Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Melvin Pollner Prize in Ethnomethodology 2013

The Pollner Prize Award Committee has announced the winner of the 2013 Pollner Prize.

Members of the committee are: Paul Drew (Loughborough University), John Heritage (Chair) (UCLA), Douglas Maynard (University of Wisconsin, Madison).

The recipient of the 2013 American Sociological Association’s EM/CA Section Pollner Prize is 

David R. Gibson, of the University of Notre Dame, for his book Talk at the Brink: Deliberation and Decision during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press (2012).

Here is the committee's letter:

"The committee received 3 nominations for this year’s award of the prize. In addition to David Gibson, Tim Berard was nominated for his article entitled Unpacking ‘Institutional Racism’ (published in the journal Schutzian Research); and Robert Garot was nominated for his book Who You Claim: Performing Gang Identity in School and on the Streets (NY: New York University Press, 2010).

The committee discussed each of these nominations in some detail, and agreed that any of the nominations would have been worthy of being awarded the prize. Berard’s article convincingly developed insights from Wittgenstein, Garfinkel, Schutz, Goffman and Sacks to “illuminate the pragmatic, moral reasoning at work in the institutional racism argument” – amounting to an insightful interrogation of the phenomenon of ‘institutional racism’. In Robert Garot’s monograph exploring the nature of gang identity and self-identity, we encountered a nuanced use of in-depth ethnographic interviews from which he provides a realistic and vibrant account of identity and gang membership, and explores the boundaries and shifting contingencies of membership and identity. In the process he does much to demonstrate the weaknesses of a static and monolithic conception of gangs and their members. What impressed us about Gibson’s book was his truly sociological account of the decision making process during the ExComm group’s deliberations in the White House, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Gibson shows that Kennedy did not so much lead a discussion in which all options were rationally appraised, but rather steered a conversation in which certain lines of argumentation and courses of action came to be privileged over others. His account of this process, over several days of the group’s deliberations, was based in Gibson’s innovative use of ‘time-line’ analysis and his careful and detailed analysis of the interaction between Kennedy and members of his advisory group. Gibson's analysis offers a vivid picture of the conversations themselves, of the avenues that were developed or remained unexplored in the formulation of the US response, and of the contingencies that were associated with some avenues being developed and others dropped. This is a notable study."

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2013 Book award

The Book Award committee has announced the winner of the 2013 Book Award.
The members of the committee: 

Patrick Watson (University of Waterloo)
Christian Greiffenhagen (University of Nottingham)
Michael Lynch (Cornell University)

Morana Alac
Handling Digital Brains: A Laboratory Study of Multimodal Semiotic Interaction in the Age of Computers. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

The section is very grateful to them for their careful work.  We look forward to honoring Morana at the ASA this summer in New York.

Here is the committee's letter:

"We are pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2013 American Sociological

Association’s EM/CA Section Book Award is Morana Alac of the University of California San Diego, for her book Handling Digital Brains: A Laboratory Study of Multimodal Semiotic Interaction in the Age of Computers (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).

The committee evaluated eight volumes; four single authored works and four edited collections.  While all contributed to the fields of Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis (and furthermore, linguistics), two in particular stood out as contributions that moved the field in definite directions (honourable mention to Baudouin Dupret’s [2011] Adjudication in Action: An Ethnomethodology of Law, Morality and Justice Surrey: Ashgate).

Alac’s book examines the ways assorted scientists (cognitive scientists, psychologists, neuroscientists) use functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and the resultant digital image outputs to draw conclusions about brains, minds, vision, task accomplishment and so forth.  The book analyzes the use of gestures towards the brain images on computer screens (what Alac describes as “multimodal semiotic interaction”) and how these gestures, images and the resultant discussion are used to build consensus amongst the co-present scientists on what the data on the screen are telling them about human minds. 

Several chapters of the book (3-6) focus on experienced doctoral/post-doctoral researchers (“Old-Timers”) instructing neophyte researchers (“Newcomers”) on the practices of seeing and making see-able the different forms of data displayed on the screen.  Effectively, a combination of speech, gesture and image analysis (and image preparation) play a role in showing the “Newcomer” what is present before their eyes in and as fMRI data.

The book is of interest to a number of audiences: perhaps, first and foremost, researchers interested in the relations among instructions, gestures and learning in scientific settings.  The wider Science and Technologies Studies community will take interest in the combination of approaches, and the relatively novel combination of semiotics with EM/CA.  The book also was the most successful of
those submitted at integrating Ethnomethodological and Conversation Analytic concerns and discussions, providing a fine exemplar of how the two approaches can effectively be used together.  The committee noted that this was one of the deciding factors, as the book will be of interest to both of the constituent communities of the awarding body.

The committee would like to thank those who nominated books for consideration, and again commend members of the field for their efforts.  We took great pleasure reviewing these works, and wish to recognize all authors and editors for their exceptional work."

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis Graduate Student Paper Award

Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis Graduate Student Paper Award

The awarding committee comprised of:
Jon Hindmarsh, King's College London, UK
Tim Halkowski, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, US
and Eric Laurier, University of Edinburgh, UK

Chase Wesley Raymond & Ann Elizabeth Clark White 
"A Taxonomy of Time Reference in Interaction"

This award recognises an outstanding paper written by a graduate student that addresses ethnomethodological and/or conversation analytic topics and literature. This year, the competition attracted a wide range of impressive submissions, demonstrating the quality and indeed international reach of doctoral work in EMCA.

Before announcing the winner, the committee are keen to single out one paper for honourable mention. They wish to recognise the impressive analytic work of Matthew Hollander from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who submitted an innovative paper on forms of resistance evident in interactions between those involved in the Stanley Milgram obedience experiments. This is a very thoughtful, insightful piece of analysis and the committee are sure that it will develop into a significant contribution to EMCA and beyond.

That being said, the committee are unanimous in awarding the prize for the best stand-alone paper to a lucid and engaging treatment of a surprisingly under-researched area in the field namely time reference in social interaction. While CA has developed a substantial body of work concerning place and person reference for example, there have been surprisingly few considerations of the ways in which time is invoked and thus this paper takes us into uncharted territory. It has established new avenues of inquiry on absolute and event relative categorisations of time. The paper is deeply ethnomethodological in that it artfully initiates a re-specification of time as a members practical concern. The committee is extremely impressed with the care, thought, rigour and clarity of writing in the piece. Therefore the committee are delighted to give the 2013 Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis Graduate Student Paper Award to Chase Wesley Raymond & Ann Elizabeth Clark White, two graduate students from UCLA whose joint paper is entitled 'A Taxonomy of Time Reference in Interaction'.

Friday, June 7, 2013

ASA EMCA Lifetime Achievement Award

The section’s Lifetime Achievement Award Committee this Spring enthusiastically endorsed the letters in support of Don Zimmerman, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at University of California- Santa Barbara, who has been selected as the 2013 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Sociological Association section on Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis.  Several letters of nomination and support from prominent colleagues attested to Don Zimmerman’s significant contributions over many decades of individual and collaborative scholarship, teaching, and professional service. 

Among his many contributions, letters noted his importance for providing early and accessible illustrations and expositions of foundational ethnomethodological insights, and his influential studies on topics including the accomplishment of gender through talk and the conversational organization of emergency calls. Also noted were his importance as a mentor and thesis supervisor for dozens of younger colleagues, and a variety of professional service accomplishments including contributions to conference organizing, book editing, and his service as Editor of the journal Research on Language and Social Interaction (ROLSI). The several letters reflected a consistent understanding across  a variety of vantage points of a remarkable, multi-dimensional career spanning half a century and more, and making appreciated, influential contributions, including to a broader understanding of what ethnomethodology is about, how it can be productively related to conversation analysis, and how both can be applied in such a manner as opens up innovative, insightfuland important new lines of social inquiry.

[Committee members this year were Tim BerardLorenza Mondada, and Jack Whalen]

Short Selected Publicatio by Don H. Zimmerman
[for a more extensive list see here]

Boden, D., and D. Zimmerman. 1991. Talk and Social Structure. Cambridge: Polity Press.

West, Candace, and Don H. Zimmerman. 1987. “Doing Gender.” Doing Gender 1 (2): 125–151.

Whalen, J, and DH Zimmerman. 1998. “Observations on the Display and Management of Emotion in Naturally Occurring Activities: The Case of‘ Hysteria’ in Calls to 9-1-1.” Social Psychology Quarterly 61 (2): 141–159.

Whalen, J, DH Zimmerman, and R Whalen Marilyn. 1988. “When Words Fail: A Single Case Analysis.” Soc. Probs. 35 (4): 335-362.

Wilson, TP, and DH Zimmerman. 1986. “The Structure of Silence Between Turns in Twoparty Conversation.” Discourse Processes, 9, 375-90

Zimmerman, DH. 1974. “Fact as a Practical Accomplishment.” in R. Turner (ed.), Ethnomethodology. Harmondsworth: Penguin: 128-143.

Zimmerman, DH. 1970. “The Practicalities of Rule Use.” in J. Douglas (ed.) Understanding Everyday Life. Chicago: Aldine: 285-295.