Recruitment: Offers, requests, and the organisation of assistance in interaction. Research on language and social interaction

We examine methods that participants use to resolve troubles in the realization of practical courses of action. The concept of recruitment is developed to encompass the linguistic and embodied ways in which assistance may be sought—requested or solicited—or in which we come to perceive another’s need and offer or volunteer assistance.

We argue that these methods are organized as a continuum, from explicit requests, to practices that elicit offers, to anticipations of need. We further identify a class of subsidiary actions that can precede recruitment and that publicly expose troubles and thereby create opportunities for others to assist.