Conversation Analysis

3. Basic Principles of CA


The practices that CA finds in interaction cluster around fundamental orders of conversational and social organization. Detailing these is beyond the scope of this contribution. Suffice it to say that some are clearly central to the management of interaction itself. For instance, there are:

  • Clusters of practices that are associated with taking a turn at talk;
  • Practices of repair that address systematic problems in speaking, hearing and understanding talk; and
  • Practices associated with the management of reference to persons and objects in the world (Schegloff, 2006).

Other organizations of practices address more broadly social dimensions of interaction: a substantial number of practices are associated with the management of ties of social solidarity and affiliation between persons, favoring their maintenance and militating against their destruction; yet others are associated with the management of epistemic rights to knowledge between persons which is an important dimension of personal identity (Heritage, 2008).

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Schegloff, E.A. (2006). Interaction: The infrastructure for social institutions, the natural ecological niche for language and the arena in which culture is enacted. In: Enfield N.J., Levinson S.C.,Ed, The Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition and Interaction. New York: Berg, 70-96.
Heritage, John. 2008. Conversation Analysis as Social Theory. In Bryan Turner (Ed), The New Blackwell Companion to Social Theory. Oxford, Blackwell.