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.  Click here to join the CAWG email list.

— Spring 2020 Events —

**Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and UCLA campus closure, we had to make some changes to our original Spring schedule.  Please see below for an updated list of events occuring online.**

To participate in the following events, please sign up to the CAWG listserv to receive links and credentials. We will be using Zoom to meet online

Reading Group: On Social Action (1)

May 21, 5:15 PM (PT)

These reading group meetings will focus on theories of action in interaction, and particularly on two areas of contemporary debate: 1) the ontology of action and the role of action categories in the process of action formation and ascription; 2) the operational relevance of sociodemographic structure in the organization of interaction.  

Schegloff, Emanuel A. (1997). "Practices and actions: boundary cases of other-initiated repair", Discourse Processes, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 499–545.

Enfield, N.J., and Jack Sidnell (2017). "On the concept of action in the study of interaction," Discourse Studies, vol. 19, no. 5, pp. 515-35.

Please come to reading group sessions having read the materials to engage in discussion

Amanda McArthur
PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology

May 28, 5:15 PM (PT)


Reading Group: On Social Action (2)

June 4, 5:15 PM (PT)

Readings tbd

Please come to reading group sessions having read the materials to engage in discussion


2019-20 CAWG Coordinators: 

Kristella Montiegel (

Luis Manuel Olguin (

Professor Giovanni Rossi (