The Multimodal Accomplishment of Body Control in a Cognitive Laboratory

By Nils Klowait and Maria Erofeeva.

The embodied turn in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis (EMCA) (Goodwin, 2000; Mondada, 2016; Nevile, 2015) in many ways coincided with the material turn: with a greater focus on the interactional ecology came a renewed interest in the role taken by the material environment (Nevile, Haddington, Heinemann, & Rauniomaa, 2014). The way non-human entities may come into play during human interaction currently evolves in multiple branches, some of which are further or closer to the general concerns of EMCA. Put on an ontological gradient, objects may play the role of context, props, resource spaces, parts of the public substrate (Goodwin, 2018), sets of discrete affordances (Hutchby, 2001) and, finally, as autonomous interactants (Cooren, 2004; Latour, 1996).

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Producing a smiling face in photography studio

Negotiation of poses in photography studio is an important process for photo taking. In order to produce a desirable photo, photographers and clients engage in artful practices in calibrating body postures (e.g. Tekin, 2017). Tekin showed that the skilful coordination between the photographer and the clients involves considerable interactional work, including linguistic and embodied resources as well as spatial adjustment in the studio. In fact, apart from posing, another important aspect in the photo-making process is to produce an appropriate facial expression (e.g. smiling face, serious face, joking face, excitement face). Perhaps because smile is often preserved as a positive expression of feelings, such as happiness (Nettle, 2005), affiliation and appreciation in interactions (Peräkylä & Sorjonen, 2012), a very frequent practice in a photographic studio is to instruct and help the client to “produce a smiling face”.

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