Panel at the 17th International Pragmatics Conference (IPrA)

Winterthur, Switzerland. June 27th-July 2nd, 2021.

The Smart Communication team (Florence Oloff, Iuliia Avgustis, Samira Ibnelkaïd, Joonas Råman) will organise a panel “Technology use in social interaction: enabling vs. constraining participation” at the 17th International Pragmatics Conference (IPrA) (Winterthur, Switzerland, June 27th-July 2nd, 2021).


While notions such as artificial intelligence, social robotics or virtual reality are making the headlines and predict new ways of living and communicating, our daily lives are already closely entwined with mundane technologies in less spectacular and often unnoticed ways. This panel aims at investigating how ordinary technologies such as laptops, smartphones, tablets, smart speakers and other touch- or voice-based interfaces are used in social interaction, either as a means for enhancing joint, multimodal action or as a tool that possibly hampers participation. Within socio-linguistic and discursive approaches, research on new communication technologies has a long-standing focus on remote interactions and new forms of texts, images or their combinations (e.g. online communication, identities or discourses) but has scarcely acknowledged the role of mundane technologies with respect to multimodal, embodied social practices in co-presence. More recently however, a growing interest has been recorded within qualitative and interactionally oriented research approaches regarding the topic of humans interacting with and via computers/machines, especially so with respect to ubiquitous communication technologies used in everyday social encounters. This research has shown that – while technology-related activities in face-to-face settings can impact on the participants’ availability for others (e.g. Mantere/Raudaskoski 2017) – participants nonetheless skillfully and accountably manage their dual involvement with co-present and remote interlocutors or with on- and offscreen activities (e.g. Aarsand & Melander Bowden 2019, Brown et al. 2015, Porcheron et al. 2016). Micro-analytic approaches reveal the interactional work participants engage in for establishing these new forms of co-presence and joint involvement (e.g. while using smartphones, İkizoğlu 2019, Raclaw et al. 2016, or voice interfaces, Porcheron et al. 2018, in video calls, Gan et al. 2020, Licoppe/Morel 2012, or while video gaming, Piirainen-Marsh 2012, Tekin/Reeves 2017).

This panel aims at uniting researchers from an interdisciplinary field (e.g. Conversation Analysis, Multimodal Analysis, Phenomenology, Ethnography, Human-Computer-Interaction, Information and Communication Sciences, etc.) who study technology use through video recordings of naturally occurring, non-experimental settings and who are interested in the way everyday technologies and screens are integrated in linguistic and social practices in face-to-face encounters. More specifically, the panel will consider how technology use is linked to participation (Goffman 1981, Goodwin, 1981, 2000), i.e. how the presence and use of technology can constrain or enable participation in social interaction, and how this possibly relates to different levels of technological and digital skills. Contributions to this panel will either take into account specific groups of participants (e.g. younger people, elderly citizens, migrant workers, participants concerned by communication impairment, etc.) or specific tasks and activities within a given mundane, artistic, institutional or professional setting (e.g. playing, co-creating, decision-making, accomplishing administrative tasks, sharing and obtaining information etc.). Through fine-grained analyses of sociality with and around everyday technologies in various settings, the research presented in this panel will also advance our understanding of digital literacy, or more accurately, of “technobodily literacy”, as a multisensorial and situated practice.

Call for Papers: 

Abstracts of 250-500 words need to be submitted by October 25, 2020 via the IPrA submission system (see for full submission instructions). If you are interested in participating in this panel (and prior to submitting your abstract), please contact the panel organisers (florence.oloff AT well before the October 25 deadline.


Aarsand, P., & Melander Bowden, H. (2019). Digital literacy practices in children’s everyday life: Participating in on-screen and off-screen activities. In O. Erstad, R. Flewitt, B. Kümmerling-Meibauer, & I. S. Peres Pereira (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Digital Literacies in Early Childhood, (pp. 377-390). London: Routledge.

Brown, B., McGregor, M., & McMillan, D. (2015). Searchable Objects: Search in Everyday Conversation. Paper presented at the CWSW 2015, Vancouver.

Gan, Y., Greiffenhagen, C., & Reeves, S. (2020). Connecting Distributed Families: Camera Work for Three-Party Mobile Video Calls. Paper presented at the CHI 2020 (April 25–30, 2020), Honolulu.

Goffman, E. (1981). Forms of Talk. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Goodwin, C. (1981). Conversational Organization. Interaction between Speakers and Hearers. New York: Academic Press.

Goodwin, C. (2000). Action and embodiment within situated human interaction. Journal of Pragmatics., 32, 1489-1522.

İkizoğlu, D. (2019). “What did it say?”: Mobile phone translation app as participant and object in family discourse. Journal of Pragmatics, 147, 1-16.

Licoppe, C., & Morel, J. (2012). Video-in-Interaction: “Talking Heads” and the Multimodal Organization of Mobile and Skype Video Calls. Research on Language & Social Interaction, 45(4), 399-429.

Mantere, E., & Raudaskoski, S. (2017). The sticky media device. In A. R. Lahikainen, T. Mälkiä, & K. Repo (Eds.), Media, Family Interaction and the Digitalization of Childhood (pp. 135-154). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Piirainen-Marsh, A. (2012). Resources for organising action in videogame-playing activities. In R. Ayass & C. Gerhardt (Eds.), The appropriation of media in everyday life. What people do with media (pp. 197-230). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Porcheron, M., Fischer, J. E., & Sharples, S. (2016). Using Mobile Phones in Pub Talk. Paper presented at the CSWC’ 16 – Proceedings of the 19th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing, San Francisco, CA.

Porcheron, M., Fischer, J. E., & Sharples, S. (2018). Voice Interfaces in Everyday Life. Paper presented at the CHI 2018, April 21–26, 2018, Montréal, QC, Canada.

Raclaw, J., Robles, J. S., & DiDomenico, S. M. (2016). Providing Epistemic Support for Assessments Through Mobile-Supported Sharing Activities. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 49(4), 362-379.

Tekin, B. S., & Reeves, S. (2017). Ways of spectating: Unravelling spectator participation in Kinect play. Paper presented at the CHI 2017, Denver, CO, USA (May 06 – 11, 2017)