Saturday, July 13, 2019

2019 Garfinkel-Sacks Award for Distinguished Scholarship

The award committee—Mardi Kidwell, Kevin Whitehead and Geoff Raymond—and section officers would like to congratulate Gene Lerner on the Garfinkel-Sacks Award for Distinguished Scholarship. 

Here are some excerpts from letters of recommendation:

Across a career spanning more than three decades, Gene’s published work has served as a model of analytic rigor and creativity that has made groundbreaking and cross-cutting contributions to virtually every core area of conversation analysis. These include, among others, a number of important elaborations of Sacks, Schegloff, and Jefferson’s pioneering specifications of the turn-taking system for conversational interaction, as well as foundational studies of grammar in interaction, conversational repair, and video studies of embodied conduct. In addition, his work has provided advances and interactional re-specifications of numerous other areas of sociological inquiry, as seen, for example, in his connection of Goffman’s concept of “face” to the interactional organization of preference structures, and in his collaborative contributions to an innovative and wide-ranging project examining the social lives of very young children. 

Gene's research career has been both innovative and exemplary: Innovative both in the traditional sense of opening up new and difficult areas of investigation, but also in a second sense of seeing important lacunae in the classically great papers of conversation analysis on topics like turn-taking and repair, developing the relevant issues, and in the process returning the classic topics themselves to the agenda of active CA research. Gene has never seen the classic papers as 'tablets of stone,' but rather as active and central research sites for on-going investigation. Gene's research is exemplary in its meticulous conceptualization, and in the deep reservoir of craft-skills with which he pursues empirical findings. There are few researchers who are more careful in the use of words than Gene, nor more exact in the instantiation of his conceptualizations with empirical data. His is a most notable career which we all do well to celebrate.