Conversation Analysis

Conversation Analysis (CA) is an approach to the study of social interaction and language. Despite its name, the scope of CA is not limited to conversation as a genre of discourse (small talk, gossip) but encompasses any human activity that involves an exchange of turns at talk and other meaningful conduct. CA is committed to the close examination of social interaction in its sequential, forward-feeding development. Interaction unfolds as a chain of initiating and responding actions. This chain is a source of internal evidence for the meaning of social behavior as it exposes the understandings that participants themselves give of what one another is doing. CA’s sequential frame of analysis also shapes the basic questions that guide CA research: what is a participant doing by speaking or moving in a certain way at a given moment? What evidence is there for this in the conduct that precedes, co-occurs with, and follows that stretch of behavior? Such an analysis requires the close and repeated inspection of audio and video recordings of naturally occurring interaction, supported by transcripts and other forms of annotation. Distributional regularities are complemented by a demonstration of participants’ orientation to deviant behavior, which brings to the surface the underlying norms of social interaction.

The CA Working Group continues to foster the growing community of conversation analytic scholars through a facilitation of scholarly exchange between faculty and graduate students within the Department. We are proud of our relations with other Sociology Working Groups and with the broader UCLA community. Our working group continues to attract language and social interaction scholars from a range of allied departments and centers at the University. 

Our primary goal is to establish and strengthen ties between graduate students and faculty working in our field within the Department of Sociology.  At present the CA faculty have a range of courses and data analysis seminars detailing the substance and methodology of conversation analysis. The working group is distinctive in providing a forum in which students can try out ideas for potential publications, showcase their own data sets, and test run relatively developed papers for conferences and symposia.  Correspondingly, the working group provides students and faculty with an opportunity to witness and provide critical feedback on works in progress by faculty and other scholars.

If you want to know more about our upcoming events, don't hesitate to join the CAWG listserv by sending an email to cawg+subscribe (at) lists (dot) ucla (dot) edu. If you encounter an issue signing up, contact us directly

— Sping 2022 Events —

Kindly sign up to the CAWG listserve in order to receive more information about each talk. 

April 14 - MJ Hill
PhD Candidate, Sociology, UCLA, 
"Toward an Ethnomethodological Theory of Race"
**Zoom event, 5:00pm (PST), link will be provided via email**

April 21 - Olivia Marrese
PhD Student, Linguistics, University of Colorado, Boulder
"Scalar constructions of just: A practice for identity claims in interaction"
**Zoom event, 5:00pm (PST), link will be provided via email**

April 28 - Katie Bradford
PhD, Lecturer, Communication Studies, University of Texas at Austin
"Smartphones as Participants in Face-to-Face Interaction.” 
**Zoom event, 5:00pm (PST), link will be provided via email**

May 5 - Brianna McKenna
PhD Student, Sociology, UCLA
"Beyond Person-First and Identity-First: Disability Language in Congressional Hearings".

May 12 - Xiaoting Li
Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts - East Asian Studies, University of Alberta
"Interrogatively-formatted proposals in Mandarin interaction."

May 26 - André Buscariolli
PhD Student, Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara
"Managing Interactional Spaces During Officer-Civilian Encounters. The Police as an Embodied Entity."

This page was last updated on April 6, 2022


2021-22 CAWG Coordinators: 

Kristella Montiegel (

Andrew Chalfoun (

Professor Steven Clayman (