Interactional competence in the institutional setting of the international university

Talk and embodied action as multimodal aggregates in institutional interaction

Spencer Hazel

    Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

    Abstract

    This project has investigated social practices in co-present encounters between administrative staff and students at an internationalizing university. The project utilized audiovisual data of interactions, recorded at a number of sites at a Danish university. These concerned service encounters at the International Office help desk, and study guidance counselling meetings both at the central administrative offices and a number of university departments.
    The research angle for the project has focused on how co-participants coordinate collaborative institutional activities through the deployment of a range of embodied resources, including talk, bodily conduct and the material surround. Analyses focus on how co-participants in talk-in-interaction orient to their co-participants’ situated embodied actions produced in conjunction with linguistic utterances, and reflexively produce their turns within the sequential organization as multimodally constituted social action in interaction. Leading on from this, the analyses sought to explore whether situated embodied practices serve to enact-into-being the institution of the international university. Research into these dynamically multilingual and culturally hybrid settings has often emphasized the linguistic component of such encounters. The current project adds to this by considering participants’ interactional competencies, denoting their situated methods and interactive practices through which they are able to co-construct in situ their social world.
    The thesis includes an overview of activities and linguistic resources encountered in the data. The main lines of analysis, however, are presented in five research articles. One article describes systematic practices for entering into a focused encounter at a help desk. The paper demonstrates how participants orient to a particular step-wise sequence of actions as they coordinate their moving into an institutionally oriented encounter. Similarly, the second paper demonstrates how participants use institutionally relevant material objects as resources to demarcating between stages of an institutional interaction. These objects feature also in the third paper, which describes a practice where objects are utilized in the construction of multimodal utterances, and are developed as a thematic device over a sequence of talk. Orientations to objects in the surround are also a theme for the fourth article, which explores how participants’ treat ongoing recording activity in the setting. This methodological article investigates how participants in the setting treat the recording activity, and use it for performing identity work. One final paper also has a methodological focus, namely a discussion of audiovisual data transcription practices. This paper argues for a wider adoption of transcription linking software.
    The main methodological approach for the research has been Conversation Analysis, supplemented by micro-ethnographic methods for investigating situated embodied conduct in interaction, notably Context Analysis. These approaches share a commitment to how they treat the phenomena of human interaction, including a reluctance to use contrived data or experimental settings. The current research offers a synthesis of the analytic orientations, specifically in foregrounding the reflexive, conjoint, and co-reliant nature of the multiple modalities, rather than emphasizing one modality over another.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationRoskilde
    PublisherRoskilde Universitet
    Number of pages261
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Keywords

    • interactional competence, international university, administrative activity, conversation analysis, embodiment, multimodality, institutional interaction

    Cite this

    @phdthesis{fa1bf2a191c34c3ba57a1b50a372f356,
    title = "Interactional competence in the institutional setting of the international university: Talk and embodied action as multimodal aggregates in institutional interaction",
    abstract = "This project has investigated social practices in co-present encounters between administrative staff and students at an internationalizing university. The project utilized audiovisual data of interactions, recorded at a number of sites at a Danish university. These concerned service encounters at the International Office help desk, and study guidance counselling meetings both at the central administrative offices and a number of university departments. The research angle for the project has focused on how co-participants coordinate collaborative institutional activities through the deployment of a range of embodied resources, including talk, bodily conduct and the material surround. Analyses focus on how co-participants in talk-in-interaction orient to their co-participants’ situated embodied actions produced in conjunction with linguistic utterances, and reflexively produce their turns within the sequential organization as multimodally constituted social action in interaction. Leading on from this, the analyses sought to explore whether situated embodied practices serve to enact-into-being the institution of the international university. Research into these dynamically multilingual and culturally hybrid settings has often emphasized the linguistic component of such encounters. The current project adds to this by considering participants’ interactional competencies, denoting their situated methods and interactive practices through which they are able to co-construct in situ their social world. The thesis includes an overview of activities and linguistic resources encountered in the data. The main lines of analysis, however, are presented in five research articles. One article describes systematic practices for entering into a focused encounter at a help desk. The paper demonstrates how participants orient to a particular step-wise sequence of actions as they coordinate their moving into an institutionally oriented encounter. Similarly, the second paper demonstrates how participants use institutionally relevant material objects as resources to demarcating between stages of an institutional interaction. These objects feature also in the third paper, which describes a practice where objects are utilized in the construction of multimodal utterances, and are developed as a thematic device over a sequence of talk. Orientations to objects in the surround are also a theme for the fourth article, which explores how participants’ treat ongoing recording activity in the setting. This methodological article investigates how participants in the setting treat the recording activity, and use it for performing identity work. One final paper also has a methodological focus, namely a discussion of audiovisual data transcription practices. This paper argues for a wider adoption of transcription linking software.The main methodological approach for the research has been Conversation Analysis, supplemented by micro-ethnographic methods for investigating situated embodied conduct in interaction, notably Context Analysis. These approaches share a commitment to how they treat the phenomena of human interaction, including a reluctance to use contrived data or experimental settings. The current research offers a synthesis of the analytic orientations, specifically in foregrounding the reflexive, conjoint, and co-reliant nature of the multiple modalities, rather than emphasizing one modality over another.",
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    author = "Spencer Hazel",
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    }

    Interactional competence in the institutional setting of the international university : Talk and embodied action as multimodal aggregates in institutional interaction . / Hazel, Spencer.

    Roskilde : Roskilde Universitet, 2012. 261 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

    TY - BOOK

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    T2 - Talk and embodied action as multimodal aggregates in institutional interaction

    AU - Hazel, Spencer

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    AB - This project has investigated social practices in co-present encounters between administrative staff and students at an internationalizing university. The project utilized audiovisual data of interactions, recorded at a number of sites at a Danish university. These concerned service encounters at the International Office help desk, and study guidance counselling meetings both at the central administrative offices and a number of university departments. The research angle for the project has focused on how co-participants coordinate collaborative institutional activities through the deployment of a range of embodied resources, including talk, bodily conduct and the material surround. Analyses focus on how co-participants in talk-in-interaction orient to their co-participants’ situated embodied actions produced in conjunction with linguistic utterances, and reflexively produce their turns within the sequential organization as multimodally constituted social action in interaction. Leading on from this, the analyses sought to explore whether situated embodied practices serve to enact-into-being the institution of the international university. Research into these dynamically multilingual and culturally hybrid settings has often emphasized the linguistic component of such encounters. The current project adds to this by considering participants’ interactional competencies, denoting their situated methods and interactive practices through which they are able to co-construct in situ their social world. The thesis includes an overview of activities and linguistic resources encountered in the data. The main lines of analysis, however, are presented in five research articles. One article describes systematic practices for entering into a focused encounter at a help desk. The paper demonstrates how participants orient to a particular step-wise sequence of actions as they coordinate their moving into an institutionally oriented encounter. Similarly, the second paper demonstrates how participants use institutionally relevant material objects as resources to demarcating between stages of an institutional interaction. These objects feature also in the third paper, which describes a practice where objects are utilized in the construction of multimodal utterances, and are developed as a thematic device over a sequence of talk. Orientations to objects in the surround are also a theme for the fourth article, which explores how participants’ treat ongoing recording activity in the setting. This methodological article investigates how participants in the setting treat the recording activity, and use it for performing identity work. One final paper also has a methodological focus, namely a discussion of audiovisual data transcription practices. This paper argues for a wider adoption of transcription linking software.The main methodological approach for the research has been Conversation Analysis, supplemented by micro-ethnographic methods for investigating situated embodied conduct in interaction, notably Context Analysis. These approaches share a commitment to how they treat the phenomena of human interaction, including a reluctance to use contrived data or experimental settings. The current research offers a synthesis of the analytic orientations, specifically in foregrounding the reflexive, conjoint, and co-reliant nature of the multiple modalities, rather than emphasizing one modality over another.

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