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Moving into interaction—Social practices for initiating encounters at a help desk

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Spencer Hazel


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Opening an interaction is a crucial step in establishing and maintaining social relationships. In this paper we describe how participants in an institutional setting, a help desk counter for exchange students at an international university, literally move into interaction. This is accomplished through a range of publicly available and sequentially organised movements in space. These steps are highly systematic and are open to participants’ ongoing negotiation of the situation at hand. Secondly, the paper describes how participants in and through their bodily movements, the use of space and the manipulation of material objects ‘embody the institution’. The paper adds to the growing field of multimodal conversation analytic work on space, mobility and objects in interaction as resources for participants’ ongoing sense- making practices.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mortensen K, Hazel S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Pragmatics

Year: 2014

Volume: 62

Pages: 46-67

Print publication date: 01/02/2014

Online publication date: 06/02/2014

Acceptance date: 08/11/2013

ISSN (print): 0378-2166

ISSN (electronic): 1879-1387

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2013.11.009


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