Monday, 8 September 2014

Landmarks and future adventures: celebrating 50 years of conversation analysis

On the 29th July, the Language and Social Interaction Research Cluster in the Department of Sociology at York held a symposium to mark the significance of 2014 in the history of conversation analysis (CA). 

It is 40 years since the publication of the highly influential paper, A Simplest Systematics for the Organization of Turn-Taking for Conversation (Sacks, Schegloff and Jefferson, 1974); 30 years since the landmark publication of edited collection, Structures of Social Action(Atkinson & Heritage, 1984); and, as we were recently reminded at the world’s largest ever CA conference – held in June at the birthplace of CA (UCLA) – it is now 50 years since Sacks gave his first lecture on conversation analysis. 

Capitalising on this moment in time, we held the symposium to celebrate and reflect critically on the accomplishments, challenges, and future possibilities created by the field’s exponential growth over the last five decades. 

With invited facilitators from Europe (Dennis Day, Simeon Floyd, Trine Heinemann, Anssi Peräkylä) and the US (Galina Bolden), the event was based around semi-structured discussion sessions aimed at creating space for reflection that is often absent from our busy working lives. 

We were delighted by the creative way in which participants entered into the spirit of the day, generating exciting ideas for future collaborative working.

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