Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


12 December 2018

Jack Joyce - Partitioning in Interaction

Presented By DARG

About this event

In this data session we will be focusing on disputative interactions where some ‘partitioning’ is being done by the participants. Partitioning is the application of some categories made available from a culturally-sensitive aggregate (dentists/anaesthetist/cardiologist/surgeon as the device ‘medical doctors’) in order to invoke an alternative body of common-sense knowledge (Schegloff, 2007)—for example, a classroom may be partitioned by role (teacher/students), stage of life (adult/children), gender, etc.—each with different implications. In this project, exploiting a partition of a population affords a particular action (challenge, complaint, account etc.) and permits the operationalising of ‘cover categories’ (Sacks, 1995), which are alternate understandings of a person/issue/event.

Sacks (1995) identified two ways of accomplishing partitioning: constancy and inconstancy. Constancy occurs if, in any moment, and with a configuration of people, two MCDs may be used to partition those people identically; compared to inconstancy where two MCDs may partition those people differently, thus leading to a change in the constitution of members’ categories and their relationships with one another. My interest is in how members demonstrably attend to partitioning in and through the interaction as an operation that accomplishes a renegotiation of the moral order, and a change in the constitution of members’ and their rights and responsibilities within that interaction. Data are in varieties of English.

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