Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


26 October 2016

Invocation of rules in adversative episodes within children’s interactions

Presented By Bilyana Shuman
  • 1-2:30 pm (a DARG event)
  • U1.22

About this event

I am interested in how children display orientation to rules which they can make use of (as a resource) in making actions accountable. In my approach, I rely on Anthony Wootton’s (1986) article explicating the reasoning behind his analytic process. He examines rules in parent-child interactions and suggests a shift away from ‘treating rules as the topic of enquiry’ (Wootton, 1986:150). Instead, he proposes that one should look at displays of rules and how children go about recognizing them as such through action design(s) and conduct organization. In this article, Wootton examines examples of rules explicitly invoked by parents. My focus is on those types of instances but also on instances where children themselves invoke rules, often within adversative episodes.

The video recordings are of two multicultural and multilingual children Luke and Mia (pseudonyms) interacting with each other as well as with family members and friends in an everyday, primarily home environment. In an overall data collection, the recordings take place in various locations worldwide where the children and their extended family members reside, i.e., Singapore, UK, Serbia, Greece and the USA. The conversations are held in English but there are instances of other languages that both children are learning and/or are exposed to, such as Serbian, Chinese (Mandarin), Greek and Tagalog. 

I have selected three extracts from three separate recordings in which I would like to focus on how children orient to rules in interactions.

Anthony J. Wootton, (1986), "Rules in action: orderly features of action that formulate rules", In Children's Worlds and Children's Language (Jenny Cook-Gumperz, William A. Corsaro, Jürgen Streeck, eds.), Berlin, Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 147–168."

This event is part of the the Discourse and Rhetoric Group (DARG) event series.