Nicolas Bencherki, University at Albany, State University of New York

Nicolas Bencherki, University at Albany, State University of New York

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University at Albany, State University of New York. After completing a joint PhD in Communication at the Université de Montréal and in Sociology of Action at Sciences Po Paris, I spent time as a postdoctoral fellow, first at the Center for the Sociology of Innovation at the Mines ParisTech, and then at NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s Department of Technology Management and Innovation. My intellectual approach is strongly influenced by STS, actor-network theory, and philosophical perspectives on creativity, innovation, and technology.

  • What one piece of writing was most inspirational to you as an LSI researcher?

John Heritage’s Garfinkel and Ethnomethodology was the book that introduced me to LSI and it had a profound influence on the way I understand my work as an analyst. However, when I need a practical refresher, I always turn to Anita Pomerantz and BJ Fehr’s chapter on conversation analysis in Teun Van Dijk’s 1997 edited book Discourse as Social Interaction. Another important intellectual influence for me is French philosopher Gilbert Simondon, whose work on the way beings are “individuated” deeply affected my view of the way people, technology and organizations alike are constituted through communication. I see a continuity between Simondon’s view of individuation and ethnomethodology’s commitment to the study real-life, situated interactions – a continuity that I continue to explore and attempt to formulate.

  • What question you are currently trying to explore? How?

My work centers on the concept of ‘possession,’ and I attempt to study the way people interactionally figure out what belongs to whom. In particular, when this interactional take on possession is applied to notions such as responsibility, tasks or actions, I believe that we can empirically observe the way membership and, more generally, organizational affiliation are accomplished as well as how authority, strategy and other core organizational processes are concretely performed. Drawing on a range of naturalistic interactional data including fieldwork at a community-based organization, I am trying to observe how possession and related concepts unfold in empirical situations.

Jessica Robles, University of Washington

Jessica Robles, University of Washington

I am a currently a lecturer in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington and will be starting a new position at Loughborough University in the fall. I received my PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since graduating I taught for a couple years at the University of New Hampshire before coming to Seattle.

 

  • What LSI pieces of writing have inspirational to you as a researcher?

I have been inspired by work that I don’t necessarily cite much (e.g., Michel Foucault, Kenneth Burke) as well as work that is foundational to a lot of my thinking (e.g., Mikhail Bakhtin, Harvey Sacks, Erving Goffman). The first chapter of Goffman’s “Frame Analysis” is still one of my favorite things to read. When it comes to contemporary LSI research, Bob Craig’s 1999 “communication theory as a field” paper blew me away—I still have my printed-out charts comparing theoretical traditions, which I keep on the wall in my office—and Karen Tracy’s 2008 “reasonable hostility” article was, for me, the perfect model for how to do work that is empirical, theoretical, and practical. As a graduate student I printed a tiny booklet version of the piece, which I used to carry around in my purse.

 

  • What research questions you are currently exploring?

My interest in how morality is interactionally (and multi-modally) constructed continues to inform all of my research, from the micro-level of how interlocutors make themselves intelligible and negotiate accountability, to the moral work of disagreement, conflict, and trouble in practices such as gossip, stories, categorization, assessment, and quotation. My theorization of the relationship of morality to difference in my dissertation has led me toward considering identity and cultural differences in ways I scarcely anticipated. For example, my most recent publication examined responses to racist comments in ordinary conversation, and one paper I’m working on at the moment deals with resistances to gender categorization.

Brion van Over, Manchester Community College

Brion van Over, Manchester Community College

I am currently an Assistant Professor in the department of communication at Manchester Community College in Manchester, CT. I finished my PhD in May 2012 at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. While attending UMass I worked most closely with Dr. Donal Carbaugh, my advisor and chair of my dissertation committee, as well as Dr. Benjamin Bailey, though there were many great faculty there I was privileged to learn from. Prior to that I completed an MA at SUNY Albany where I worked closely with Dr. Robert Sanders and Dr. Anita Pomerantz. These would be the roots of my intellectual family-tree.

  • What LSI pieces of writing have inspirational to you as a researcher?

There are a number that I think, taken together, inform the questions I ask and the way I approach my work. Certainly, Goffman’s Presentation of Self in Everday Life, Kenneth Burke’s Permanence and Change, Sacks, Schegloff & Jefferson’s Simplest Systematics for the Organization of Turn-Taking, Keith Basso’s Wisdom Sits in Places, Gerry Philipsen’s Speaking Culturally, and Donal Carbaugh’s Talking American. They each make a distinctive and invaluable contribution from my view.

  • What research questions you are currently exploring?

One of the things I’m working on pursues some questions I proposed during my dissertation work surrounding the inexpressible. As communication scholars we spend a lot of time thinking about what people say, what people don’t say, silence, and norms/rules that may prohibit or proscribe particular speech with varying intensity. What we haven’t generally dealt with is the mess in between — the struggle to say the things people claim unsayable. This is distinct from things that aren’t said because they must not be (normative prohibition), and those things not said because no word is claimed to exist in a particular language, and goes to the feeling that interlocutors have that certain things just CAN’T be said. The verbal channel simply can’t be made to do that work. I find that fascinating and want to understand what’s going on here from an LSI perspective as most of the work done on this has happened in philosophy of language, or religious studies and I think our theories and methods can be very generative and responsive to the study of this phenomenon. In pursuit of this, I make use of the Ethnography of Communication, Cultural Discourse Analysis and Conversation Analysis. I did some work on this in my dissertation and would like to continue it with more cross-cultural comparative studies, as I believe this phenomenon has some deep cultural roots.

I’m also working through a bunch of data Donal Carbaugh, Elizabeth Molina-Markham, Sunny Lie and I collected, with funding from GM, of people interacting with in-car infotainment systems. We also believe this to be done in deeply cultural ways and want to understand how particular cultural communities constitute the car as an interactional partner, and what sorts of cultural premises might inform the way interactants produce and interpret their interactions with the system.

  • What do you see as ways forward for you personally and/or professionally (e.g., what are your current goals/aspirations)? What do you see as the future of LSI research?

In terms of my research, I’ve never been committed to a particular topic or phenomenon so it’s sometimes hard to know what interesting bit of human social life will draw my eye next. This is only possible because the theories and methods I have been introduced to while working in LSI give me the confidence that I have the necessary resources to investigate any social phenomenon from firm footing. I think for LSI to remain relevant and useful we’re going to have to break down some of the divisions that have historically weakened us. This might include a less contentious approach to working with new media and digital communities, as well as a happier integration between close analyses of conversational data and cultural contexts in which those conversations occur. This is not to say that there aren’t folks who haven’t already struck out in these directions. In general, I think LSI has a lot of opportunity to grow and new directions to pursue.

Website: http://www.brionvanover.com

Hsin-I Sydney Yueh, Northeastern State University

Hsin-I Sydney Yueh, Northeastern State University

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Northeastern State University. I received my PhD from the University of Iowa in 2012. My advisor was Kristine Muñoz.

  • What LSI pieces of writing have inspirational to you as a researcher?

I switched my research focus from media to language and culture in my second year of graduate study. Donal Carbaugh’s “Fifty Terms for Talk” was the first article my advisor introduced to me and led me to the LSI field. It inspired me to look for native terms and to develop my research on the sajiao culture in Taiwan. Kristine Muñoz’s “Cultural Persuadables” was another article that played a key role in the last stage of my dissertation writing. This piece ignited ideas that helped me re-examine the concepts of culture and articulate various discourses of the native term to explore the relationship between language and communication.

  • What research questions you are currently exploring?

The sajiao culture that I have studied is a form of persuasion that relies on a passive and dependent gesture. Continuing in the same vein, I am interested in public apologies performed by politicians, sports players, and celebrities in televised press conferences in Taiwan. Instead of a solemn, deliberate manuscript speech, those public figures tend to apologize for their misdeeds with tears, sobs, and wails. I would like to analyze the elements of this ritualized apology and explore the symbolic meanings of this performance in the given society by transcribing and analyzing press conference clips collected in the past five years in which a public figure was involved to give an apologizing speech (performance).

Website: http://www.nsuok.edu/directory/profile/yueh.aspx

Mark Ward, University of Huston-Victoria

Mark Ward, University of Huston-Victoria

The following is a synopsis of an interview (conducted by Todd Sandel) with Mark 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 did my PhD at Clemson University and completed it in 2010. Today I am an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Houston-Victoria.

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

As a new master’s degree student I read Philipsen’s “Speaking like a man in Teamsterville.” I come from an Evangelical Christian background and hear many speech codes, and I said, “This explains about stuff that I’ve always wondered about.” The other thing that inspires me is that he [Philipsen] fell into his work by accident. He was hired as a youth worker and, observing what was happening around him, took a risk and applied a new research paradigm. For me, my opportunity for field work also happened serendipitously. I then realized the possibilities. So it was not only his theory that helped me, but also the way he serendipitously discovered an area of research that inspired me.

  • What questions you are currently exploring?

I study Evangelical faith communities. I did four years of participant-observation, covering about 200 Evangelical churches in 17 states, and became a participant-observer in about 250 worship services. I began looking for speech codes, but realized that was only part of the story. The preachers’ rhetoric was also important, driving sources of persuasion. Also, the organization is important. So I’m looking at it as a collective, like a sociologist does, with a micro level of small group interactions, a meso level where the community gets things done, and a macro level where there are structuration processes. So the question is: How do the micro, meso, and macro level processes tie together?

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

Since I’ve been describing a system, a next step is to compare it with other systems. Since I also identify with scholars who study Religious Communication, I’m interested in interfaith dialogue and comparative religious studies. LSI scholarship can help me understand how different communities of faith can communicate together. Another question is to look at Evangelicalism as dispersed broadly, as a community of practice. Thus I’m interested in how this group ties together and creates a distinct culture across diverse sites. Finally, my dissertation research was not on this topic, but looked historically at how Nazi Germany organized genocide. LSI scholarship can help us better understand the past, how codes and communities led to such actions. Finally, at this [Ethnography of Communication: Ways Forward] conference, the paper I am presenting asks how to not only describe cultures, but also prescribe how communities can create better understanding.

Website: http://www.uhv.edu/asa/494_313733.htm

Patricia O. Covarrubias, University of New Mexico

Patricia O. Covarrubias, University of New Mexico

The following is a synopsis of an interview (conducted by Todd Sandel) with Saila 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 got my PhD from the University of Washington in 1999. I went to UW to study under Gerry Philipsen. Prior to my studies there I worked in private industry. Currently I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication * Journalism at the University of New Mexico. My teaching areas include intercultural communication, cultural communication, and qualitative research methods as influenced by the Ethnography of Communication.

 

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

It was Philipsen’s “Speaking like a Man in Teamsterville.” I read it prior to my doctoral studies, while working as a consultant in communication and facing problems related to culture and communication. At that time another person recommended that I read this piece and study under Philipsen. As a Native Mexican, I felt that if I had known these things earlier, as an immigrant, it would have made that journey easier.

 

  • What questions you are currently exploring?

I have been studying, particularly Native American silence, and studied it as a creative process, the positive aspects of silence. I would like to continue to work in that vein, to see silence as a means of resistance, particularly in mind of the work of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta and the marches they were involved with. I have spoken with Chavez who is one of the co-founders of the United Farmworkers Union. Silence was a form of resistance and prayer and very important to the founding of the UFW.

 

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

We should be looking at different channels of communication. In the past our focus has been on spoken forms; for the future we should look at others, such as silence, dance, food, and space from an ethnographic perspective. Furthermore, the internet has given us a new way of perception. I am personally interested in food and sound and dance as ethnographic expressions.

Website: http://www.unm.edu/~cjdept/department/profiles/covarrubias.html

Saila Poutiainen, University of Helsinki, Finland

Saila Poutiainen, University of Helsinki, Finland

The following is a synopsis of an interview (conducted by Todd Sandel) with Saila 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 both in Finland and the United States. I have a master’s degree in Speech Communication from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. In the early 90s I met Donal Carbaugh in Finland. After studying traditional intercultural communication in Finland, the way he studied from an LSI perspective made sense. Thus I went to the University of Massachusetts Amherst where I completed the PhD and wrote a dissertation, “Finnish Cultural Discourses about Mobile Phone Communication” (2007). While writing the dissertation I was working at the University of Helsinki, which is my current position. I am one of two faculty who teach speech communication at the BA and MA levels.

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

The only time I have cried reading a piece of research, was when I read the prologue to Kristine Fitch’s (Muñoz) book Speaking Relationally (1999). It described relationships in ways I found interesting to study. My hope is that in the future, perhaps ten years, I will write something like that about Finnish communication.

  • What questions you are currently exploring?

I have much data from Finns talking about “summer cottage.” I’m hoping to combine that with my work on the mobile phone. In both cases they talk about “being in peace” which is a cultural term for being, implying certain ways of communicating and being with other people. I’m hoping to publish on that. Another is early work with colleagues on what a “close relationship” feels like with a person who has a memory illness. We have collected data in the US and Finland. It’s a big problem and I hope we can help people in that kind of situation.

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

I’m looking at this from a Finnish perspective, and see this as a missing perspective in Finland, and am bringing in this literature to studies of interpersonal and mediated communication.

Website: http://www.helsinki.fi/puhetieteet/henkilokunta/poutiainen/

Gonen Dori-Hacohen, University of Massachusetts Amherst

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

Daniel Chornet, Saint Louis University, Madrid

Daniel Chornet, Saint Louis University, Madrid

http://danielchornet.weebly.com/

The following is a synopsis of an interview (conducted by Todd Sandel) with Daniel 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 here: Daniel Chornet interview (mp3)

  • Where did you receive your degree?

I studied at the University of Iowa and completed my PhD in 2006.

  • What one piece of writing was most inspirational to you as an LSI researcher?

I am interested in anything about Speech Codes Theory. One inspirational piece is by Philipsen and Coutu (2005). (The ethnography of speaking. In Sanders, R. & Fitch, K. L. (Eds.), Handbook of research on language and social interaction (355-379). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.) I enjoy the abstraction of theory, and using theory as a heuristic to study discourse.

  • What question you are currently trying to explore? How?

I’m doing an analysis of terms of address in Spain, speech codes and the use of metacommunication, that is, in general, how Spaniards use terms of address. Findings will be presented at a paper to be delivered in Orlando, NCA 2012.
(To meet Daniel in person, attend his presentation on 11/15 3:30-4:45 pm, Swan, Mockingbird 1 – First Level, sponsored by LSI.)

  • What do you see as future steps for LSI research

I’m thinking about how ethnographic methods can be used to produce assessments that could be used by administrators and educators.

 

Alena L. Vasilyeva, Minsk State Linguistic University, Belarus

Alena L. Vasilyeva, Minsk State Linguistic University, Belarus

  • What one piece of writing was most inspirational to you as an LSI researcher?

It’s quite a challenge to single out only one inspirational piece of writing out of many outstanding ones. At different moments of my career as an LSI researcher, the ideas of Bakhtin, Sacks, Goffman, Jacobs and Jackson, just to name a few scholars, contributed to my intellectual growth and shaped the directions of my research. That’s why I decided to revisit my past and to remember the beginnings. I have a background in linguistics, so my journey into the world of LSI started with pragmatics and work of philosophers of language. Especially I was intrigued by the work of Grice (1975), one of the foundations of pragmatics. His theory of a cooperative principle and maxims of discourse made me interested in how people use language and motivated me to pursue my studies in the field of communication.

  • What question you are currently trying to explore? How?

My general research interests are argumentation, deliberation, conflict management, social identity, and the coordination of actions in personal and public contexts. My most recent work, that is, my dissertation, explored how deliberative activity is constructed within ongoing social conflict. The study examined mediator actions for keeping the disputants on task – that is, on negotiating plans about caring for their children. This focus enabled an empirical investigation of three interrelated theoretical interests: (1) how an institutionally preferred form of interactivity is constructed in the ongoing course of interaction, (2) the role of the mediator as an ostensible designer of communication activity, and (3) the relationship between interaction and reasoning. Currently, I continue this line of research by exploring the construction of disagreement space and disagreement management in multiparty deliberation.