Gonen Dori-Hacohen, University of Massachusetts Amherst

The following is a synopsis of an interview (conducted by Todd Sandel) with Gonen in June, 2012, while attending the “Ethnography of Communication: Ways Forward” Conference, in Omaha, Nebraska at Creighton University. To listen to the audio of this interview click the play button below.


  • Can you tell me a little about yourself? Where did you study, and what is your current position?

I studied at various places, Hebrew University with Shoshanna Blum-Kulka, at UCLA with Manny (Emanuel) Schegloff and John Heritage, and at the University of Haifa (PhD) with Tamar Katriel and Yael Maschler. Currently I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

  • What piece was inspirational to you as an LSI scholar and researcher?

The first was William Labov’s (1972) narrative structure (The Transformation of Experience in Narrative Syntax) and it was a systematic look at narrative and everyday talk. The goal behind it was to promote social justice. So this showed me what can be done in research by closely looking at how people interact. Then Goffman. At UCLA I read his early works, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life and Asylums, which is a disturbing book. And then if there is one piece everyone in communication should read it is Footing, a brilliant piece, a comprehensive paper that every time you read it you find something new.

  • What questions you are currently exploring?

I am interested in studying talk, culture, and politics. So how do we use talk? And how do we use interaction to construct political life? Do they use it to promote democracy? Or to just express frustration? And what does the interaction mean to these structures? How do we go from the micro interaction to the macro political?

  • What do you see are ways forward for you personally, or LSI scholarship in general?

I’ve done work in Israel and I’m now in the United States. We can move forward by comparing these two cultures and doing LSI in an intercultural way. We can also look through the lenses of micro perspective and political participation. I’m in between media and LSI studies, “LSI in the media,” which is something I think we need to do in Communication Departments. These are ways forward.

Website: http://www.umass.edu/communication/people/profile/gonen-dori-hacohen