social practices for initiating interactions at a help desk
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 organized 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 physical movement, the use of space and the manipulation of material objects ‘embody the institution’. The paper adds to the growing amount of multimodal conversation analytic work on space, mobility and objects in interaction as central resources for participants’ ongoing sense-making practices.
Journal of Pragmatics, 2014, Vol 62, p. 46-67
Conversation Analysis; embodiment; social action; multimodality; mobility