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Unusual Article in Journal of Pragmatics

Posted on 3 July 2013

Celia Kitzinger has been involved in an unusual scholarly article in that it has 6 lead authors and 7 co-authors.

This reflects its origins in a Masterclass on Conversation Analysis taught by Celia Kitzinger and Gene Lerner at Loughborough University in July 2010.  All those named contributed data to a shared data set that was analyzed collectively in class. Subsequent to the Masterclass the six lead authors constituted a subgroup who developed this analysis – and other subgroups are continuing work on other aspects of place formulation.  This work is one aspect of a broader interest in developing the teaching-research nexus across my various teaching and research interests.

The article considers:

Where are you right now?  You could answer this question truthfully by formulating your location as:  “at my computer”, “in my office”, “in Wentworth”, “in York”, “in England”, “in Europe” or even “on planet Earth”.  But how you actually answer the “where are you?” question depends on who’s asking and why you think they want to know.  So “in my office” is appropriate for someone you’re talking to who’s on campus and wants to meet up for coffee but “in England” might be appropriate for someone trying to figure out when to arrange a Skype conversation across time zones.  Answers to questions about places can also do much more than provide information about a place location – saying that you are at your computer or in your office to someone who asks on a Sunday can be a complaint or a stoical self-presentation of yourself as a hard-working academic.  Drawing on recorded naturally-occurring interactions this article, explores how places are formulated and reformulated with reference to what people mean to be doing with their talk, e.g. in answer to the question “where is the piano lesson?”, the answer  “not far from here” is chosen to reassure the questioner that he has time to get there after dropping a child off at school.

To read the article in full:

Kitzinger, C. , Lerner, G.H., Zinken, J., Wilkinson, S., Kevoe-Feldman, H. & Ellis S. with Viney, R., Hepburn, A., Dixon, S., Vazquez Carranza, A., Butler, C., Busch, G. & Barnes, R.  (2013).   Reformulating place,  Journal of Pragmatics 55: 43-50