What is CA?

Conversation analysis was pioneered by Harvey Sacks in the early 1970s, and his work was continued by Emanuel Schegloff and Gail Jefferson. In his pioneering work, Sacks noted that there is an underlying organisation in the way interaction unfolds on a turn-by-turn basis. It was the turn-taking nature of conversation that was of primary interest.

Conversation analysis gives attention to detail in naturally occurring activities and analyses mundane and institutional talk as a systematic and organised phenomenon. Thus, conversation analysis is the study of talk-in-interaction. Conversation analysis, in recent times, has developed an interest in institutional talk and has a lot to offer in terms of how we understand institutions.

Our answer to this question is based on materials found in the book by Robin Wooffitt. You may find this to be a useful reference:

  • Wooffitt, R. (2005). Conversation Analysis and Discourse Analysis: A Comparative and Critical Introduction. London: SAGE Publications.

Other useful references for conversation analysis include:

  • Antaki, C. (2011). Applied Conversation Analysis: Intervention and Change in Institutional Talk. Hampshire: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Hutchby, I. and Wooffitt, R. (2008). Conversation Analysis (Second Edition). Oxford: Blackwell  Publishers.
  • Sacks, H. (1992). Lectures on Conversation (Vols. I & II, edited by G. Jefferson). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

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