Plenary talk by Lorenza Mondada

Lorenza Mondada | University of Basel & University of Helsinki

Lorenza Mondada is Professor of General and French Linguistics at the University of Basel and Distinguished Professor at The Finnish Centre of Excellence in Interaction in Intersubjectivity at the University of Helsinki.  She has published widely about embodied conduct in interaction, especially about the relation between language, embodiment, space and mobility.  Her research material is collected in a wide array of different settings inside and outside of institutions and workplaces where people speak a multitude of languages.  She has done prominent research on surgeons, architects, of people walking in the street – or debating in participatory democracy meetings.  Lorenza Mondada was awarded an honorary doctorate of the University of Southern Denmark in 2013.

Interacting bodies in material environments: challenges for reconsidering temporality and sequentiality
This paper deals with issues raised by multimodal studies in conversation analysis and ethnomethodology. More particularly, it focuses on the way participants mobilize a diversity of relevant resources (which might be locally defined and circumscribed, depending on the ecology of the activity) to achieve the accountable organization of their actions. This shows the importance for the analyst of not only focusing on a well known subset of resources – such as language, gesture and gaze – but to consider what members do within the embodied organization of their conduct, possibly mobilizing the entire body, as well as its position in the environment and its manipulation of objects, artifacts, and tools. Thinking about multimodal resources in a holistic way – namely including a multiplicity of details concerning different parts of the body and their coordination within and among co-participants – raises interesting challenges for sequential analysis. It implies a conceptualization of time, including simultaneously and successively ordered practices, and more specifically emergent not-isochronic but yet finely coordinated simultaneous modalities and actions. It implies also a fine analysis of the co-participants’ mutual orientations taking into account, often in a seen but unnoticed way, but sometimes also in a clearly perceived and even explicitely displayed manner, each other’s detailed embodied actions. The talk addresses these issues by analyzing various activities that mobilize the entire body, with special attention for mobility settings, implying walking and other movements of the bodies within space.