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HomeIIEMCA 2013: Technologies and Techniques

IIEMCA 2013: Technologies and Techniques

11th international IIEMCA conference on ethnomethodology and conversation analysis

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Published on Thursday, August 30, 2012


Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis are primarily concerned with the techniques actors utilize to accomplish the social, be it through workplace studies, studies of scientific knowledge, studies of interactional order, etc. The fundamental question that confronts Ethnomethodologists and Conversation Analysts - “how does this interaction get done?” – has and will thus receive a variety of related answers. We invite papers from the international community of EM/CA scholars that address the issues, practices and phenomena related to Technologies and Techniques. As is EM/CAs tradition, we cast these categories in the broadest possible conception, but are particularly interested in papers which address the themes of Technology in the Home, Workplace, or related settings; Technology’s Impact on Theory/Method; Technological Approaches to Data Analysis; Everyday Technology; and The Artful Techniques of Social Interaction.


The 11th conference of the International Institute for Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis will take place on August 5-8, 2013, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

To submit

Beyond main sessions with plenary speakers (Richard Harper, Microsoft Research Cambridge; Nozomi Ikeya, Palo Alto Research Centre; Stanley Raffel, University of Edinburgh; Geoffrey Raymond, University of California Santa Barbara), interested scholars are invited to take part to several panels concerning technologies and techniques in various contexts.

To submit, please fill the online form :


The abstract should not exceed 200 words.

Organizer of each panel will evaluate the proposals.

If you do not find any of the panels relevant to your abstract submission, please feel free to submit to the General Stream for the conference.

Scholars interested in submitting an abstract can contact the organizers for more detailed session abstracts and expectations.

Submissions are expected until September 15th, 2012.


IIEMCA Panels and Thematic Sessions

  • Interacting with Robots and Virtual Agents?

Organizer: Karola Pitsch (karola.pitsch@uni-bielefeld.de)
Interdisciplinary research has recently focused on developing novel interfaces for digital technologies, which should provide intuitive access for lay- users based on their everyday practices (Harper et al. 2008). Recent developments of such human-machine-interfaces are humanoid robots and (partly) virtual agents, which are able to observe their environment, to talk, to gesture and to move in space.  EM/CA has developed a strong tradition of investigating the field of "interaction and technology" (e.g. Workplace Studies, CSCW) and continues to define and shape new issues in human-computer-interaction (HCI).  Against this background, it is time to discuss more intensely the impact of EM/CA in these new fields of human-robot- (HRI) and human-agent-interaction (HAI). Thus, in this panel, we aim at bringing together EM/CA researchers who are active in this emerging discipline to discuss current empirical work, methodological and conceptual issues.

Media@Home I

Organizers: Ilkka Arminen (Ilkka.arminen@helsinki.fi) and Tiina Malkia (tiina.malkia@uta.fi)
Since new media has inevitably “invaded” homes, it is important to discuss the children’s media use, well-being and family life as a complex, interconnected ensemble. However, how do media interfere with everyday life and the interaction of family members is largely unknown. This panel concerns about how the family routines and media use are intertwined in family interactions and what kind of tensions and challenges, or possibilities, the new media may bring into home life. We welcome studies based on video recordings of actual family interactions, or combinations of video recordings, ethnography, time use data and other data.  We wish to contribute on the discussion on the change of family practices, intertwining of media and family life, reorganization of family rituals and performativity of family life.

Media@Home II

Organizers: Christina Davidson (cdavidson@csu.edu.au) and Susan Danby (s.danby@qut.edu.au)
Children’s use of the Internet is steadily increasing; we know that children as young as two go online.  What remains very much under-examined, however, are the ways that children socially accomplish these activities.  papers in this symposium employ ethnomethodology/conversation analysis to provide detailed descriptions of the social accomplishment of children’s use of Skype, Wikipedia, YouTube, etc.... Papers will provide descriptions of the methods that children employed to make specific technology “at home in the world” (Sacks, 1995). Together, the papers address matters such as the ways that shared understandings are produced interactionally across virtual and actual world activity, how indexical expressions, gestures and gaze are used by children to situate talk contextually as online or offline, how children competently manage turn-taking while completing simultaneous activity with digital technology, and how children orient to technology to produce particular identities and relations with adults.

Organization of Interaction between Great East Japan Earthquake Evacuees and Volunteers in Fukushima Prefecture

Organizer: Aug Nishizaka (augnish@soc.meijigakuin.ac.jp)
This panel focuses on the organization of interaction in the "footbath volunteer activity" in Fukushima Prefecture, following the Earthquake, Tsunami and subsequent nuclear accident of March 11th, 2011.  Official purposes of this particular volunteer activity include listening to evacuees' talk to understand their needs, as well as massaging their hands and arms, while their feet are being bathed, to provide them with a moment of relaxation.  This panel technically elucidates techniques that volunteers and evacuees employ to address their practical problems.  We thereby demonstrate one possible direction in which EM/CA can contribute to individuals' better quality of life by suggesting possible rearrangements of the communicative techniques.

Techniques of Practical Inquiry: Asserting ‘knowable’ knowledge

Organizers: Patrick G. Watson (pwatson@uwaterloo.ca) and Michael Mair (michael.mair@liverpool.ac.uk)
This panel seeks to explore the ways actors conceive of and address the issue of ‘what is known about this (a) situation’ when conducting the work of practical inquiry.  In what fashion is knowledge established? What techniques are utilized to demonstrate the fixity of knowledge? What establishes the certainty of knowledge in the face of opposing accounts?  Centrally this session seeks to explore how it is actors in situations of practical inquiry support their perceptions and understandings of social action in light of an increasingly reflexive or post-modern assault on ‘everyday knowledge’.  Using empirical examples of practical inquiry to inform the discussion, the panel will examine techniques and practices used by those in situations ‘of owning knowledge’ (c.f. Sharrock, 1974; Smith 1978) while paying credence to Polner’s (1991) assertion that “how, what members do in to, and about social reality, constitutes social reality”.  That is, the practices which make a knowable reality readily apparent and account-able in situations of inquiry.

On Ethnomethodological Approaches to ‘Social Problems’

Organizer: Benoit Renevey (Benoit.Renevey@hef-ts.ch)
In the constuctionist perspective, social problems are conditions that have become culturally defined as troublesome, widespread, changeable, and in need of change.  Working out this constructionist aphorism, ethnomethodogists would define social problems as accomplishments: the making of social problems would consist of using some particular categorizations and achieving particular sequenciality in interactional settings, which, thank to the phenomenon of reflexivity, would appear as settings specifically dedicated to the discussion of social problems.  This panel is specifically dedicated to the understanding of techniques actors utilize to accomplish the construction of social problems, that is, to make sense of the interaction to which they take part as a specific situation of defining a social problem, and resolving it.

Ethnomethodology and Blum and McHugh’s Analysis

Organizer: Kieran Boner (kmbonner@uwaterloo.ca)
Garfinkel’s work is an acknowledged influence on the Analysis of Blum and McHugh. Peter McHugh was a student of Garfinkel, working with him on the documentary method of interpretation experiments, cases he developed in his own publication, Defining the Situation. In Blum and McHugh’s two major collaborative publications, Garfinkel is acknowledged as “a great influence” (1974), whose concern [re conceding the principled character of self reflection] is understandable given the risk “that the consequences of such a concession are irrational, particularly insofar as some of those consequences are visible in critical theory.” (1984) Sharrock and Anderson (1986) acknowledge that Blum and McHugh’s project pushes the ethnomethodological interest in “the examination of its own assumptions” in a more radical direction, but in ways that show “some comprehension of and sensitivity to its concerns.” This session invites papers that seek to revisit the relation between ethnomethodology and Analysis in light of past and recent work in each tradition.

On the Essential Tendentiousness of Instructed Action, and the Work of Instruction (Closed Session)

Organizer: Doug MacBeth (macbeth.1@osu.edu)
This panel collects papers that align two programs.  The first is substantive, in our studies of education and the practical work of teaching.  The second theme continues a project undertaken over the last 25 years to explore the resemblances between Wittgenstein’s grammatical–conceptual studies, and Garfinkel’s and Sacks’ praxiologies of order  (cf., Coulter, 1989; Lynch, 1992; Sharrock & Anderson, 1986).  Garfinkel speaks of instruction’s “curious properties” for formal analysis: its conundrums of clarity, consistency, completeness and followability, as properties both ordinary and "intractably problematic".  Our panel papers take interest in the families of practices whereby students, in the company of teachers and others, and in the presence of puzzles of clarity and completeness, find the sense of their instruction.  Across diverse settings, our papers aim to disclose practical technologies of instruction, and in the measure show how the workings of the ‘black box’ of instruction are not so dark.  They are rather, and must be, in full and public view.

Technologies and Techniques of Learning

Organizer: Tim Koschmann (tkoschmann@siumed.edu)
A father and his son have a routine—before departing from their house each morning the child sits on the front step and waits for his father to tie his shoes.  But one morning, to his father's astonishment, the child proceeds to tie his own laces!  In CA, much interest of late has been paid to epistemic features of talk.   The  methodic practices by which members test and reveal learning would seem to be closely related to this.  Just as Wittgenstein posed various scenarios to explore our thinking about certain concepts, we use the shoe-tying example to foster reflection on the techniques and technologies of (“doing,” “displaying,” and/or “making visible”) learning. 

Interaction with the Technology of Written Language: How Children, Young People and Adults Accomplish “Doing Reading” and “Doing Writing”

Organizers: Christina Davidson (cdavidson@csu.edu.au) and Val Williams (val.williams@bristol.ac.uk)
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, the session addresses ways that people, young and old, make meaning during interactions with written texts; participants will contribute 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.

Garfinkel’s Studies of Work in the Sciences

Organizer: Michael Lynch (mel27@cornell.edu)
Starting in the 1970s, Harold Garfinkel initiated a series of investigations of workplace activities: the embodied and collaborative practices that make up the identifying activities in the specialized professions, arts, and sciences. By “identifying activities” is meant the situated productions and performances that make up competent, publicly recognizable instances of musical performance, mathematical demonstration, legal argumentation, and countless other technical activities.  An important line of research in the studies of work program concerned the natural sciences and mathematics.  Garfinkel made explicit, his aim was not to show that science is “constructed”, but to investigate and exhibit its material production.  Much of what Garfinkel wrote on the subject remains unpublished, and to a large extent unrecognized in social studies of science.  The overall aim of the session is to show as well as to discuss what Garfinkel might have envisioned for studies of work in the sciences.

Do it Yourself: Technical Self-Instruction, Tutorial Problems and Ethnomethodological Inquiry

Organizer: Philippe Sormani (philippe.sormani@univie.ac.at)
In Ethnomethodology’s Program, Garfinkel repeatedly emphasizes the indispensable character of technical self-instruction in and for ethnomethodological inquiry (EM) – that is, “[autodidactic] investigations are not optional. You needn’t feel that because I’m telling you about them you need not do them. To see what they are about you are obliged to do them” (Garfinkel 2002:167). Taking up the line of inquiry sketched by Garfinkel (and also Livingston) this panel focuses upon technical self-instruction in and for ethnomethodological inquiry (also see Sudnow 1978).  The panel, more specifically, addresses the question of how those endogenous methods, rather than any formal methodology of social analysis, can be drawn upon for the reflexive explication and procedural description of the practice(s) that they constitute: how are “[EM] descriptions [...] provided for and ‘readable’ interchangeably as pedagogies” (Garfinkel 2002:101)? Simply put, the panel gathers and discusses current EM studies based on a dedicated “do it yourself” policy, despite its frequent omission and sustained, yet largely programmatic criticism (e.g., Pollner 2012).

Technology and Reflexivity

Organizer: Kieran Bonner (kmbonner@uwaterloo.ca)
The ethnomethodological work on technology (specifically human computer interaction; Suchman, Button, Dourish, Sharrock etc.) has demonstrated the reflexive requirements that users must bring to the introduction of any new tool. This work has demonstrated that the development and adoption of any and all technology is not a ‘mere’ technical matter. Suchman (1993) has suggested that categorization and categorization devices are not only ground in the work of members but that they may also have ‘politics.’ While drawing on Foucault’s work, this development also raises other work on technology and reflexivity within the phenomenological tradition, most notably Arendt and Heidegger. This session invites papers that seek to contribute to our understanding of the relation between technology, reflexivity and reflective relations to technology.   

The Use of Technology for Membershipping in Multilingual Contexts

Organizer: John Hellermann (jkh@pdx.edu)
This panel’s members reconsider the nature of membership as “mastery of natural language” (Garfinkel & Sacks, 1970, p. 342) in studies of participants in interaction whose use of a particular natural language is, to various degrees, ‘problematic’.  It brings a set of complex contexts typically found in linguistic studies involving multilingual participants for consideration by EMCA to show membershipping work in multilingual settings via, in some sense, technology.  This panel embraces the technology of ethnomethodological conversation analysis to understand the role of various other technologies (ancient and modern) in the mundane practices for social organization of multilingual members. Technology examined include different media for written language (paper, subtitled video games, SMS messages) as well as smart phone apps with cloud sharing.  The examination of different technologies used to facilitate the negotiation of language use and language choice in a variety of contexts involving a variety of languages will provide rich territory for understanding the mechanisms for displaying and becoming members.

For Roy Turner: Ethnomethodology, Conversation Analysis and Beyond

Organizer: Peter Eglin (peglin@wlu.ca)
The session is intended to honour Roy Turner’s contribution to sociology by providing a forum for papers by those who have been influenced by his work. Turner was a student of Erving Goffman at Berkeley but came to work in ethnomethodology and conversation analysis through the influence of Harvey Sacks (also a Goffman student) and Harold Garfinkel at UCLA. His work includes the seminal paper “Words, utterances and activities” that recovers the importance of J. L. Austin's linguistic-philosophical work for sociological inquiry. He subsequently moved on from EM/CA to take up a form of cultural criticism influenced initially by the “Analysis” of Alan Blum and Peter McHugh and then, more strongly, by Hannah Arendt: thus, the session title’s reference to “Beyond.” Papers are invited on any aspect of his work, whether exegetical, critical or touched off by it.

Author Meets Critics: Ken Liberman, “More Studies in Ethnomethodology”

Organizers: Ken Liberman and Patrick G. Watson (pwatson@uwaterloo.ca)
Prof. Liberman will face a panel of reviewers to discuss “More Studies in Ethnomethodology".


  • Waterloo, Canada


  • Saturday, September 15, 2012


  • ethnométhodologie, analyse de conversation, technologies, techniques


  • Benoit Renevey
    courriel : benoit [dot] renevey [at] hef-ts [dot] ch

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Benoit Renevey
    courriel : benoit [dot] renevey [at] hef-ts [dot] ch


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« IIEMCA 2013: Technologies and Techniques », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, August 30, 2012, https://doi.org/10.58079/lio

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