April 18, 2019
5:00pm to 6:30pm
Haines 279

The Conversation Analysis Working Group invites you to join us for:

Daria Bahtina (Visiting Assistant Project Scientist, Department of Sociology, UCLA): "Navigating through limited common ground: Interactive strategies for balancing informational and affiliational pressures"

A central process in social interaction is how common ground is built and maintained between participants. This study explores the interplay between informational and affiliational pressures in the management of common ground: participants need to understand one another to a sufficient degree to move the interaction forward while also maintaining an appropriate degree of interpersonal affiliation. I analyze how participants navigate various interactional tasks by tapping into different aspects of their common ground, including their general level of familiarity with one another, the interactional setting in which they find themselves, and the distribution of knowledge associated with certain social roles. I demonstrate the affordances of different practices for the management of common ground while participants engage in tasks such as making arrangements for a future joint activity, giving instructions, assessing and designing features of a product — and reflect on the broader application of these practices in other arenas of interaction.

The data come from both informal and institutional interaction in Estonian, Russian and English, and involve a mix of naturally occurring and experimentally constrained activities. Comparing communication across different activities, settings, and relationships, helps us uncover both generic and particularized practices for managing cross-cutting and potentially conflicting pressures created by informational and affiliational concerns, including the tension between building and securing common ground, on the one hand, and assuming and exploiting it on the other. I conclude by discussing a practice — the strategic amplification of affiliation — that emerges in situations where participants lack both an interpersonal history and established social roles.