Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI: 10.4135/9781848607927 | Print ISBN: 9781412907804 | Online ISBN: 9781848607927| Publisher:SAGE Publications LtdAbout this handbook
Chapter 4: Conversation Analysis
Sue Wilkinson & Celia Kitzinger
Conversation analysis Conversation analysis – the study of talk-in-interaction – is a theoretically and methodologically distinctive approach to understanding social life. It is an interdisciplinary approach spanning, in particular, the disciplines of psychology, sociology, linguistics and communication studies. The methodology of conversation analysis – involving detailed empirical studies of specific, observable, interactional phenomena – rests on three fundamental theoretical assumptions: (i) that talk is a form of action; (ii) that action is structurally organized; and (iii) that talk creates and maintains intersubjectivity (Heritage, 1984a; Peräkylä, 2004). The first assumption of conversation analysis (henceforth CA) is that talk is understood, first and foremost, as a form of action : the focus is on what people do with talk, rather than just on what they say. Conversation analysts study ordinary, everyday conversational actions, such as complaining (Drew and Holt, 1988), complimenting (Pomerantz, 1978) or telling news (Maynard, 1997); and also actions CA's ...