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Enacting culture through conversational repair


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Associate Professor Galina Bolden of Rutgers University

Will speak on

Enacting culture through conversational repair

Date: Thursday 19 April 2018
Time: 12 noon
Venue: SU217 2nd floor Student Union Building (please note the location as it is not our usual setting)


While it is widely accepted that culture is constituted through interaction, we know comparatively little about the specific practices through which this occurs. Drawing on data from field video recordings of everyday interactions in Russian American immigrant families, this talk explores “intercultural moments” in conversation – moments during which asymmetries in participants’ linguistic and cultural competencies become visible. Using the methodology of Conversation Analysis, I focus on sequences of interaction in which participants deal with understanding problems via conversational repair. I show how, in the course of resolving ostensible understanding difficulties, conversationalists constitute and sometimes contest their identities as cultural and language experts and novices, thereby rendering visible interactional practices through which culture is constituted. In doing so, I explore how displays of knowledge and expertise are deployed as interactional resources. Overall, this research aims to re-specify the concept of “intercultural communication” as something participants “talk into being” in the course of doing things together.