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The 3rd Annual CASLC End-of-Academic-Year Celebratory Talk

Thursday 30 June 2022, 4.00PM

Speaker(s): Professor Jenny Mandelbaum

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The Centre for Advanced Studies in Language & Communication (CASLC) at the University of York is delighted to present a talk by Professor Jenny Mandelbaum, co-authored with Professor Gene Lerner: On the Communicative Affordances of Instrumental Action: Offering Meal Service to Others, Whilst Serving Oneself.

We begin with this simple observation: Taking food can present an occasion for offering food. The sheer visibility of mealtime self-service to other diners (reflexively) furnishes both a context and an account for these offers of service. Not only does mealtime self-service furnish a public launching pad for offering service to others, but the placement of that offer – either on the way to serving oneself or just after having done so – can frame the offer, casting it as a ‘no bother, while I’m at it’ offer.

Furthermore, an Offerer can modify the path of their self-service so as to overtly promote the offer: The self-service Manual Action Pathway can be fashioned so as to incorporate visible preparation to serve the Offeree, just before or just after their own self-service. The report then takes up those offers made just as the actual transfer of food or drink is carried out. These offers are recurrently coterminous with the transfer, and thereby become fulfilment-ready just as the transfer reaches its material completion.

In sum, in this report, we are able to specify just how practical embodied conduct can contribute to the formation of communicative action – thus providing a way to ground the concept of social solidarity, when applied to offers and their acceptance/declination, in the visible practices of self-service organization.

About the speaker

Jenny Mandelbaum (PhD, University of Texas, Austin) is Professor Emerita in the Department of Communication at Rutgers University, USA. Using the methods of Conversation Analysis, her research examines how the organization of interaction pertains to family and other social relationships and identities, including studies of storytelling, repair organization, the management of social knowledge (epistemics), and the implementation and consequences of such actions as recruiting assistance from others, requesting, offering, assessing, and complaining.

Location: Online