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Sequential and socio-historical contexts in Talk-in-Interaction

  • 11 December 2020
  • 4pm-5pm
  • Online

About this event

A talk delivered by Professor Kevin Whitehead as part of the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture (CRCC) seminar series.

Conversation analysts have long advocated a distinctive approach to context that privileges the orientations and conduct of participants as a basis for characterizing the context(s) relevant for analyzing interactions (see, e.g., Schegloff, 1987, 1991, 1992a, 1992b, 1997; Whitehead, 2020).

Critics of this approach have suggested that this privileging of evidence internal to the interaction is 'overly myopic' (Korobov, 2001, p. 10), and that it renders 'translocal’ phenomena…hard to incorporate in CA analyses' (Blommaert, 2001, p. 13; also see, e.g., Billig 1999; Cameron, 2008; Wetherell, 1998).

In this presentation, Whitehead draws on recordings of calls to South African “talk radio” shows to take up the question of whether and how claims regarding the relevance of particular socio-historical contexts can be grounded in evidence of participants’ orientations to them in unfolding sequences of action-in-interaction.

Specifically, he examines how racial self-categorization by participants at particular places within sequences can expose their orientations to aspects of the social organization of race relating to South Africa’s apartheid history and/or post-apartheid present.

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