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October 2021

Remarks on the description and interpretation of dialogue

Journal/Book: Int Sociol. 1999; 14: 6 Bonhill Street, London EC2a 4Pu, England. Sage Publications Ltd. 387-402.

Abstract: An elementary difficulty with the analysis of ephemeral communicative processes - as of all social interaction - is their transformation into data (into 'texts'). Audio- and video-recording technologies are a presupposition - and no more - for the solution of this difficulty. Contextual problems of interpretation encountered in the analysis of the products of certain kinds of communicative interaction, texts, are compounded when dealing with the interactive, situational and social contexts of dialogical 'texts'. The ontological assumptions underlying the analysis of texts and 'texts' (the realism of common sense and the realism of science) have methodological implications among which one in particular, pertaining especially to 'texts', will be discussed, the need for the reconstruction of the intersubjective step-by-step nature of dialogue in the form of sequential analysis. The reconstruction of dialogue must be able to account for the reciprocally oriented perspectives guiding the communicative actions of the participants in dialogical time, in addition to meeting the requirements of such analysis, the main issues arising from that are analogous to those which beset the interpretation of texts: how can one identify the 'units' of meaning and how can one locate their embeddedness in multiple (biographical and institutional) lines of significance. The possibilities of a sequential reconstruction of 'texts' in contexts will be discussed.

Note: Article Luckmann T, Univ Constance, Sozialwissenschaftliche Fak, Dept Sociol, Univ Str 10, Postfach 5560 D32, D-78434 Constance, GERMANY

Keyword(s): analysis; communicative interaction; reconstruction of meaning; social interaction

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