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The interactional organization of touch and the recognisability of embodied action

University of Gothenburg, January 30-31, 2014
Organized by NAIL and LinCS-lab

Video records have for a long time been used to study the organization of embodied actions. The focus of this research is often the interplay between verbal and visual resources, such as the coordination of talk and gesture. As noted by Streeck (2013, p.69), "naturalistic research on human interaction has primarily conceived the human body and its movements in visual terms" At the same time, "there are aspects to embodied interaction and meaning that are not accessible to vision and videography" (ibid.). While it is possible to see how touch is used to accomplish various activities, the analytical access to tactile sensations and feelings are restricted. In relation to this, one could argue that these are not restrictions of research "so much as characteristics of embodied
knowledge and understanding." (Crossley, 2007, p. 87). How touch, tactility and embodied actions are to be understood - in terms of, for instance, feelings, thoughts or professional conduct - are central concerns for members of various settings. There is a multitude of activities where haptic, kinaesthetic or proprioceptive sensations play an important role. In some of these, the sensations become explicitly topicalized as objects of instruction, interpretation or concern.


Through a mix of empirical and theoretical presentations, this small workshop addresses:

a) how touch is socially, practically and instructionally organized and b) the recognisability of embodied actions - for instance, how touch can be seen in terms of thoughts, feelings and professional conduct. Each presentation will be given one hour. The aim is to have total of about 20 participants.

Thursday, Department of Education, A1 338
13.00-13.30 Introduction
13.30-15.00 Oskar Lindwall & Anna Ekström "Touch and tactility in instructive demonstrations: Examples from dentistry and handicraft"
15.30-17.30 Ricardo Nemirovsky: ”Touching the infinite” and ”Touching depth”
18.30 Dinner

Friday, Department of Education, BE 026
8.30-9.30 Jonas Ivarsson "Learning to do the Ollie: Instruction and bodily experience with a skateboard"
9.45-10.45 Asta Cekaite "Embodied directive sequences: Timing and coordination of talk and touch"
11.00-12.00 Mats Andrén "Lack of vision and visibility as a members concern: Considerations of the interaction between a sighted child and a blind mother"
13.00-14.30 Discussion introduced by Jürgen Streeck

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