analysis, social organization, classroom talk

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Linking micro and macro

I have several days to produce a conference paper which will address this theme:

To this end, I've been doing some refresher reading about ethnomethdology's position on the macro-micro debate. I will use this reading to just produce a small section that will address the theme, without being too confrontational about ethnomethodology.

I started with:
Hilbert, R. A. (1990). Ethnomethodology and the micro-macro order. American Sociological Review, 55, 794-808.

As I read through, I noted points that could usefully be incorporated into the small section in my paper. I will note some of these here.

1. On ethnomethodological indifference

" ... ethnomethodologists cannot truly participate in the debate, for it does not subsribe to its presmises; in that sense ethnomethodology  transcends the micro-macro debate by transcending its terms. That is, ethnomethodologists have repeatedly announced their suspension of belief in social structural phenomena per se as objects of theoretical inquiry" (Hilbert, 1990, p. 795)

Accordingly, ethnomethodology seeks to "not to legitimate one level of structure at the expense of others, but rather to examine social practies whereby structure structure is made to happen, made to appear - i.e. accomplished by and for members of society" (Hilbert, 1990, p. 795).

"To adopt an ethnomethodological perspective is to leave the question of social structure entirely behind, neither denying nor affirming the existence of structure but abandoning it as a topic of investigation in favour of another topic: social pratices, also known as "members' methods" or ethnomethods." (Hilbert, 1990, p. 795)

2. On ethnomethods or social practices

"the distinction between micro- and macrostructure is not an ethnomethodological distinction. For ethnomethodology, the proper distinction is between structure on the one hand and its artful production on the other, where the latter is the topic of investigation" (Hilbert, 1990, p. 796)

Social structures "are produced from within the settings they supposedly regulate. The fact that members may experience their force as originating elsewhere, for example from an independent structural or prescriptive order, or the fact that members may experience mutually accomplished constraint as an independent force exercising itself on members collectively, attest to the artfullness of their techniques" (Hilbert, 1990, p. 796)

3 Sources of misconceptions about ethnomethodology as microsociological
These include: conflation of some microsociologies with ethnomethodological perspectives during 1960a; ethnomethodological indifference incorrectly interpreted as "denial of structure" (Hilbert, 1990, 797) with a consequence focus on the individual; focus on the local misconstuing of of ethnomethodology's focys on empirical phenomena (p. 797) -"this emphasis on the concetrete and local should not be confused with a preoccupation with microstructure" (Hilbert, 1990, p. 797).

4. Conversation analysis and microsociology
"conversation analysts are not concerned wtih with their data because they are "micto", but because they are undeniably, empirically, present" (p. 798)

5 Schegloff's position (according to Hilbert)
"whatever might otherwise be misconstrued as the macro-contexts of conversation should show up empirically as charactreized within the very conversation in question" (Hilbert, 1990, p. 800)

Schegloff, E. (1987). Between micro and macro: Contexts and other connection. In J. C. Alexander, B. Glieson, R. Munch and N. J. Smelser (Eds.), The micro=macro link (pp. 207-234). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

6. A radical thesis
This is that the empirical phenomena of conversation analysts and non-empirical structural phenomena are "the same phenomena" (Hilbert, 1990, 801)

Here Hilbert refers to the overlay of culture on social practices.

"cultural content in terms of whatever members take to be "the real world" provides an overlay for experiencing concrete social practices that are exterior to and constrain participation in these very practices, features of these practices attributed by members to objective reality" (p. 801).

"ethnomethodology is concerned with concrete empirical social practices wherein both macro- and microstructures and their interrelations are produced, reproduced, used, and managed. These practices are known by their empirical features, being visible, recordable, and subject to inspection. HTeir features are not theoretically deduced but known by inspection and discovery. Their deployment by members in the production of macro-order necessasrily entails the production of its exemplars; hence there is no distinction for ethnomethodologists to make between micro-structure and macrostructure as they are simulataneously generated. Social practices occur in real-time and real-space and are distributed, i.e., "linked' sequentially and biographically in empirial space-time" (Hilbert, 1990, p. 805)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bring on the new year

I'm not sorry to see the end of 2012. It has been a challenging year for many reasons that I won't detail in this post. Next year promises to be a very interesting one with several overseas conferences organised. Yesterday I booked my accommodation for AERA. It was a tough choice because there were so many hotels that appealed. In the end I went for this one. The hotel is on Geary Street and I have fond memories of staying in a hotel in that same street at my first AERA conference in 2006. The conference in 2012 will be my seventh AERA conference. I'm proud of that track record. A second conference I will be attending is the Pragmatics conference in New Delhi. I had blogged some months ago about putting up a proposal for a symposium. My first attempt (Early Bird) was rejected but with encouragement to rework and reapply which I did. The second time around, the proposal was accepted. Participants in the symposium will include my doctoral student, Brooke Scriven, and my friend Gillian Busch. The co-chair of the symposium is Professor Susan Danby from QUT. Susan and I are also chairing a symposium at this conference in Waterloo, Canada. There is one more conferencethat I would like to attend. The abstracts are due for this on January 9th so not perfect timing for me. I've promised myself restful days until 2 January when I will return to work. Still, I will do some thinking and will probably watch some recordings from our ARC, that will help me to select a focus and I can do the work for the abstract in a week, hopefully. The conference actually requires full papers of 15-30 pages. Now that is a big ask in a week.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Upping the ante

This year I took time off from attending conferences overseas. This decision was driven by financial concerns (needing to pay off a house loan) and by concerns for my energy levels. In 2011, I presented at two international conferences back-to-back and returned to Australian exhausted. Although it shouldn't have been exhausting, the need to write some papers while at conferences meant that I experienced a pretty stressful time overseas. Of course, I have regretted the decision as the year has progressed. So, for the last few weeks I have been developing proposal for conferences in 2013. I DO like to set myself more challenging targets over time, so I decided to try to get a symposium up for a conference (with myself as a co-chair).I had my sights on the Pragmatics conference in in New Delhi but lucked out (at least, I have been invited to resubmit and will do that in the next few weeks. After that I tried for this one but was worried that the proposal might not get up (after the previous experience of rejection).So, I put up two co-authored abstracts.

I was blown away yesterday when I received notice that both had been accepted. This is very exciting news and will also be exciting news for those people who have agreed to write papers. Here is one of those abstracts:

Interaction with the technology of written language: How children, young people and adults accomplish “doing reading” and “doing writing”

Written language is ubiquitous in our lives. The ways people acquire and use written language have been extensively examined in disciples or fields such as linguistics, cultural studies, literacy education and sociology; they remain under-addressed from the particular sociological perspective of ethnomethodology. The purpose of this symposium is to provide a detailed examination of techniques for accomplishing reading and writing from the perspective of ethnomethodology, and particularly through the application of conversation analysis to recordings of actual instances of reading and writing. Overall, papers encompass techniques used by children, young people and adults across a range of settings where they individually and collectively produce “doing reading” and “doing writing”. The focus of individual papers includes (1) how young children socially produce written texts to conduct internet searches in the home, (2) the ways the production of ‘easy information’ through talk and text supports comprehension of texts by learners with difficulties (3) how young children in school classrooms interact to do reading and writing socially during literacy lessons, and (4) the ways that interaction around texts produces readers and writers. Overall, the session addresses ways that people, young and old, make meaning during interactions with written texts; each paper contributes to understandings of the specific ways that interaction for reading and writing produces readers and writers of texts across a variety of settings, including during use of digital technology.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Back to the drawing board

Received this:

Dear Christina,

This is to let you know that the Conference Committee for the 13th International Pragmatics Conference, to be held in New Delhi, India, 8-13 September 2013, has not been able to accept your panel proposal

“Being connected: how children manage the interface between their social activity and the affordances of digital technologies “

in its present form.

You are, however, strongly encouraged to resubmit before the 15 September deadline, keeping in mind the following remarks that were made:

Important topic. This panel would be a good contribution, but the abstract is kept a bit too abstract and general to see what the panel would look like exactly (and especially to decide how many time slots should be reserved). Is the fact that at the moment only Australian contributors are foreseen a conscious choice?

Looking forward to the further development of your panel proposal,

With best wishes,etc etc

So, I haven't entirely given up yet but I clearly need to do a lot more thinking. For example, does the last sentence imply that an all OZ symposium is not the best option?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Something like this

I've been working on a draft proposal for a symposium for the New Delhi conference that I posted about below. Here is what I have so far: Being connected: how children manage the interface between their social activity and the affordances of digital technologies, The purpose of this symposium is to consider how children socially accomplish their everyday use of digital technologies including technologies specifically designed to facilitate communication. Technologies encompass hardware and software such as mobile phones, iPads, desktop computers, digital gaming devices, Skype, YouTube and Wikipedia. Collectively, the papers draw on recordings of naturally occurring talk and embodied actions, and apply the analytic approaches of ethnomethodology, conversation analysis and/or membership categorization analysis. The focus for individual papers includes, for example, an examination of the ways that shared understandings are produced interactionally across virtual and actual world activity, how indexical expressions and gestures are used to situate talk contextually as online or offline, and the ways children competently manage turn-taking to introduce and enable multiple and simultaneous activities during their use of digital technology. The symposium will be of relevance to those interested in (1) fine-grained analytic work that addresses the interactions of humans with digital technologies and the accomplishment of communication through digital technologies (2) children’s orientations to particular affordances of digital technology during social interaction in homes, communities and education contexts, and (3) the reflexive production of social worlds that encompass digital technologies. Yes, it needs a bit of work. As does this blog post. Apparently, there is a problem with Blogger on my browser. I'll need to check this out.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Anyone up for New Delhi?

Yesterday the first call for proposals for this conference came out. As the venue information suggests, New Delhi is a place that should be seriously considered for "must-do" visits in 2013. Apart from being an interesting city New Delhi is a stepping point to Agra and the beautiful Taj Mahal. I am thinking of proposing a symposium which would be something to do with children and digital technology. Last year I presented at a symposium for the same conference (in Manchester). I like the idea of some kind of cohesive presentation and also the challenge that getting up the proposal would entail. Last night I finished the paper on Ethnomethodology and literacy research. I made the deadline (which I like to do) for submission of final draft and will now wait to see if it goes forward. Hope so! Today I'm going to return to the disputes chapter. I received an email yesterday alerting me to a couple of missing reference details and the need to provide a bio for the publication. I PROMISED that I would do that as soon as I finished the article (due yesterday). Things roll on as always ...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

on rejection

I don't I write about rejection much ... Today I had one. I'd sent off a book proposal on transcription to a publisher. I'd not heard back in over a month so that delay was a harbinger (love that expression from Douglas Macbeth) of the bad news to come. It was in my work email box this morning. I kind of wish I hadn't opened it today as I have quite a lot of work to do and rejection doesn't really engender the rallying of a lot of energy (smile). However, and the point of the post, if I can't handle the rejection and do something with it then I might as well not be in the game. The editor's feedback - brief - was that the focus (transcription in education research) was too narrow a focus to market. He probably wouldn't think that if he took a look at some of the weird and unsystematic transcripts that are produced in education research. Still, I take the point. I will think now about widening the focus to transcription in qualitative research (something that I toyed with constantly anyhow when putting together the proposal). The final thing I want to say about rejection, before getting on with my life, is that it is hard to handle when a lot of work and thinking has been injected into the writing (be it a book proposal or journal article). It seems like an awful waste and represents, for me, a lack of progress. I don't want to say a waste of research time, however, if I don't turn around the rejection of the proposal in some way then it will have been a waste of time.