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.

— Fall 2019 Events —

Ruey-Ying Liu, PhD Student, UCLA

Constructing Childhood through Social Interaction: Rights, Obligations, and Accountability in Adult-Child Interaction
October 10th, 5:00-6:30PM Haines 279

Ruth Parry, Professor, Loughborough University

Problems and Practices in Introducing and Trying Out Walking Aids and Aids to Daily Living in a Palliative Care Context
October 24th, 5:00-6:30PM Kaplan A68

Fiona Stevenson, Professor, University College London

Using CA to Develop Interventions with Patients and Doctors
November 7th, 5:00-6:30PM A24

Josua Dahmen, PhD Student, Macquire University, Australia

Reported Speech in Jaru/Kriol Conversations
November 21st, 5:00-6:30PM Haines 279

Jan Hauck, Postdoctoral Researcher, London School of Economics

“Let’s Eat (Together)!” Grammatical Resources for the Construal of Benefactive Stance in Aché Children’s Food Requests
December 5th, 5:00-6:30PM A24

Past Speakers


Amanda McArthur
PhD Candidate, UCLA Dept. of Sociology

Daria Bahtina
Postdoctoral Researcher, UCLA Dept. of Sociology

Anne Elizabeth Clark White
Dept. of Internal Medicine, UC Davis

Jay Meehan
Dept. of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work, & Criminal Justice, Oakland University

Jan David Hauck
Dept. of Anthropology, UCLA

Caroline Tietbohl
PhD Candidate, UCLA Dept. of Sociology

Xiaoting Li
Assistant Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Alberta

Clara Bergen
PhD Candidate, UCLA Dept. of Sociology

J.P. de Ruiter
Professor of Computer Science and Psychology, Tufts University

Kevin Whitehead
Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara

Fang Li
Associate Professor, Applied Linguistics & Institute for Medical Humanities, Peking University

Joanna Thornborrow
Professor, Linguistics & English Language, Université de Bretagne Occidentale

Alexandra Tate
PhD Candidate, UCLA Dept. of Sociology

Keith Cox
PhD Student, UCLA Dept. of Sociology

Luis Manuel Olguin
PhD Student, UCLA Dept. of Sociology

Elliott Hoey
Post-doctoral Researcher, Loughborough University

John Heritage & Amanda McArthur
Distinguished Professor, UCLA Dept. of Sociology;
PhD Student, UCLA Dept. of Sociology

Amparo Garcia-Ramon
PhD Candidate, Spanish Philology, University of Valencia


2019-20 CAWG Coordinators: 

Kristella Montiegel (

Luis Manuel Olguin (

Professor Giovanni Rossi (