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Dialogic withs in the assemblage of face-to-face interactions

3.5 Unit of analysis: historicity, context, and levels of analytic scale
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
1:30 PM, Thursday 31 Aug 2017 (30 minutes)
Hengst first sketches out the theoretical frameworks for expanding Goffman’s notion of withs to the traversals that pairs and groups trace across time, space, activities, and settings. Theoretically, attending to such traversals is central to any account of the historical dialogic processes necessary to understand transposition of indexical grounds (Hanks, 1990), semiotic remediation (Prior & Hengst, 2010), reported speech (Voloshinov, 1973), conversational narratives (Ochs & Capps, 2001), handing practices (Scollon, 2001), shadow conversations (Irvine, 1996), and a host of other communicative practices. In this paper, she focuses on trajectories of proximal and distal withs that are assembled and laminated (Latour, 1999; Prior & Schaffner, 2011) in face-to-face interactions and that interlocutors align with and around (the moment to moment work “to meet whatever occurs by sustaining or changing footing” [Goffman, 1981 p. 325]). In each moment then, a durable dimension of activity is reading and constructing withs (not just other object-oriented activities). Within social situations and among gatherings, people are fluidly navigating layers of overlapping alignments within production formats, participation frameworks, and interaction orders. Attending to the dialogic effects of chains of action and chains of semiotics requires close attention to the historical depths of these temporal interaction orders, to the historically situated sense that infuses any interaction (see Hengst, 2010). Analytically then, we should attend to the multiple temporal cycles/scales (Lemke, 2000; Scollon and Scollon, 2004) implicated in the dialogic itineraries of expanded withs. In the turn-taking time frame of face-to-face interactions, we can trace the immediate and shifting alignments among people as they negotiate talk. At the scale of repeated interactions across hours, days, weeks and years, we can trace the evolving social relations that people build over time and carry with them from one encounter to the next. Such temporally durable withs provide a rich history of interactions that can be drawn on in moments of talk. Finally, focusing on broader/longer cultural frames provides ways of tracing culturally recognized and valued (whether positively or negatively) social relationships and identities—e.g., spouses, parent-child; best friends; co-workers; teacher-student; jailer-prisoner; boss-employee; personal aideperson with a disability. Durable withs then are resources for (re)assemblage of social relations, action, and meaning-making in face-to-face interactions. Hengst illustrates this analytic approach through published examples from situated studies of everyday communicative practices of durable withs where one participant has been diagnosed with a communication disorder: on collaborative referencing (Hengst, 2003, 2006); on narrating lives (Hengst, 2010), and on communicative and activity brokering for adults with cerebral palsy (Hengst et al., 2016). 
University of Illinois
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