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Touch as social control: Haptic organization of attention in adult-child interactions
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4580-3002
2016 (English)In: Journal of Pragmatics, ISSN 0378-2166, E-ISSN 1879-1387, Vol. 92, 30-42 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

This study examines the interactional organization of sustained (temporally extended) control touch, deployed in adult child encounters in Swedish primary school and family settings. The detailed analysis shows that sustained touches are employed by adults to manage and monitor childrens participation, usually calling for appropriate displays of attention to particular activities. Sustained touch sets the evolving limits on the childs postural orientation and movements by establishing a sensorial, corporeal contact and is instrumental in arranging the childs bodily positioning into a particular participation framework. Retrospectively, it orients to the child recipients inattentiveness and inappropriate participation. Prospectively, it solicits and sustains the childs coordinated and attentive participation in activities that constitute a state of talk, e.g. interactionally big packages (Sacks, 1995), i.e., adults extended instructions or disciplining. In multi-tasking situations, sustained touch works to manage the multiple overlapping participation frameworks. The adult, already engaged in a talk-based activity, constrains the touch recipients conversational contribution, or puts it on hold, using sustained touch as a prosthetic resource to signal her/his prospective attention. In all, the interactional analysis of interpersonal touch shows how the situational conditions, social roles and relations inform and shape body behavior. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV , 2016. Vol. 92, 30-42 p.
Keyword [en]
Touch; Adult-child interactions; Social control; Attention; Embodiment
National Category
Other Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-126144DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2015.11.003ISI: 000370090100003OAI: diva2:912004

Funding Agencies|Swedish Research Council

Available from: 2016-03-15 Created: 2016-03-15 Last updated: 2016-06-17

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The full text will be freely available from 2019-01-01 12:59
Available from 2019-01-01 12:59

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Cekaite, Asta
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