By Igor Mascarenhas, Márcio Reis, & Roberto Perobelli
This conference report is about the 3rd EnACE (Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis Conference) that took place online between 13 – 15th October 2021 in Vitória, a city in the Brazilian State of Espírito Santo. Coordinated by Roberto Perobelli (Professor at Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, UFES), the group named GLIE (Grupo Linguagem Interação e Etnometodologia) was the responsible for the organization of the event.
Participating in an online conference
The event was planned, at first, to be on site in May 2020, but due to the coronavirus pandemic the conference was held completely online, following what is happening to any other conferences around the world. As many as 90 participants between listeners and presenters were hosted and had the opportunity to contribute to the discussions, once the online chat and opportunities to speak out were available (and actively used) throughout.
How to approach EnACE in a pandemic environment
It was important to have such a well organized event, as this is the most prominent conference for talk-in-interaction studies in Brazil since 2017. Following the program, it was easy to be in touch with some of the researchers of the area who, in a very comprehensive way, shared with us the studies that are in course in the groups that they are part of.
It is important to point out that the online platform chosen by the organizers allowed the participants to attend panels and talks within the EMCA field that were related to their area of interest, and e-mails were sent before the beginning of each talk with the link for participantsto log in.
One advantage of online conferences is the low cost, with low fees that makes it easy for everyone to participate, and also the time saved, as traveling is not mandatory for the participation. In fact, the schedule was planned, with two-or-three-hour breaks in between some of the sessions, allowing for some coffee or staying away from the computer for a while.
The monitors played an important role in this event, giving directions for those who were in need and, in a really respectful way, telling the presenters that their time was finishing and helping attendees to have as good an experience as it is possible in an online event prepared for non-internet experts.
None of this, however, replaces the face-to-face meeting, and we are well aware of it, but the event tried to minimize the consequences of not having a meeting in physical presence as much as possible.
Talking about spaces and borders on Brazilian Conversation Analysis
The conference started on October 13th morning with Roberto Perobelli presenting a review of what happened in the last two editions. The first, held in Porto Alegre, launched the idea of a systematic meeting of Brazilian researchers about Conversation Analysis, while the second, based in Rio de Janeiro, made the link between the origins to the future of this research policy in Brazil. The third edition of EnACE in turn brought the theme “Spaces and Borders” to open a discussion about what is already approached and what can still be subject to a deeper debate in the Brazilian context.
In the first activity of the Conference we had Paulo Cortes Gago (Professor at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, UFRJ) talking about “Responses to claim in interviews of pre-mediation and professional dilemma”. He discussed his work in the past years and shared some insightful experiences on how CA wasapplied in the mediation field in Rio de Janeiro.
Besides Professor Gago, we had Daniela Negraes P. Andrade (Professor at UNISINOS) with her talk “(Un)explored spaces: possibilities of action and transformation by/in CA”. Professor Negraes shared her journey as a researcher in Brazil and talked about her struggles and achievements along the way. We had an opportunity to discuss how urgent it is to have public policies that support researchers to occupy other spaces beyond academia.
On the second day of the congress,we had the researcher Paola Guimaraens Salimen (Instituto Singularidades/ PUC-SP) talking about “Training of Teacher-Researchers in Bi/Multilingual Education and Conversation Analysis: Borders, Dialogues, Concessions and Possibilities”. In her talk, she showed a dilemma that concerns the desire to carry out research in CA directly related to teacher education and the difficulties that this research poses, given the complexity of the basic readings of this theoretical framework, the absence of disciplines where such readings are carried out, and the deadline for the development of research.
Fábio Ferraz de Almeida (Jyväskylä University) also presented on the second day, his talk “Law-in- (inter)action: analysis of conversation in legal contexts”, made a review of the literature on analysis of conversation in legal contexts, from the seminal study ‘Order in Court: The Organization of Verbal Interaction in Judicial Settings’ (Atkinson & Drew, 1979). He described the limitations and possible ways, inspired in an action-centered perspective, to deal with the turn-taking system in courtroom interaction.
Works presented at the Conference
Over the three days of the event we had 24 works presented. That was the opportunity to discuss and share what we have been doing on Conversation Analysis and Ethnomethodology from many parts of Brazil, especially Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, São Paulo and Bahia. Besides that, we also had one work from Finland and another from Portugal.
During our conference we had works about some core contexts, many of them discussed in Brazil here “Conversation Analysis has been practiced in Brazil mostly within Applied Linguistics” (Ostermann and Garcez, 2021, p. 143), from language education or educational settings to health and legal settings. We had an opportunity to share ideas about different perspectives of CA in Brazil and discuss how to fill in the numerous blanks still existing in this field in Brazil. It was, without a doubt, a great space to share current work and discuss with other researchers in the same area.
Thinking about the next turn or talking about the future of EnACE
On the last day of the Conference, Brazilian researchers from different universities got together in a last activity to discuss the future of EnACe and the next steps of Brazilian CA. Throughout the discussions, it was pointed out the difficulty of reaching out to the public outside of academia and also to get involved in other fields. Still arguing about the topic, it was debated on how to get more students involved and interested in doing CA in Brazil.
It was through this debate that the Brazilian CA community started the discussion on how our conference was situated within the social sciences in Brazil and how the next editions of the conference could be presented in a way that opened up the doors to different perspectives of sequence interaction analysis.
The conference finished with a beautiful moment of thanking all those who participated and helped on the making of the conference and with an open debate on who would be the next researcher and group to be responsible for the next edition. We had Professor Fernanda Cruz (from Universidade Federal de São Paulo, UNIFESP) applying for it. After a few moments of discussion it was decided then that the 4th EnACE will be held in São Paulo in 2023
Ostermann, A. C., & Garcez, P. M. (2021). Conversation Analysis in Brazil and talk-in-interaction in Portuguese. Calidoscópio, 19(2), 143–151. https://doi.org/10.4013/cld.2021.192.00
J. Maxwell Atkinson, Paul Drew, (1979). Order in Court: The Organisation of Verbal Interaction in Judicial Settings. London, Macmillan.