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Requests in social interaction / La requête dans les interactions sociales


22-24 septembre 2022

Lang EN Workshop language is English

Prof. Marcel Burger, UNIL

Prof. Simona Pekarek Doehler, UNINE

Dre Anne-Sylvie Horlacher, UNINE


Prof. Esther González Martínez, UNIFR

Prof. Barbara Fox, University of Boulder, Colorado, USA

Prof. Kobin Kendrick, University of York, UK 


Making others do something is at the core of human sociality. By greeting someone, we invite a greeting in return, by handing an object to someone, we call for that person to seize the object, and by asking someone to get up, we invite her to act. But can all of these actions be subsumed under the heading of requests? What differentiates requests from other types of invitations to act? Through which (linguistic and other) means do people accomplish requests and what does that accomplishment tell us about their social/institutional relations? In this seminar, we are concerned with a precise type of invitation to act that has classically been subsumed in research under the heading of 'request'. We are interested in the variety of linguistic forms requests may take, in how embodied conduct – such as gaze or gesture – participates in requesting, and how request formats both reflect and materialize social rapports and the related rights and obligations of co-participants, both in ordinary conversation and in institutional settings. The intricate social dimension of requests as well as the variety of linguistic and bodily forms that requests rest on have attracted much attention in recent research on social interaction: Request are increasingly seen as part of a continuum of related actions, such as proposals or orders, designed to invite others' actions (Couper-Kuhlen 2014, Clayman & Heritage 2014, Kendrick & Drew 2014, 2016). Also, requests may be implemented through action formats that prima facie look quite different than a 'conventional' request: for instance, a mere description of a problem may sometimes work as a request for action (Fox & Heinemann 2021, Sterie & Gonzalez-Martinez (2017). This seminar is designed to untangle both the social dimension of requests (e.g. how they relate to mutual relations/roles between participants) and their formal realizations (i.e. their linguistic and embodied formats). For that purpose, we explore requests across a number of social situations, including everyday conversations, workplace interactions and media settings. We ask how the linguistic formatting of requests interfaces with other semiotic resources, such as gaze or gesture, how requests relate to similar actions such as orders or proposals, and how precise (multimodal) request formats are inextricably tied to social relations between participants and the related sets of deontic entitlements. We also raise more general methodological questions regarding the analysis of action formation and ascription in social interaction. The seminar comprises 3 types of talks: plenary lectures by renowned researchers in the field, a range of workshop sessions presented by doctoral students, and a final roundtable. The invited speakers discuss their findings on requests in social interaction and raise methodological issues. Students share their work in two types of work-in-progress sessions: presentation of their thesis projects, in which preliminary results can be discussed, and data sessions, in which empirical data is submitted to close scrutiny. A final round-table is designed to critically assess the conceptual and methodological implications that ensue from the work presented during the seminar. The seminar will be of interest to students and researchers concerned with the analysis of video-recorded face-to-face interaction across a variety of social contexts.


Hôtel Le Grand Chalet, Leysin



Délai d'inscription 04.09.2022
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