Keynote Speakers


Prof. Nozomi Ikeya

Taking a look at EMCA studies in light of practical management of knowledge

With an expansion of the Internet, it has become extremely easy for individuals and organizations to make their knowledge “public” using various Internet platforms and services. People can now “distribute” and “redistribute” knowledge of various kinds and quality to vast numbers of people. Further, with development of AI and machine learning, this may also lead to drastic changes in how specialised knowledge or organisationally located knowledge is available to people and how professionals work in the future.  This all means that we are living in a time when the practical management of knowledge as a social phenomenon has become much more complex. When we look at EMCA studies in light of practical management of knowledge, it can be understood as providing descriptions of how members accomplish order with practical management of occasioned corpuses available in the setting. There is, in fact, another level of practical management of order, which is carried out by adding changes to social stocks of knowledge.  I will explore significance of this dimension for EMCA analysis by revisiting some work by early EMCA researchers such as Harvey Sacks.

Prof. Nozomi IKEYA is Professor of Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Keio University, Japan. She studies “knowledge in action” in social settings from an ethnomethodological perspective. She has conducted ethnographic studies of work practice in various professional work settings, including: emergency medical practice at hospitals and emergency call centres; library services, particularly service design practices and reference service interactions; system engineers’ project management and discovery; and hardware designers’ work practices.


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Prof. K.K. Luke

Towards a Definition of ‘Turn Constructional Units

 In Sacks, Schegloff and Jefferson(1974), a system was proposed to handle conversational turn-taking. As is well known, thatsystem consists of two parts: a turn construction component and a turn allocation component. While the broad outline of the latter is fairly well understoodand generally accepted, the former is fraught with difficulties mainly because of the lack of a satisfactory definition of the basic unit, turn constructional unit (TCU), or a robust procedure for its identification. In SSJ’s original paper, TCUs were described intuitively as ‘any word, phrase, clause, or sentence’. Realizing that this was a less than rigorous definition, SSJ appealed to linguists for helpin a footnote: ‘How projection of unit-types is accomplished … is an important question on which linguists can make major contributions.’ (p. 703) A number of linguists have risen to the challenge and since the mid-1990s have attempted to find a solution to the problem (Selting 1996, 1998, 2000, 2005; Ford, Fox and Thompson 1996, 2002). In spite of this useful work, no satisfactory or generally accepted account is available to date. One of the authors of the original turn-taking paper, Emmanuel Schegloff has commented on the need for more research on this question, using what he calls a ‘syntax-in-conversation’ perspective (Schegloff 1996, 2000).

In this paper, I revisit this central issue and formulate a solution to SSJ’s puzzle.It is argued that the main thrust of the answercan be derived from adopting the notion of a (linguistic) ‘construction’ in Croft’s Radical Construction Grammar (RGC). Croft’s ‘radical constructions’ differ fundamentally from traditional notions like ‘sentence’ and ‘clause’ in that, unlike these latter notions, which are conceptualized as structures put together from smaller units (‘words’. ‘phrases’, etc.), ‘radical constructions’ are holistic structures made up of a form and a meaning – gestalts, rather than composites. From this point of view, it becomes clear that the phenomenon of linguistic construction and that of turn-unit construction (and therefore turn construction) are phenomena that run parallel to each other.

Equipped with this new linguistic theory, one is in a position to furnish Conversation Analysis with a principled way of distinguishing words or word-strings which are TCUs from ones which are merely parts of TCUs. This conclusion is illustrated and supported with ample evidence from Chinese and English conversational data.

Prof. Kang Kwong LUKE is Professor of Linguistics and Multilingual Studies at Nanyang Technological University, Associate Dean for Research in the College of Humanities, Art and Social Sciences and Director of the Centre for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Prior to joining NTU in 2009 he was Professor of Linguistics at the University of Hong Kong, and Head of the Department of Linguistics from 1997 to 2006. His research is in the areas of Chinese Linguistics and Conversation Analysis. He has made original contributions to the study of phonology and grammar and pioneered the investigation of the interfaces between language, cognition, and interaction, using naturally occurring data in Chinese and English. He has published 14 books and special issues, and some 80 journal articles and book chapters.

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Prof. Rod Watson

             ‘On Analytic Mentality’. 

Abstract:  The presentation will begin by recounting a sketch of a case study offered by Harvey Sacks in a lecture of his that I attended in Didsbury College of Education, Manchester, England. The sketch-of which there remains no other record- concerns a conversation between two women, one of whom had made a charitable donation, and who, in jocular mode, described the reaction of the recipient of the donation. The sketch was linked to some advice to the Manchester EM/CA/MCA researchers about how to differentiate their work from that of the Southern Californian researchers. The advice was accepted and helped form a distinctive ‘Manchester EM’.

I want in this keynote to consider whether Sacks’ advice is still relevant to EM/CA/MCA researchers worldwide today, and if so, in what way. I shall consider the possible ‘relation’ between these three linked approaches to situated practical action (including, of course, talk), and the possibility of synergies between them, without according priority to any single approach. Examples and counter-examples will be taken from adjacency pairing, contextualisation practices, glossing practices and ‘multimodal’ analyses. In this way, I want to take a step back from actual practice and consider the implications of these approaches for the disciplines of sociology and linguistics (including what these disciplines, reciprocally, bring to the table).

Prof. Rod Watson is Professor of Institut Marcel Mauss and Télécom ParisTech Paris, is a distinguished researcher in the sociological field of Ethnomethodology. Beginning his career during the early development of ethnomethodological and conversation analysis his work spans almost 50 years during which he contributed to and influenced a generation of researchers. While encompassing a broad range of sociological and ethnomethodological interests he brings a particular focus to Harvey Sacks’s work on Membership Categorisation.


Rod Gardner

Prof. Rod Gardner

Person reference and rights to know in Australian Aboriginal conversations

This presentation compares person reference and epistemic contingencies in multiparty conversation across four Australian languages, showing how referring strategies reflect the allocation of epistemic rights over publicly available information. Turns-at-talk are designed to calibrate actual knowledge with relative rights to knowledge (Stivers et al 2011, Heritage 2012). Raymond & Heritage (2006) show assessment sequences are framed with reference to epistemic primacy vis-a-vis an assessable. However, management of rights to know can apply also to publicly verifiable (e.g. witnessed) knowledge. The research involves a team of researchers examining how participants in Murrinhpatha, Garrwa, Jaru and Gija communities manage rights to talk about nonpresent persons in face-to-face conversation. What is talked about is publicly verifiable – current locations and recent incidents. ‘Communally-experienced’ knowledge in Aboriginal communities, including the whereabouts or doings of individuals, requires license as the authorised ‘witness’ with rights to tell (Sansom 1980, Mushin 2012). Authorisation derives from classificatory kin relationships between the referent and interlocutors (Blythe 2010, Stivers 2007). Licence to talk about non-present persons is displayed through overt recognitional expressions – personal names, nicknames and addressee-anchored kinterms – or covert, circumspect means – novel descriptions, self-anchored kinterms, or pronominal cross-reference (Levinson 2007, Blythe 2013).

Rod Gardner is Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Languages and Cultures at Queensland University. His research has been mainly in Conversation Analysis, early on investigating listener response particles. In the last fifteen years, his focus has shifted to aspects of Australian Aboriginal conversation, on which he has published with Ilana Mushin. A second major strand has been classroom interaction in early years schooling, first in an Aboriginal school in central Queensland, and later in two schools in Brisbane – an low SES very multicultural school and a high SES less multicultural school. He has been a team member on three Australian Research Council national grants, two relating to the work in schools, and a current one investigating Aboriginal conversation practices.