In Swedish discussions concerning directions for social work, the virtue of involving members of the clients’ social network in the assessment and treatment work has been stressed. Yet, the present findings show the ways in which such meetings are highly complex. The participants need to orient to various subtle contextualization cues. In this complex undertaking, the monitoring work of a chair is crucial, especially when the girl/young woman under assessment is present at the meeting, listening to different versions of ascribed problems and identities that concern her past and future.

Karin Osvaldsson can be reached at the Dept. of  Child Studies, Linköping University, Sweden

Eleni Petraki has received her PhD which she completed at the University of Queensland, School of Education, under the supervision of Carolyn Baker and Mike Emmison. Her thesis is titled: Relationships and Identities As Storied Orders : A Study in Three Generations of Greek-australian Women.

This thesis seeks to investigate the construction of relationships and identities within three generations of Greek-Australian women through their narrated stories and other aspects of their interaction. Ethnomethodology, conversation analysis and membership categorisation analysis were selected as perspectives ideally suited to the analytic task of unveiling the situated and negotiated nature of intergenerational relationships and identities.

The data were generated using the method of narrative interviewing. The interviews were treated as social encounters where participants negotiate their identities and display aspects of their cultural and moral worlds. The interviews were semi-structured and the questions aimed to elicit data about the participants experiences and relationship with each other. The study involved two phases, the pilot study and main study. Within the pilot study I conducted interviews with two families where the three generations of women were interviewed alone or in groups. The pilot study offered significant insight into the methodology to be employed for the main study. The analysis revealed the participants co-construction and negotiation of identities in situ and developed my interest in the situated activities of the interaction. Within the main study, I conducted interviews with five families with the three generations of women together in one interview.

The chapters of this thesis are devoted to the analysis of various dimensions of intergenerational relationships. Central to this analysis is the position that identities and relationships are phenomena that are constantly negotiated and moulded through the situated and interpretive work of the members and their common sense reasoning, rather than categories with fixed properties, which has been the case in previous research. First, this thesis examines the collaboration and co-construction of storytelling which is a way in which the participants do their relationships. In another chapter I attend to the ways the participants construct and build moral versions of motherhood, daughterhood and granddaughterhood in the course of storytelling. I also investigate the negotiation of disagreements as a means of displaying another aspect of the family in action . Finally, I examine how the presence of three generations is topicalised by the participants in their talk and I investigate their asymmetrical relationships. I show how the second-generation women are the most active in initiating and mediating the stories of the other two generations.

The study is important as it opens a new field in family relationships - that of the organisation of multigenerational interaction. The use of ethnomethodological and conversation analytic approaches provides a novel perspective for examining family relationships and identities by focusing on lived orders as produced by the members in situ through their stories. This study also contributes to research on interview settings and the role of the interviewer in the construction of identities and relationships. By treating interviews as places where social order is enacted, this work yields insight into the contributions of the interviewer in the construction of a moral and social world. This thesis also contributes to research on storytelling. While previous approaches have examined the structural elements of stories or viewed storytelling as a resource for analysing ideologies and power, this thesis treats storytelling as a co-constructed, multigenerational and active event and as a site for displaying family relationships and identities in action .

Eleni Petraki is Lecturer at the School of Languages and International Education, University of Canberra, 2601, ACT.

Jacki O'Neill completed her PhD in 2002 at the Information Systems Institute, Salford University, under the supervision of Richard Varey. The thesis title is: An investigation into the support of on-line distributed event-based networking : ethnomethodological analysis and requirements elicitation.

Attending networking events is a popular method of networking, a way of creating and maintaining business contacts. With the increase in technologies supporting real-time distributed work and interaction, could virtual networking events be supported? This thesis describes two studies, carried out with the common aim of producing design knowledge for the development of online networking events. The research method, ethnomethodologically-informed systems design, was chosen to illuminate the detail of people's interactions with one another and with the technology. This was then used to prompt the elicitation of requirements for technology to support online real-time networking.

The first piece of fieldwork examined current networking practice through an ethnography of networking events, producing an understanding of event-based networking as a situated practice and a number of loose design requirements for online networking events. The second study was an evaluation of possible applications for online networking events in a research setting. It involved testing web-based seminar applications in a new potential situation of use (networking events), to produce a number of design suggestions for the adaptation of such technologies to support online networking.

Drawing the two strands of research together produced a body of design knowledge. A number of socio-technical issues around the design of, and holding of, such online networking events are raised. Findings include an illustration of how participants go about meeting relevant people with whom they can build mutually beneficial relationships and suggests design ideas for supporting such social actions online. How participants practically achieve participation in the online events is demonstrated and a number of foundational interactional issues, which arise from the use of such technologies, are illustrated. This work also suggests that technological instability is an inherent feature of such web-based distributed technology and should be designed-in to enable participants to deal with it.

Jacki is a Research scientist at XRCE Grenoble and can be reached at

Simon Allistone completed his thesis, entitled A Conversation Analytic Study of Parents' Evening, in 2002, at Goldsmiths College, University of London, under the supervision of David Silverman


This research describes the interactional structures by which a teacher and parents of children in a British Junior school initiate parents evening meetings.
Utilising tape recordings of 17 parents evening meetings, this study applies the analytic methods of conversation analysis. Working from detailed transcripts of the tape-recorded data, conversation analysis examines the way in which interactants construct their conversational activities. It seeks to highlight the accomplishment of specific tasks made relevant by the participants, as well as the way particular interactional settings are created and maintained. This research also examines several features relevant to the meetings as institutional encounters.
The study focuses on the opening sequences of the parents evening, and provides a description of a consistent structural organisation designed to deliver an initial report on the child by the teacher.
The description of this structural organisation is used as a context within which to analyse several conversational features. These include the methods by which the participants enter into a state of talk, the role of written records during the meetings, the use of syllogism in the delivery of the children s results, and the formats utilised in the presentation of different results.

There are three main findings.

  1. The delineation of the basic activities carried during the opening stages of the parents evening meetings. The description of these activities show how, despite the asymmetrical positions of the participants in terms of access to written records and rights to initiate the meetings, the teacher makes specific efforts to avoid carrying out a specific tour of responsibility that seeks to settle on some agent or practice as providing an account for the achievement of any of the relevant interactional parties.
  2. Many earlier observations regarding institutional talk are also evident during parents evening, including participation frameworks invoked and caution displayed by professional interactants.
  3. The role of intonation and the invocation of local physical resources in institutional settings are identified, whilst earlier work on news announcements is developed.
Simon Allistone can be reached at

Juliette Corrin was awarded a PhD at the University College London for her thesis  The emergence of early grammar: A conversation analytic perspective, which was supervised originally by Clare Tarplee and then by Bill Wells.


The thesis takes a new methodological lens to an old phenomenon by investigating successive child utterances from a conversation analytic perspective.  It is theoretically significant that this phenomenon typifies the transition from single-word to constructed multi-word speech, and therefore signals the emergence of early grammar.  Whilst past child language research has characterised the developmental emergence of the phenomenon, a conversation analytic (CA) perspective proves sensitive to questions of on-line emergence. The thesis reveals how successive child utterances are occasioned during the moment-by-moment activity of speaking and listening that constitutes child-adult discourse.

The data comprise a longitudinal sample of audio- and video-recordings of three child-mother dyads at home during play, taken during the 16-22 month age period. By working in an analytical cycle of data observation and transcription, the study explicates individual instances in fine-grained detail.  The inductive methods of CA uncover how a succession of child utterances is designed by both participants to constitute a moment of their ongoing sequence of interaction, and how these ‘turns’ are occasioned as opportunities for emergent grammar.

A central finding is that the dyad construct their social context as one of talk-in-play-interaction and shape it into four patterns of turn organisation which are distinctly relevant to emergent syntax.  Key to this process is the subtle deployment and integration of the participant’s vocal resources (e.g. linguistic/prosodic utterance design), non-vocal resources (e.g. gesture, eye gaze) and physical resources (e.g. cultural objects of play).  Opportunities to deliver a temporally successive next-utterance arise either as actions of doing further talk or re-doing prior talk  with different implications for turn organisation.

The study concludes that early grammar has a reflexive quality, both constructing a sequential environment for its own development and in turn being constructed by that environment.

Juliette can be reached at:

Christopher D. Pike received his PhD, supervised by Michael Forrester at the University of Kent (2000). The title of his thesis was: The internalisation of adult-child conversation in children's cognitive development.


Sociocultural approaches to cognitive development view it as a fundamentally social process in which patterns of language use in adult-child conversation are held to play a central mediating role. However, as research in this tradition has yet to bridge a gap between theoretical sophistication and empirical methodology, the moment-bymoment process through which
talk-in-interaction organises and effects cognitive change in children has received little investigation by developmental psychologists.
In addressing this issue, this thesis presents a microgenetic, single-case study of cognitive development in a 7-year old girl, who took part in a series of task-oriented learning conversations with the researcher involving a novel, computer-based, proportional reasoning task. A methodology is developed for studying the microgenesis of change within and across these
conversations, that draws on work in the fields of interactional prosody and pragmatics, and incorporates the use of Conversation Analysis (CA) within a neo-Vygotskyan analytic framework based on Wertsch (1984)'s concept of
situation definitions.
Through turn-by-turn analysis of microgenetic changes in the lexico-prosodic and sequential organisation of the conversations and the child's private speech, it is shown how the child develops an increasingly refined orientation to recurrent, locallyproduced patternings of talk-in-interaction in the adult-child sessions, and how this comes to organise and coordinate
her subsequent performance at the task. The thesis develops an account of these changes in terms of how the presuppositional potential of a patterning of talk-in-interaction (i.e. 'situation definition') is 'worked out' in and through successive cycles of that patterning as it guides and coordinates the participants' ongoing, goal-directed activity. The analysis demonstrates the inherently indeterminate nature of this process, its extreme sensitivity to local lexico-prosodic detail, and how it permits ambiguities to persist and give rise to interactional difficulties whose origins and resolution may lie outside of participants' conscious awareness.
The findings are discussed with reference to Vygotskyan theory, and the constitutive-mediational role of discourse both in children's cognitive development, and in the study of that development by psychologists.

Chris can be reached at

Mathias Broth has defended his doctoral thesis in Faculté des Lettres de l'Université d'Uppsala in 2001. The thesis has been written in French with an English summary. Publication details and abstract below.

Broth, Mathias (2002) Agents secrets. Le public dans la construction interactive de la représentation théâtrale. [Secret Agents. The Audience in the Interactive Construction of the Theatre Performance.] Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Studia Romanica Upsaliensia 65. 176 pp. Uppsala. ISBN 91-554-5401-1.

The present study focusses on the theatre audience, and on its' role in the maintenance of the theatrical situation. Using video-recorded performances of relatively naturalistic, modern dramas, the study examines the behaviour of the audience in relation to the unfolding of stage events. Such behaviour is described through close inspection of the sounds the audience produces, consisting primarily of coughing, throat-clearing, and laughter.

The study contributes to the growing body of research surrounding ethnomethodological conversation analysis (CA). CA methods are used to analyse not only an audience's overt reactions to stage events, but also the actions occurring outside these relatively short-lived phenomena in the context of a theatre performance. It is demonstrated that members of the audience refrain from making «!vocal noise!» during the verbal interaction of actors, and some of the resources used to achieve this end are described. These include the interpretation of the emerging dialogue, of the relative positioning of actors and of the actors' use of gesture.

Members of the audience are observed making vocal noise around possible completions in the sequence of ongoing stage actions, a placing which seems to make it maximally unobtrusive. Furthermore, the audience's laughter is described. It is argued that members of the audience negociate collective moments of laughter with each other and with the actors. In doing so, the audience displays a sensitive awareness of the other members of the audience and the performers on stage.

It is finally suggested that vocal noise on one hand and laughter on the other are differently placed in relation to an emerging action. This relative placing seems to indicate their producers' different orientations to these actions, according to which vocal noise is to be hidden and laughter to be taken as an overt reaction.

Keywords: Theatre performance, audience, coughing, throat-clearing, silence, laughter, collective response, conversation analysis, institutional interaction, turn-taking, official and unofficial actions, projection, listening, gesture, acting.

Mathias Broth <>
Department of Romance Languages, Uppsala University, Box 527,
SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
© Mathias Broth 2002
ISSN 0562-3022
ISBN 91-554-5401-1
Distributor: Uppsala University Library, Box 510, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Dirk vom Lehn was awarded his PhD for: Exhibiting Interaction: Conduct and Participation in Museums and Galleries, supervised by Christian Heath at The Management Centre, King's College, University of London


The thesis investigates how museum visitors organise their conduct at and around exhibits both alone and in social interaction with others. The principle data of the investigation are video-recordings of visitors' conduct in museums. Ethnomethodology and conversation analysis provide the thesis with the analytic framework to explore the sequential organisation of museum visitors' verbal and bodily conduct.

The investigation primarily discusses how visitors approach and examine exhibits in social interaction. It explores how visitors' verbal and bodily conduct feature in the social interaction at exhibits. It illuminates how visitors render visible exhibit features for each other. It also explores how visitors portray and make observable their experience of exhibits to others as they animate them through talk, gestures and bodily comportment. Furthermore, the thesis discusses participation in the new media art installation 'Desert Rain'. It explores how social interaction between participants and performers is critical for visitors to make sense of and understand the new media art installation.

Visitors also often meet strangers in a museum with whom they have not come with to a museum. The thesis explores how strangers coordinate their conduct with each other when they act in the same locale. It studies how strangers take into consideration each other's conduct and how exhibit features may become visible for visitors through the actions of strangers in the same locale.

The investigation wishes to produce observations and findings that contribute to current debates in visitor studies, museology and museum studies. It hopes to make a methodological contribution and to demonstrate the use of video-recordings for the study of visitor behaviour. It also hopes to have some practical relevance for the design, development and deployment of exhibits and exhibitions. Furthermore, it wishes to make a small contribution to discussions in the sociology of art and culture and the methods of studying social interaction.

Dirk can be reached at <>

Michael Tholander received his PhD at Linköping University in May 2002, under the supervision of Karin Aronsson. The title of the thesis is: Doing morality in school. Teasing, gossip and subteaching as collaborative action.

The thesis investigates socializing practices that take place among pupils during group-work sessions in Swedish junior high schools. The pupils, who were video recorded during such sessions, were supposed to work on common assignments, but quite often digressed into so-called off-task talk. Most of the present analyses focus on such digressions.

More specifically, the purpose of the thesis was to study pupils' moral practices. Through the staging of such practices, the pupils could be seen to be 'doing morality in school'. A basic assumption was that social norms are best seen when the participants themselves identify transgressions of these norms. Three communicative genres in which moral practices become plainly visible were chosen as the basis for analysis: (i) teasing, (ii) gossiping, and (iii) so-called 'subteaching', that is, sequences of talk where at least one pupil is positioned as a deputy teacher. Sequences of these genres were transcribed in detail, and a conversational approach was applied for the purpose of close analyses of moral practices.

The findings are presented in four articles. The first article focuses on gender socialization and illustrates the fine details of how boys and girls orient to gender in teasing practices. It also shows that cross-gender teasing is far more common than same-gender teasing. In the second article, the dialogic architecture of teasing is analyzed, showing that pupils often rely on their co-participants in the staging of teases, and that they employ a rich repertoire of response strategies: account work, denial, minimal responses, playing along with the teasing, retaliation, and proactive work. The third article focuses on sequences of gossiping, and more specifically on how gossip sometimes serves as remedial action for incidents or states of affairs that can be seen as degrading for the primary gossiper's social standing. Finally, the fourth article analyzes so-called 'subteaching' and resistance to such subteaching. Regardless of whether pupils are positioned as subteachers or position themselves, subteaching is ultimately always a collaborative affair.

Together the four studies show some of the skills that pupils must master in order to participate successfully in group interaction. Ultimately, pupils' (local) standing largely depends upon acquiring such skills. The conclusion is that school is perhaps not foremost a place where you learn a set of moral norms, but an arena where you learn to practically manage yourself in and through talk-in-interaction.

Michael Tholander can be reached at <>

Tim Rapley completed his thesis, entitled Accounting for recreational drug use: the lived practice of qualitative interviews, in 2001 at Goldsmiths' College, University of London, under the supervision of David Silverman.

The thesis uses (semi-)open-ended interviews with drug users and non-drug users to document the lived practices of qualitative interviewing and talk about drugs. It draws on Sacks and more contemporary work on conversation analysis and membership categorization to outline in detail 'how qualitative interviews come off' in and through talk-in-interaction. It also contextualises the interviewees' topic talk, their talk-about-drugs. An (intimately) related concern, is to document some ideals about qualitative interviewing and talk about drugs asideals-in-and-as-lived-practice.

Underlying all types of research interviews is the tension between an extra-local need to collect data on a topic and a here-and-now interactional event in which this data is collected in and through talk-in-interaction (Antaki and Rapley 1996, Mazeland and ten Have 1996/1998, Suchman and Jordan 1990). The thesis describes how interviewers and interviewees manage this tension, documenting (some of) the methods - the practical solutions - they routinely use "to get the job done". Special reference is given to how interviewers locally produce themselves as 'the sort of qualitative interviewers they are supposed to be'.

The research outlines how qualitative interviews are locally produced, with reference to the structural, sequential and topical organization. It focuses on (some of) the methods interviewers use explicitly to inform the interviewee that their questions are to be heard and understood as neutralistic and/or facilitatory. These methods include producing questions without preferred responses, question prefaces, specific lexical choices and tag-components. It also outlines (some of) the methods interviewees use to produce themselves as 'morally adequate' types-of-people in relation to topics in the talk.

This thesis seeks to unsettle some of the current research practices and theories in the academic 'drug' and 'qualitative interviewing' worlds. Chiefly, it shows how both speakers, the interviewee and interviewer, are essential to, in Silverman's (1973) term, 'bringing off the research instrument'.Tim can be reached at:

Hillary Bays received her PhD in December2001 in Sciences du Langage (Linguistics) at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and under the direction of Pierre Encrevé. This study is a conversation analysis of social chat rooms in both French and English. The dissertation is written in French.

Échanges Conversationnels Sur Internet: Une analyse sociolinguistique d'un nouveau mode de communication
[Conversational Exchange on the Internet : A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Internet Relay Chat, a New Mode of Communication]

This research, based on a corpus collected over a period of 5 years, analyses the construction of conversations on Internet Relay Chat (IRC). Using a pluridisciplinary approach (conversation analysis, interactional sociolinguistics), we demonstrate the capacity of conversation to adapt both to a particular means of transmission and to the context of its production. IRC communication requires the harmonization of technical knowledge and communicational parameters. Even if exchanges often concentrate more on form than on content, symbolic social connections are established between participants through the reconstruction of co-presence and a metaphorical space.

Next, we examine the act of writing synchronic conversation, noting the graphic, iconic and lexically specific traits which constitute an &laquo; ordinary electronic conversation &raquo;. Using conversation analytical methods, we describe in detail the local level of turn construction and sequencing ; these are reorganized through the allocation of turns to accommodate visual conversational logic. On the conversational level we examine opening and closing sequences and topic, both of which reveal power structures and affinities between the participants. Furthermore, topic reveals that symbolic co-presence is reinforced by actual references to localisation. Temporality is found to be central to IRC conversations : it is integrated with the writing style to create a kind of iconic poetics. Finally, we demonstrate that though IRC offers a liberal space for expression, and could be treated as an independent sociological field, participants are nevertheless subject to real world standards of writing and behavior.

RÉSUMÉ en français :

Nous étudions dans un cadre pluridisciplinaire, mobilisant analyse conversationnelle et sociolinguistique variationniste, la construction des échanges par Internet Relay Chat (IRC) à partir d'un corpus français et anglais, recueilli sur 5 ans.

La communication par IRC impose l'harmonisation des techniques informatiques et des contraintes interactionnelles. Il en résulte un objet socio-technique fondé sur l'écrit, inséré dans un dispositif d'échange simultané dans lequel les participants reconstruisent par des procédures symboliques, une co-présence situationnelle. Nous examinons en détail le langage de l'IRC, notamment les traits constitutifs d'un &laquo; langage électronique ordinaire &raquo; tels que les unités graphiques, iconiques et lexicales spécifiques.

Grâce à l'analyse conversationnelle, nous décrivons l'échange électronique au niveau local dans le système de tours de parole et leurs séquences. L'IRC présente une économie d'échange qui réorganise le système de prise de tours selon une logique conversationnelle visuelle. Au niveau global de l'interaction, les séquences d'ouverture et de clôture et la gestion des thèmes discursifs révèlent les influences et affinités entre participants renforçant la co-présence symbolique par un réel ancrage physique. Ensuite, la temporalité est un paramètre fondamental à l'expression en IRC : elle s'intègre au registre écrit pour créer une &laquo; poésie iconique &raquo;. Enfin, l'IRC, champ d'activité sociale, favorise l'émergence d'une nouvelle forme d'expression, conservant cependant des liens avec le monde &laquo; réel &raquo; par le biais du bagage socioculturel. Par cette étude, nous démontrons la capacité de la conversation à s'adapter à la fois aux moyens de transmission et aux circonstances de sa production.

Hillary Bays can be reached at the following email address:

Rhyll Vallis received her PhD at the School of Education, University of Queensland, Australia for a thesis on chatroom talk, supervised by Carolyn Baker and Calvin Smith. It is entitled Sense and sensibility in chat rooms and focusses on setting-specific categorizations


This study examined the local organisation of interaction in chat rooms from an ethnomethodological perspective in order to theorise about the organisation of chat room interaction in a way alternate to cyber-culture and critical cyber-culture studies. Ethnomethodology, conversation analysis and membership categorisation analysis were selected as methodologies ideally suited to the analytic task of unveiling the situated and achieved nature of social order and identity in chat rooms. This study's focus on the situated features of order production addressed the main limitations of prior studies by detailing the quiddity of chat room talk, using categories reflectively (as distinct from the unreflective use), and by reconceptualising the phenomenon of social order in chat rooms.

Data were collected by 'logging' chat room messages (saved as text files) produced in the chat rooms joined. 'Logs' (or log files) contained everything seen on the computer screen by chat room users except for the interface that included a user list showing all the users in the chat room and their access status. Data were collected daily for one or two hours over a two-year period resulting in over 3000 pages of text-based conversation. One chat room, #IRCbar was recorded daily over the two year period while several other chat rooms were visited intermittently and numerous (around 40) chat rooms were visited once or twice. While a variety of chat clients and servers were sampled, the data examined were collected using the MIRC client and only one or two chat servers. These servers are not named here in order to preserve the anonymity of participants. In some data the researcher is a participant in the chat room talk, while in other data the researcher is absent in talk although 'lurking' in the chat room. Access to highly accurate records of participants' chat room talk across a range of different chat rooms and occasions provided for the detailed observation of members' organisation of their talk and variation across instances.

Analysis of data revealed methods by which chat room members organised their interaction in situated ways by orienting to, and thus accomplishing, the local relevance of particular versions of social order on each occasion. In this way, social order was seen to be not a property of chat rooms but, rather, the achievement of chat room members on each occasion of interaction. Analysis also revealed that versions of social order were accomplished in different ways on occasions, and that the version of social order invoked on an occasion of interaction could also vary. Membership categorisation analysis identified four membership categorisation devices recurrently oriented to by members in organising their chat room interaction. These devices were ownership, hospitality, access status and stage of chat room life. The analytic findings of the study were significant in that they contradicted prior studies of chat room interactional organisation that treated chat rooms as a uniform interactional setting and that assumed social order was a stable phenomenon across chat rooms. Detailed analysis of talk and description and attention to the reflective use of categories revealed possibilities of practice in organising chat room interaction that provide a new focus - outside of structuralist and post-modern paradigms - for further observational studies of chat room interaction. The findings also demonstrate the analytic rewards of reflective category use by the researcher and of embedding the analysis of categorisation within an analysis of sequential organisation.

Note:  two published papers from the same project:

Vallis, Rhyll (1999) ‘Members' methods for entering and leaving #IRCbar: a conversation analytic study of internet relay chat’. In: K. Chalmers, S. Bogitini and P. Renshaw (eds), Educational Research in New Times. Flaxton: PostPressed, 117-27

Vallis, Rhyll (2001) ‘Applying membership categorization analysis to chat-room talk’. In: A. McHoul and M. Rapley (eds), How to Analyse Talk in Institutional Settings: A Casebook of Methods. London: Continuum, 86-99

Rhyll can be reached at: <>

Scott R. Harris received his PhD at University of Oregon, June 2001, supervised by Ken
Liberman. The title of his thesis is: What is Equal? The Social Construction of Equality in Marriage.

 “Equality" is a socially constructed phenomenon.  It is a crucial moral ideal and social scientific term but its meaning is often taken for granted. Rather than treating the meaning of equality as obvious, independent, or objective, I investigate it as a perspectival and contextually embedded notion.  By drawing on the rich theoretical traditions of symbolic interactionism, phenomenology, and ethnomethodology, I lay some groundwork for studying the interpretive and experiential aspects of equality.
 To demonstrate the utility and feasibility of this approach, I carefully review the literature on and conduct an empirical study of equality in one substantive area:  marriage.  First, I carefully scrutinize the literature on marital equality to see how different scholars have defined and measured the concept.  Second, I interview a diverse sample of individuals who consider their own marriages to be equal or unequal, in order to discover how they define and measure (or "narrate") equality in their everyday lives.
 My dissertation is not meant to instruct readers in the proper way to view equality but to encourage the capacity and inclination to inquire about what equality might mean, in practice, to specific persons in specific situations.  The distinctive contribution that a constructionist approach can make to the study of equality is to respect and investigate the concerns of the people whose lives are our "data."  Otherwise, the tales scholars tell about equality will take precedence over the stories that people themselves might live by.
 This dissertation includes my previously published materials. (cf. EMCA Bibliography)

Scott R. Harris is Assistant Professor in the Dept of Sociology & Criminal Justice, St. Louis University, 221 N Grand Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63103

Carles Roca received his PhD at the University of Manchester in December 2001 under the supervision of Wes Sharrock. The title of his thesis is: Mental illness and the practice of psychotherapy: A conversation analytic study.

This thesis constitutes an empirical study of the phenomena of mental illness and the practice of psychotherapy. For this study I have used the research tools developed by the sociological approach of conversation analysis. In accordance with the research policy of conversation analysis, I have focused my research upon the production of naturally occurring interaction by the participants in seven psychotherapy sessions. For that purpose, I recorded and transcribed those psychotherapy sessions according to the transcription conventions of conversation analysis.

In chapter 1 I critically review several approaches that deal with the subject of mental illness. Through that review, I identify what I consider their main methodological and epistemological problem: in general, I suggest that that problem is related to their unacknowledged recourse to common sense knowledge for the production of universal theories of social conduct and, in particular, for postulating general theories of mental illness. In chapter 1 I also locate what I consider the right level of analysis for the study of social phenomena: that is, the level of social interaction. This consideration leads my analysis to the study of the practice of psychotherapy where a relevant activity is talk about psychopathological status.

In chapter 2 I provide a general characterisation of the approach utilized in this thesis, that is, conversation analysis. In this chapter I describe the research principles of this discipline and I outline the applicability of conversation analysis to the study of institutional interaction.

The empirical analysis of my data is initiated in chapter 3. In this chapter I first outline the 'Membership Categorisation' apparatus as described by Sacks, and subsequently attempt to apply this type of analysis to my data. The analysis of membership categorisations allows me to explore some of the activities that take place in psychotherapy sessions. For instance, it is found that in 'First Psychotherapy Sessions' a most prominent activity undertaken by the therapist is to discover the nature of the patient's problems. I also found that, in general, the main task of the therapist is that of 'processing' the patient according to the institution's established procedures.

In chapter 4 I perform a sequential/structural analysis of my data. To carry out such an analysis I section the psychotherapy sessions into their typical phases. From one of these phases, I select some sequences for analysis. The analysis of these sequences reveals the presence of a distinctive turn-taking system. For instance, it is found that the recurrent sequential structuring of the psychotherapy session in terms of questions and answers (in which the therapist asks and the patient responds) amounts to a disparity of rights and obligations regarding interactional opportunities.

Carles Roca can be reached at:

Luisa Zappulli acquired her PhD 21 September 2001 at the University of Paris 8 Saint Denis under the supervision of Alain Coulon

Title : Les savoirs en action : l'apprentissage de l'identité professionnelle dans la formation initiale des magistrats italiens. Une approche ethnométhodologique.

De manière générale, cette thèse concerne l'étude et l'observation d'un groupe professionnel, les auditeurs de justice italiens, qui se prépare à changer de statut social, c'est-à-dire, à devenir magistrats, pendant une période de formation qui dure dix-huit mois environ. Cette "préparation" mobilise plusieurs compétences car dans le délai de temps dont ils disposent, ils doivent manifester l'accomplissement d'une identité professionnelle. L'objet de mon enquête commence par ce constat : étant donné la spécificité de la formation professionnelle italienne et compte tenu de la particularité du dispositif pédagogique qui supposent qu'on apprenne le métier et le rôle sur le tas, quelles sont les procédures interprétatives que les auditeurs de justice utilisent pour que ce changement social soit descriptible et rapportable à toutes fins pratiques?

En Italie, il n'existe pas d'école publique chargée d'initier ses membres aux pratiques judiciaires, comme c'est le cas de la magistrature française. Un dispositif de formation initiale agit dans le hic et nunc de la réalité judiciaire à travers le travail concerté de plusieurs catégories de personnes engagées sans cesse à commenter le monde social tel qu'il se présente dans les pratiques professionnelles de tous les jours.

Le long de cette enquête ethnographique, le contact avec les auditeurs de justice de trois concours différents - formés dans le même cadre légal (le tribunal de Lecce) - a entrainé la rencontre avec d'autres catégories professionnelles, telles que les magistrats experts, les greffiers, les assistants, les policiers, les avocats, en créant un réseau d'informations pratiques et de connaissances concernant tantôt le rapport entre novices et membres experts, tantôt le fonctionnemment situé et routinier de l'appareil judiciaire.

A l'heure actuelle, la plupart des théorisations concernant la sociologie du droit, du travail et des groupes professionnels n'arrive pas à attirer l'attention des "praticiens du droit et du travail" qui travaillent au jour le jour dans les organisations, soient-elles des institutions bien établies (les hopitals ou les tribunaux) ou d'autres types de settings. Heritage nous dit que, par paradoxe, les professionnels sont plus intéressés par la façon dont la fiction cinématographique raconte la vie professionnelle des avocats, des médecins, des enseignants etc.. plutôt que par les classifications abstraites issues de l'activité scientifique de l'analyste.

En effet, quelque soit l'orientation des travaux consacrés au droit et au travail dans les sociétés modernes, toutes sont marquées par le doute sur les significations courantes et le parler commun. C'est là le défi de l'approche ethnométhodologique inspirant ma recherche, à savoir que les études classiques sur les phénomènes sociaux s'écartent des formes de l'action et donnent des descriptions qui sont, en fin de compte, indépendantes de ce qui se passe réellement dans une salle d'audience, lors d' un témoignage ou dans un cabinet légal.

C'est pourquoi ce travail d'inspiration ethnométhodologique mobilise un regard du dédans au moyen duquel il est possible d'observer et de décrire la socialisation d'un groupe à l'intérieur d'un cadre social, en enquetant sur les méthodes par lesquels les gens assemblent le monde et le décrivent réfléxivement. En jouant à fond la carte de l'observation ethnographique et les concepts-clé de l'approche ethnométhdologique (la méthode documentaire d'interprétation, l'analyse catégorielle, la réfléxivité etc..) cette thèse s'appuye sur un corpus de données produites en milieu judiciaire dans une période de trois ans consécutifs : elle essaye de donner une vision intime d'un monde en train de s'évoluer rapidement dont les dynamiques interactionnelles de production et maintien de l'ordre social echappent à l'objectivation du juriste; tant il est vrai, pour reprendre le mot de Alain Coulon, "qu'il est difficile d'être l'ethnologue de sa propre tribu".

Luisa Zappulli can be reached to the following e-mail :

John J. Lawless received his PhD in May 200 from the University of Georgia, under the supervision of Jerry Gale. The dissertation was titled: "Exploring the discourse of race, ethnicity and culture in clinical supervision of marriage and family therapy utilizing conversation analysis."

Clinical supervision is one of the most important and crucial aspects in training marriage and family therapists.  Many variables (e.g., theoretical orientation, style of the supervisor) have been investigated, however other important contextual issues (e.g., ethnicity, culture) have been ignored or minimally addressed.  Some reasons for this lack of literature includes lack of ethnically diverse supervisors and supervisees, theories based on Eurocentric models, and courses in marriage and family therapy (MFT) that do not address issues of REC.  This study focused on empirically exploring how the talk of REC is accomplished within the supervision session using conversation analysis.  Conversation analysis is a naturalistic and descriptive methodology that examines patterns across naturally occurring conversations.  The data are audiotapes of eight clinical supervision sessions from an American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) approved supervisor known to be proactive regarding issues of REC.
The results indicated that the participants accomplished four domains of talk that involved the discourse of race, ethnicity, or culture.  These domains included bypassed opportunities, self of the therapist issues, cross-cultural issues in the therapeutic relationship and cultural issues
affecting the supervisory relationship.  Themes regarding the talk of REC as demonstrated in the eight sessions were identified.  Recommendations for supervisors and future research is provided.

John J. Lawless can be reached at <>

David Martin  recently completed his PhD - Ethnomethodology and Computer Systems Design: Interaction at the boundaries of organisations, at Manchester University, Department of Computer Science under the supervision of John Bowers and Dave Wastell.

In recent years ethnomethodology has gained increasing acceptance as an orientation to understanding work that can be usefully employed to inform computer systems design. This thesis seeks to provide a summary of ethnomethodological research in systems design and to expand upon current understandings of the role of ethnomethodology in this field through the description and discussion of four interrelated case studies.
A detailed explanation of ethnomethodology is given, along with a discussion of the two methods for conducting ethnomethodological research; ethnography and conversation analysis (CA). A summary of ethnomethodological research in systems design is provided. This includes a brief history and various characterisations of ethnomethodology in systems design. These include characterisations of different types of study and possible relationships to design. Finally, issues concerning how to generalise from studies and how to present their findings are considered.
The four studies are as follows; a CA study of telephone banking, an ethnomethodological ethnography of the help desk support for an electronic banking application, an ethnomethodological ethnography of a new mortgage interview system and a study that expands on the analysis of the first to develop and evaluate an Internet banking prototype. The first three studies detail work and the role of technology in it, as well as providing an evaluation of the systems being used and some (re)design pointers. The final study demonstrates, in detail, one way how it is possible to progress from ethnomethodological study to design and evaluation.
The findings from the case studies are related to and integrated with previous research. The following sections examine whether previous characterisations may be expanded in the light of this research. Amongst other findings, a new framework for classifying ethnomethodological studies in relation to systems design is provided, outlining four basic dimensions to a study; focus, duration, timing in the life-cycle and coupling to design. Also considered is how ethnomethodology may be incorporated into design in either a practical or more foundational manner, with a particular emphasis in this thesis on practical concerns.
Finally, the studies are discussed together under the unifying topic of interaction at the boundaries of organisations, as all concern various constitutions of the relationship between organisations and customers and the role of technology in that relationship. Various ways of presenting the work are considered before a general framework for thinking about
interaction between organisations, customers and technology is delineated.

David Martin can be reached at

Barbara M.G. Settineri has been awarded the PhD in Linguistics at the University of Leeds, Great Britain, for a thesis called A Conversation Analysis of Participants' Orientation to Time Restrictions in Italian Radio Phone-in Openings. The thesis has been examined by Ian Hutchby (Brunel University) and TTL Davidson (University of Leeds).

Radio broadcasts are subject to strict timing policies. This thesis investigates the extent to which Radio Hosts (RHs), Caller/Listeners (C/Ls), and Caller/Guests (C/Gs) orient to such temporal boundaries in their accomplishment of Italian Radio Phone-in (IRP-in) openings. The data have been extracted from phonecalls broadcasts on two different Italian Radio Phone-in programmes: Il Ruggito del Coniglio and Chiamate Roma 3131. The first is a Humorous Radio Phone-in (HIRP-in) conducted by two RHs, and dealing with light-hearted topics; the second is a Serious Radio Phone-in (SIRP-in) conducted by one RH only, and dealing with serious and sensitive topics. Il Ruggito del Coniglio and Chiamate Roma 3131 also differ in terms of timing policy: whilst the first only lasts 60 minutes and contains on average 12 RH-C/L phonecalls, the second lasts 75 minutes and contains only 7 phonecalls. The data consists of 97 HIRP-in openings and 65 SIRP-in openings, recorded from an equal number of broadcasts of Il Ruggito del Coniglio and Chiamate Roma 3131. The analytic framework which has been adopted for the present study is Conversation Analysis (CA): in particular, the analysis of the data is based on a modified version of Heritage's (1997) CA model for the analysis of institutional interaction. In addition, the analysis has been carried out by comparing mundane conversation, telephone interaction, and IRP-in openings. In order to assess the participants' concern about time restrictions the following features have been investigated: overall organisation of IRP-ins and IRP-in phonecalls, turn-taking organisation of IRP-in openings, sequence structure of IRP-in openings, and turn design of IRP-in openings. The results emerging from the analysis have subsequently been studied from a temporal perspective involving four sociological time metaphors (linear, economic, dialect, and acceleration). In particular, the RHs' point of view and the C/Ls' or C/Gs' point of view in respect to time metaphors have been analysed. In conclusion, the analysis has highlighted two main points: 1) Though RHs, C/Ls, and C/Gs in IRP-in openings all show some orientation to time restrictions, RHs are more obviously aware of and concerned about them; 2) The different timing policies regulating Il Ruggito del Coniglio and Chiamate Roma 3131 do affect the duration of the phonecalls, and therefore of the openings (i.e., HIRP-in openings are subject to tighter temporal boundaries than SIRP-in openings).
Barnara can be contacted at

Tim Berard completed a Ph.D. under the supervision of Jeff Coulter in December, 2000, using ethnomethodological, conversation-analytic, and Wittgensteinian insights and methods to address the relations between social practices and social structures, with special emphasis on
accusations and defense accounts dealing with discrimination. The dissertation is in many respects an exploration of some of the conceptual-analytic and methodological lines of inquiry opened up by Jeff Coulter's EM/CA/Wittgensteinian studies of mental predicates (e.g. in The
Social Construction of Mind, Mind in Action) and his paper, 'Human practices and the observability of the 'macro social' (in The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory, ed. Theodore R. Schatzki, Karin Knorr Cetina, & Eike Von Savigny, Routledge, 2001). It could also be read as an extension and application of Tim's earlier, conceptual study of motive attributions,
emphasizing that explanatory devices, formulations of identity, and formulations of actions are mutually constitutive.

Timothy James Berard, "The Micro-Politics of Macro-Categories: The Contested Relevance of Minority Status in Claims and Denials of Discrimination"

Bourdieu's and Giddens' attempts to relate social practices to social structures, micro to macro, are compared to those of ethnomethodology (EM) and conversation-analysis (CA). EM/CA contributions are empirically grounded, heuristically valuable, logically consistent, non-partisan, wide-ranging and ongoing. EM/CA respecifies macro-structural phenomena as
situated accomplishments/concerns of members (of a culture, language community). Following Coulter, I suggest investigating how macro-structural concepts are used in practice, by members, focusing on their logical grammars (Wittgenstein) and their accountability (observability/reportability), for members.

These suggestions are illustrated by analyses of discrimination. Discrimination can be understood through logico-grammatical explication (Wittgenstein) and membership categorization analysis (Sacks). I propose criterial features of (criteria for intelligibly speaking of) discrimination, and propose that the situational existence of discrimination often turns upon situated membership categorization practices. These proposals are proven heuristically valuable by detailed analyses of naturally-occurring data, reflecting several usages of, and
disputes about, discrimination. In summary, disputes about discrimination are often disputes over whether the criterial features of discrimination obtain. Among these features is the orientation of the alleged perpetrator to the ostensible victim's minority status. Disputes about discrimination often begin with an accuser suggesting the alleged perpetrator considered
the ostensible victim's minority status, proceeding with the accused resisting this allegation with alternative membership categorization(s). Various alternative sequential structures for discrimination disputes are discussed, the goal being a formal understanding grounded in conceptual and empirical analysis.

I then discuss discrimination within and by organizations. Ostensible discrimination within organizations must be understood with detailed, rigorous attention to features of organizational context, e.g. the organizational duties of the alleged perpetrator and the applicable procedural rules. Discrimination is linked to discretion but, contrary to much social criticism/policy critique, discretion is much more than a vehicle for discrimination, and needs protection from misinformed anti-discrimination efforts. Anti-discrimination policies, and critiques thereof, need to appreciate the necessity and virtues of discretion, and understand how discrimination disputes are structured by organizational context.

Just as minority groups, majority groups, and group relations are constructed in discrimination talk, other macro-structural phenomena can be profitably respecified as practical accomplishments/concerns of members, rather than methodologically presupposed or theoretically stipulated.

Tim Berard can be reached at

David Bates, received the Ph.D. in Sociology with a specialization in Ethnomethodology from The Union Institute.  His dissertation research advisors were Paul Jalbert (University of
Connecticut) and Richard A. Hilbert (Gustavus Adolphus College).  The title
of his dissertation is: Advising an adult learner on his self-designed program of doctoral-level education:  A study of ordinary everyday adult knowledge and learning.


This work in sociology, specifically ethnomethodology, is an empirical study of a doctoral committee meeting in The Union Institute, an experimenting university without walls engaged in adult education.  It investigates how knowledge can come to matter for participants over the
course of an ordinary social activity.  It is informed by conversation analysis and work by Bittner, Coulter, Dewey, Garfinkel, Hilbert, Horton, Jalbert, James, Sacks, Sharrock, Schutz, Wittgenstein.  Negotiation among adults of what to learn is explored.  The issue of adult autonomy and responsibility is addressed.  Findings include:  Institutional activities are locally structured and organized by the participants in light of their sense of situation and circumstances.  Membering, knowledge, and proficiency are joined issues.  For the participants, knowledge comes to matter in light of their sense of present occasion and situation; as what
sort ought to learn what; as affording competent, entitled conduct; as what practitioners must be able to do as a routine matter of practice and entitlement to practice;  as recognition of what one is already expected and obligated to be doing knowledgeably and competently as a condition and obligation of membership; as practical consideration of consequences of taking on another incumbancy, e.g., doctoral student; as what is optional or required, sufficient or necessary; as the work of one obligated to advise; as what sort is authorized, obligated, or entitled to decide on the matter of knowledge; as needing to learn something in order to see what must be learned next; as needing to know the purpose in order to know what to do; as needing to know another's purpose before one can help them; as experienced-based advice in light of a proposed course of action; as presently-relevant experience; as something it would be a waste of time to learn; as models of practice.

xxiii; 381 pages; 126 references; 1 figure; 5 transcripts.

David can be reached at

Marjan Huisman defended her PhD thesis, Besluitvorming in vergaderingen: organisaties, interactie en taalgebruik [Decision making in meetings: Organisations, interaction and language use] at the Free University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It is published by the Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics, LOT


This book deals with the question of how decision making interaction develops in management meetings. More precisely, it answers the following questions:
1. How can a decision be conceptualised in terms of social interaction (or talk-in-interaction)?
2. What are the implications of the fact that decisions in social interaction are largely developed through language use in interaction?
3. Do teams differ in the way in which they interactionally make their decisions and, if so, can these differences be interpreted as differences in organisational culture?
4. Is there a relation between the activity type 'meeting' and the way in which decisions are created interactionally.
Questions 1 and 2 are answered in Chapter 4. Question 3 is answered in Part 2, Chapters 5 and 6. Question 4 is answered in Part 3, Chapters 7, 8 and 9.

This study is based on video recordings of real life meetings of three management teams in three Dutch organisations. In Chapter 2 the teams are introduced: the management team of a service department in an Academic Hospital; the Board of Directors of an Academy of higher professional education; and the head management team of a division of an Information and Communications Technology Company. Of each team four successive meetings were recorded. After the recordings all regular participants of the meetings were interviewed on their ideas about the meetings and the decision making.

Chapter 3 explains how the research was designed and performed. The research had an open design, which means that the meetings were studied intensively and described in detail in order to get a better grasp on the way in which decisions are created interactionally. The theoretical and methodical background for the analyses of the meeting talk is the research domain of Conversation Analysis and related areas such as ethnomethodology and linguistic anthropology. The procedure is constituted by analytic induction and triangulation. For interpreting the different decision making styles of the teams, the anthropological and ethnomethodological approach was combined with psychological views from organisational theory on culture in organisations. Chapter 3 further explains how the data have been recorded and transcribed and how interviews and participant observations have been used in the analyses.

An interactional perspective

Chapter 4 presents an interactional perspective on decision making in meetings. Many decisions that are made in meetings, or in verbal interaction generally, have an ephemeral quality: they cannot be identified as a concrete, single utterance in an interaction. However, we can localise the emergence of decisions at the turn-by-turn level of the interaction in which participants exchange information and opinions. Therefore, decisions can be localised in episodes of talk.

Decisions can be defined as formulations of virtual future situations, events, or actions. Decisions are virtual future realities existing in language. In decision making interaction we see that participants (1) formulate states of affairs (events, states and actions) and (2) assess those states of affairs. A decision eventually evolves around a future state of affairs, but in decision making episodes states of affairs from the past or the present may be also discussed.

A decision encompasses the whole episode in which the future state of affairs is introduced and in which commitment to create this state of affairs emerges. The commitment as well as the formulation of the future state of affairs can be constructed collaboratively. Whether an episode can be considered a decision, i.e. whether commitment of relevant participants to a future state of affairs is achieved, depends on the way he participants interpret it in retrospect, while the interaction is unfolding.

An episode of decision making should be placed in the context of a continuous stream of decision making that develops in an organization in several settings. A decision making episode in a meeting is a snapshot of developing and constantly renewing courses of action in an organization. Not every attempt of participants to arrive at a formulation of a future state of affairs and to achieve commitment to create this state of affairs results in a decision. In other words, decision making episodes can end without resulting in a decision.

There is a relation between the way in which a topic is formulated and the decisions that are made on that topic. Formulations of states of affairs are dependent on the situation in which they occur. Moreover, what interactional episode counts as a decision depends on the interpretative norms of the team as to whose assessments are relevant. Two aspects of the situation in management meetings are analysed: how do teams organise the participation in decision making episodes (Part 2) and how does the context of the meeting activity shape the way a decision is made (Part 3)?

Team differences in participation frameworks

Part 2 investigates the participation frameworks that the teams orient to. Chapter 5 views the participation frameworks of the teams from a setting's perspective (the selection of the participants, the meeting room, the organisation of the furniture and the seating arrangement). Chapter 6 analyses the local participation frameworks in decision making episodes. The teams show a different orientation with respect to how the setting is organised and how the interlocutors participate in the talk.

The head management team of the ICT Company demonstrates the espoused theory that in the decision making interaction all participants participate and that everybody's consent is relevant. The episodes, however, show that the participation framework usually consists of the chair and the managers whose departments are affected by the decision. Part of the team participates more often in talk about the areas of other managers than others. This is reflected in the seating arrangement. Here are, in other words, two important norms, but they are not completely compatible: they aim at full participation of all managers on all topics, but in every department or territory there is just one boss.

The management team in the Academic Hospital shows a tendency to talk in a dialogical participation framework. The head of the team usually formulates the future states of affairs. His formulations can be influenced by the managers of the different sub-departments at the meeting in individual conversations with the head. This dialogical orientation is reflected in the seating arrangement. The managers of the sub-departments also have their own dialogical interactions at the meeting, which occasionally leads to schisms in the interaction. For the management team in the Academic Hospital the meeting appears to be a ritualised form to legitimise decisions.

The board of directors of the Academy formally has two members who decide. Both members each run a different department of the Academy. Also relevant in the interaction are the opinions of the Secretary of the Board and the head of the financial staff. In decision making episodes the two Board members either demonstrate consent with formulated future states of affairs in a paired way or the episode ends in stalemate. In the latter case the team does not spend time on developing formulations of alternative future states of affairs. Possible differences in informal position between the two board members appear to be a taboo topic.

Differences between teams in the participation framework that they orient to demonstrate that what episode counts as a decision is dependent on the interactional norms of the team. This orientation to different norms can be interpreted as a difference in organisational culture. Therefore, what a decision is, in interactional terms, is related to the culture of the team.

Decision making and the organisation of the activity

Part 3 investigates the relation between the activity 'meeting' and the way in which decisions are created. Chapter 7 discusses in what way turn taking and sequential development in meetings is constrained in relation to ordinary conversation. The meetings that were investigated consist of different activities that show an orientation to different courses of action. The meeting activity 'Announcements' that occurred in the meetings of all three teams is investigated in detail.

Chapter 8 shows that sixty percent of the announcements made in the 'Announcements' led to a decision of some sort and that the other forty percent had a decision making potential. Announcements are interesting conversational objects: on the one hand they can be treated as 'just news', while on the other hand they can be treated as a stepping stone to a decision making trajectory. These possibilities enable the participants to find out in a covert way whether a topic can or should be a decision making issue of the team and who might be considered as the relevant participants in this possible decision making trajectory.

Chapter 9 explores how the sequential environment of an announcement can be exploited strategically by participants. 'Strategy' is considered as a largely unconscious application of interactional skills. Participants have interactional ways of finding out the positions of other participants before they reveal their own. They can modify their initial position in accordance with other positions without revealing this in the interaction. Furthermore, participants may create negotiation space by mitigating the responsibility for the idea's that they present. They may do this, for example, by reporting ideas for future states of affairs from a party that is not present at the meeting and subsequently elicit assessments of other participants. In addition, participants have different ways of finding out whether certain party's need or wish to be involved in a specific decision making process.

Final remarks

Chapter 10 summarises the results of this study. Perspectives for further research and consultancy purposes are indicated. Organisational theory and consultancy in the area of decision making could improve if it is recognised that decisions have a far more ephemeral quality than is generally assumed and that verbal constructs offer interlocutors interpretational leeway. The interactional quality and the cultural dimension of decision making processes should be taken as a starting point.

Marjan Huisman can be reached at

MeeriA. Hellsten has been awarded the PhD in Education at the Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, for a Thesis called“Accounting for Culture, Language and Identity in Educational Discourses: The Case of Indigenous Sami in Finland, Sweden and Norway” (1999).

This research project examines the enactment of various versions of the concept of ‘culture’ in
education policy and practice. Its interest lies in how indigenous Sámi culture is manifest in
three different national, linguistic and education administration sites:Finland, Sweden and
Norway. The constitution of ‘culture’ in these contexts is contingent upon its relativity to
definitions of ‘culture’ defined by the national majority in power. The study adopts a definition
of ‘culture’ as an accomplished rather than theoretically or socially predetermined phenomenon. Therefore, the study draws from the theory and application of Ethnomethodology (eg. Garfinkel, 1967; Heritage, 1984; Sacks, 1996a; 1996b).

Contemporary theorisations about culture in education have been considered with regards to
describing educational policy and practice around the world. Theorisations reflecting on the
relationship between culture, power, language and education (e.g. Bourdieu, 1992; Foucault,
1980; Bernstein, 1996) have yielded bases on which to contrast and establish the current
investigation of culture as an interactionally enacted phenomenon.

This study consist of interview data, collected in 1993, during a lengthy field research visit to
Sámi country in northern Scandinavia. A total of 83 individuals from a total of 37 educational
institutions in Finland, Sweden and Norway participated in the study. The participants came
from different educational professional categories such as: Sámi teachers; administrators at
school, municipal, regional and national levels, teacher education, and other Sámi academic
institutions (such as adult and vocational education).

The interviews consisted of approximately 15 semi-structured questions concerning knowledge
and beliefs about the education policy and practice in use at the time. The interview also
explored participants’ views on Sáminess in the nation-state and descriptions of the role of
culture afforded the indigenous group within the national domain. Further questions inquired
about the implications of such descriptions, perceptions and cultural interpretations of the
implementation of the Sámi school curriculum.

The interviews were conducted in three languages (Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian) of which
the researcher made use of two, namely, Finnish and Swedish. In Norway, the participants
responded to questions in Norwegian, which is mutually intelligible with Swedish. Some
culture-specific Sámi vocabulary was also used. All data for the research analysis were
translated into English by the researcher and verified as true translations by independent bi-
and/or multi-lingual associates.

The interview tapes were transcribed using conventions adapted from Heritage (1984) and
Hutchby & Wooffitt (1998). The analyses were based on the sub-field of Ethnomethodology
called Membership Categorisation Analysis (MCA) formulated according to frameworks
developed by Sacks (e.g., 1996a) and later by Hester & Eglin (1997). The analyses explored
descriptions about the membership category ‘Sámi’ and its attribute Sáminess as constructed by
the members of the Sámi education system.

The analyses found that both the category ‘Sámi’ and its attribute ‘Sáminess’ were situatedly
produced to warrant distinctive cultural, social and educational interpretations for the
indigenous groups in the three countries. In Finland, the category ‘Sámi’ was described as
lacking in strong identity but as capable of looking after their own rights. In Sweden the category
‘Sámi’ is described in the publicly available feature of ‘naturalness’ and is contrasted with
descriptions about the ‘non-Sámi’ who in turn are described as generating ‘struggle’,
‘resistance’ and ‘racism’ against the ‘Sámi’. In Norway, the category ‘Sámi’ is afforded the
description of ‘standing alone’ as a group in the nation.

The attribute ‘Sáminess’ is described differently in the three contrastive interview sites. In
Finland and Sweden, ‘Sáminess’ and ‘all things Sámi’ are constructed as ‘hidden’ category
attributes which are made publicly desirable. For example, the need for the indigenous group to
publicly display their ethnicity (e.g., wearing the Sámi costume) is expressed by interviewees.
In Norway the attribute ‘Sáminess’ is described as a device from which flow other local
practices of Sámi education. In all three interview sites language is generated as the main tool
through which both the category ‘Sámi’ and its categorial attributes are realised and

The study concludes that, according to the situatedness of the different descriptions of
indigenous culture, identity and language, a uniform description of these phenomena cannot be
applied. That is, one singular definition of ‘culture’ or ‘cultural hegemony’, for example, does
not apply to all Sámi situations across the Sámi geographic area. In each situatedly diverging
discursive occasion, members drew on different theorisations to account for the notion of
‘culture’. Such different constructions in turn have vastly different implications for the ways in
which the educational package is consequently interpreted, developed and implemented. The
concluding statement of this study is thus, that the world-wide agenda on cultural pluralism for
the worlds’ classrooms benefits from a view of culture as a situatedly generated product, rather
than a pre-theorised model of social order.

The thesis is published electronically through

Meeri  A. Hellsten is currently working in the area of  language and literacy research at the
University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).

Johanna Ruusuvuori has been awarded the PhD on the basis of her dissertation Control in the Medical Interaction: Practices of Giving and Receiving the Reason for the Visit in Primary Health Care, supervised by Annsi Peräkylä, while the examiner was David Silverman. The thesis is available in PDF at: The abstract is given below:

This conversation analytic study examines doctor-patient interaction in Finnish primary care consultations. Using data from 100 video-recorded medical encounters with 14 different doctors, it describes in detail the structure of interaction in the phase of problem presentation. The focus of the analysis is on the doctors’ and the patients’ activities in giving and receiving the reason for the visit.

The results of the analysis draw attention to the widely maintained notion that medical consultation is a potential location of conflict and misunderstanding. It seems that although patients and doctors may at times have separate views on the definition of the ongoing action, they both have available resources for negotiating these definitions while interacting with each other. Instead of approaching the worlds of doctors and patients as separate, this study focuses on the process of interaction during which these worlds meet, and to the possibilities of negotiation and cooperation between them.

The results of the study both compensate and correct previous studies on control in medical consultation. On the one hand, they provide additional evidence to the prevailing idea of doctors having the ultimate control over the agenda of the consultation. On the other hand, they show how doctors’ means of control are more manifold or even contrastive to those introduced in earlier studies. Further, the study introduces resources for control that patients have at their disposal and maps the opportunities they have for using them while presenting their problem to the doctor.

The study offers a detailed account on the ways in which the participants activities are informed by 1) the overall activity structure of the whole consultation as a request-response sequence, and 2) the moral task of justifying one’s need for medical help. It also discusses and compares these Finnish results with observations made in American and British medical consultations on the one hand, and in other institutional situations on the other. The study, thus, opens up numerous possibilities for future comparisons in study of institutional interaction.

Johanna Ruusuvuori is a researcher in the Department of Sociology and Social Psychology, 33014 University of Tampere, Finland, email:

Helena Austin would like to call attention to her 1996 PhD in education, called: Literature for School: Theorising 'the child' in a novel, classroom talk and students' texts. at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia

This study examines Childhood as enacted in a primary school literature classroom.  The analyses reported here document Childhood not as a natural state biut asa culturally and historically specific set of attributions.  Three major sites of meaning in a classroom
litertuare unit are consulted as data corpuses: the literary text, the classroom talk and the students' writing. These corpuses are interogated for the ways Childhood as a category is organised around concepts of development and maturity. Within the theoretical framework of Ethnomethodology, the analytic tools of Category Analysis and Conversation Analysis are applied to the three large and differing data corpuses, the novel, the classroom talk and the students' wrtiting, with one broad research concern - to interogate for the emodiment of theories of the child.  The enactments of the Child within the Memebership Categorisation Device
Stage-of-Life are documented in each of the three data corpuses and the work of the corpuses in  informing and transforming one another detailed.

Helena Austin can be contacted at Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia

Sanna Vehviläinen's PhD dissertation is called Structures of Counselling Interaction: A Conversation Analytic Study of Counselling Encounters in Career Guidance Training, and has been defended at the Department of Education, University of Helsinki, Finland

The study describes interactional structures by which counsellors and students in Finnish career guidance training courses carry out counselling encounters. Career guidance training is a form of labour market training aimed at helping unemployed people plan their career and life and improve their employment situation. Counselling is one of the training methods: it facilitates the learning process which is largely based on students’ self-directed activities. Career guidance training concepts depict counselling as an emerging, ’alternative’ practice. So far, there have been no empirical investigations of how counselling as a method of adult education is conducted in the actual interaction. This study aims at filling this gap by analysing recorded counselling encounters inductively. The data consist of video- and audiotaped recordings of 21 counselling encounters with 7 counsellors from different parts of Finland. The study applies conversation analysis (’CA’). CA examines the ways in which participants construct activities in their real-time, turn-by-turn actions, accomplishing particular tasks and maintaining particular settings. Following the principles of CA in data gathering, transcription, and analysis, this study identifies features of institutional interaction relevant to adult educational counselling. The report is structured around empirical analyses. A description of the basic activities of counselling is provided as a context for the analyses. The analyses focus on three conversational phenomena: (1) counsellors’ questions in managing the agenda for the encounter, (2) counsellors’ responses to troubles brought up by students, and (3) counsellors’ advice to students, their responses to the advice and counsellors’ treatment of their responses. The study provides three kinds of results. Firstly, it delineates the basic activities carried out in counselling encounters. Secondly, it describes structures of interaction connected to the central constraints and aims of counselling, especially those connected to avoidance of directiveness and encouraging self-directedness. The study also suggests that certain interactional features result from the counsellors’ attempt to balance contradictory aims; both to avoid explicit directiveness and to direct the student. Thirdly, some findings contradict certain concepts of counselling. This is discussed under two themes: rethinking counsellors’ expertise and acknowledging the interactional limits of self-directedness.

The dissertation is published by the Helsinki University Press. Further information is available at:

Gary David completed his PhD work at Wayne State University under the tutelege of Anne Warfield Rawls.  The title is Intercultural Relationships across the Counter: An Interactional Analysis of In-Situ Service Encounters.  It focuses on the interactions between Middle Eastern immigrant entrepreneurs and their customers in metropolitan Detroit liquor stores.

Relationships between immigrant entrepreneurs and customers typically gain attention after negative encounters that at times end tragically. These events are framed along racial lines, positing the immigrant store owner (e.g., Korean, Chinese, Arab, or Chaldean) and African American customers against one another. Subsequent research on the topic has primarily focused on structural factors that are said to impede the economic development of the African American community that thus foster frustration and resentment. Intercultural communication research has also been used to determine whether culturally based language barriers impede effective understanding. Little has been done, however, to examine what actually happens in the service encounters and the nature of the worker-customer relationship as it develops on a daily basis. This study investigates the immigrant entrepreneur and customer relationship by examining what happens across the counter day-in and day-out. Using conversational
analytic techniques, ethnographic methods, focus groups, and open-ended interviews, the research concludes that the relationship is more complex than previously believed. Findings indicate that while confrontations do exist, they are not the norm. The store relationship is better characterized by the routine and mundane nature of the encounters that produce no obvious antagonism. Rather, close and positive relationships between workers and customers are more likely to emerge across the counter. Finally, the relationship, whether positive or negative, is an interactional achievement that emerges out of the convenience store and service encounter context.

Gary David is now located at Bentley College, in Waltham, MA and can be contact either at  He also has a webpage at

If you recently received your Ph.D. on a thesis in the field of ethnomethodology and/or conversation, you are invited to send me [see 'About'-page] a text similar to the ones above for inclusion in this section.

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