Plenary talk by Aug Nishizaka

Aug Nishizaka | Chiba University
Aug Nishizaka is Professor of Sociology at Chiba University. He has been investigating the organization of interaction in various settings, such as prenatal check-ups in clinical settings. His current research is concerned with the study of interaction between evacuees/residents and volunteers/professionals in several settings in the districts directly affected by the earthquake on March 11, 2011 and in particular, interactions connected with the subsequent nuclear power plant explosion. His recent publications include: “Conversing while massaging: Multidimensional asymmetries of multiple activities in interaction,” in Research on Language and Social Interaction (with M. Sunaga, 2015), and “Instructed perception in prenatal ultrasound examination,” in Discourse Studies (2014).

The structuring of the body in interaction

In the conversation analytic literature, how participants in interaction use their bodies in the coordination with other resources (such as talk) to organize the interaction has been discussed in various ways since Charles Goodwin, Marjorie-Harness Goodwin, and Christian Heath started the intensive analysis of video-recordings of interaction in the 1970s and 1980s. The body is used in the organization of interaction. However, the usability of the body presupposes that the body is structured in a particular way. In this talk, I explore the ways in which the body is structured and restructured in relation to other bodies in the course of interaction. The body is not only a visible, audible or touchable resource for interaction but the source of multiple modes of orientation. How do interactants orient to the orientations displayed on each other’s body? How are their mutually oriented-to bodies structured in interaction? How do such structured bodies, orientationally connected to each other, constitute the interactional order in which they are structured? I address these issues through the detailed analysis of video-recorded interaction in several distinct settings and discuss some consequences of the exploration for the reconceptualization of perception.

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