Together with Saul Albert I am currently working on video-data collected at Lindy Hop Dance workshops for beginners. Our interest is in the nexus between the body and the social, that for long have been kept separated in sociology. In July 2017 we presented a paper titled ‘Beginning to Dance: methods of mutual coordination between novice dancers‘ at the Joint Action Meeting (JAM) held at Queen Mary’s University London. The paper explores how novice dancers are able to make a first step in step with a dance partner, with the rhythm of the music and with the other dancers. Analytically and methodologically the paper draws on ethnomethodology and conversation analysis and the more recent development of video-analysis of interaction (Heath, Hindmarsh & Luff 2010) as well as from the fabulous analysis of Lindy Hop dance lessons by Leelo Keevalik.

Further information information about the project is on Saul’s website on Dance as Interaction.

Publications

Presentations

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Together with Will Gibson (UCL) I have just published a book titled “Institutions, Interaction and Social Theory” (Palgrave).

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From hospitals and prisons to schools and corporations: no matter how large or seemingly abstract, all institutions are ultimately the result of the actions and interactions of people. In this original and innovative text, Gibson and Vom Lehn show the different ways in which studying people’s own meaning-making practices can help us understand the role of institutions in contemporary society.

Institutions, Interaction and Social Theory takes the reader through the core conceptual foundations of Symbolic Interactionism, Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis. Engaging with a rich tradition in sociological thought, it suggests that interactionist perspectives have remained largely absent in the study of institutions, and how they contrast with and contribute to the broader field of research in institutional contexts.

With chapters on healthcare, education, markets, and art and culture, this text will be of interest to those studying institutions, organisations and work in sociology and in business schools. It will also be valuable for students of social theory interested in interactionism, and in the challenges and opportunities of connecting complex theoretical discussions to real world examples.

 

(Apologies for cross posting)
 
We are offering opportunities to become a PhD researcher in the Work, Interaction and Technology group at King’s College London. The current faculty members are: Paul Luff, Dirk vom Lehn, Christian Heath and Jon Hindmarsh. We specialise in video-based field studies, drawing on ethnomethodology and conversation analysis.
 
Our recent PhD students have adopted this methodological approach to explore a wide range of topics and settings, including:
  • Collaboration around new technologies in cars
  • The initiation of work talk in open plan offices
  • Occupational skills and communication in beauty treatments  
  • Training conversations in dental education
  • Occupational practice and new technologies in control centres
  • Teamwork and collaboration in operating theatres
  • The work of tour guides in museums and galleries
We are keen to supervise video-based studies on any topic or setting related to work practice, occupations, coordination, organisation, consumer behaviour and new technologies.
 
If you are interested in finding out more about pursuing a PhD with us, please do get in touch. Alternatively, if you know of high quality students who might be interested in this opportunity, please do forward this message on to them.
 
Note that there are a range of funding opportunities currently available, including the studentship competition in our School (see below).
 
Many thanks and best wishes,
Jon, Paul, Dirk and Christian
 
 
Doctoral Research Studentships
King’s Business School
 
King’s Business School invites applications for funded, full-time PhD studentships to start in the 2018-19 academic year. We have a number of studentships available and are keen to attract talented and enthusiastic students who aspire to be future leaders in their academic fields of study. 
 
We are one of the top academic centres in management and business in the UK and have an outstanding reputation for the quality of our research and teaching. Furthermore, we have ambitious plans to grow and develop over the coming years and recently moved into the iconic Bush House in central London, providing our doctoral students with excellent facilities and opportunities to develop their skills and experience.
 
In addition, we are a constituent part of the LISS-DTP (London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership), which draws together doctoral training at King’s, Imperial College London and Queen Mary, University of London. This partnership is recognised and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
 
The 3-year studentship covers the tuition fees, a generous training and conference grant, a stipend (currently £16,553 per annum) and the School provides additional paid teaching opportunities.
 
King’s Business School welcomes applicants in any of our areas of research expertise. 
 
The closing date for applications is: 25 January 2018 at 5pm.
Decisions will be announced in March 2018.
 
For full details of the application process, please see:

Will Gibson (UCL) and I are organising a session titled “The Senses in Interaction’ at the 2018 Conference of the International Sociology Association in Toronto. The Call for Abstracts for the larger track on “Senses and Society” led by Kelvin Low (National University of Singapore) has just been published on the ISA Website. Please click on the image below to be directed there.

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Over the past few decades there have been tremendous developments in audience research. Sonia Livingstone’s (2014) book chapter captures some the highlights of these developments. Unsurprisingly, Livingstone’s chapter includes  Stuart Hall’s ‘encoding/decoding’ model that has been of outstanding influence in the field. Hall’s concept is closely related to ‘reception theory’ (Iser 1980) and Morley’s (1993) concept of the “active audience”. By and large, when audience research discussed the active audience it was turning away from the idea that media content was passively received by a people sitting in front of their radio and television set. The focus shifted from passive reception to (active) interpretation of media content.

A couple of years ago I came across articles published by the Indian-American scholar Lakshmi Srinivas based at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Srinivas research (2005, 2010ab) immediately struck me as very exciting as it took the ‘active’ in ‘active audience’ literally. She was and remains interested in people’s action and interaction when they visit cinemas. Last year (2016), Srinivas published her research as a book entitled “House Full: Indian Cinema and the Active Audience“.

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In the book, Srinivas discusses how in India people actively participate in the production of the cinematic experience. She begins her exploration outside the cinema hall where people queue to purchase tickets and wait to enter the auditorium. Inside the auditorium a social structure emerges that  can be based on people’s social class but is also related to the nature of the social grouping that attendance a film screening. Where they sit people create a space where all group members can comfortably participate in the film experience. Children for example may sit on prepared blankets and consume food that has been brought to the cinema. During the film it is very common to vocalise loudly responses to the film’s content, such as to locations or actors that are recognised. People also sing along to tunes that are part of the film. Or if they are not interest in long musical sequences they might use the time to chat with others, leave the cinema for socialising outside, or having a smoke. Whilst in Western cinemas it is generally assumed that everybody sitting in the same auditorium sees and experiences the same film, audience members in Indian cinemas construct their cinematic experience in interaction with others and by fitting together the bits of the film they see with content they pick up from conversations with others.

I highly recommend Srinivas’ “House Full” to everyone interested in film consumption and audience research. A more comprehensive review of the book has been published in Symbolic Interaction. 

 

 

References

Hall, S. (1980). Encoding/Decoding. Culture, Media, Language, 128–138. http://doi.org/10.1007/BF00986815

Iser, W. (1980). The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response. The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Livingstone, Sonia (2012) Exciting moments in audience research – past, present and future. In: Bilandzic , Helena, Patriarche, Geoffrey and Traudt , Paul, (eds.) The social use of media: cultural and social scientific perspectives on audience research. ECREA Book Series. Intellect Ltd, Brighton, UK, pp. 257-274.

Morley, D. (1993). Active Audience Theory: Pendulums and Pitfalls. Journal of Communication, 43(4), 13–19. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1993.tb01299.x

Srinivas, L. 2005. Imaging the Audience. Journal of South Asian Popular Culture. 3 (2): 101–116.

Srinivas, L. Cinema Halls, Locality and Urban Life. Ethnography. 11 (1): 189-205

Srinivas, L. Cinema in the City: Tangible Forms, Transformations and the Punctuation of Everyday Life. Visual Anthropology, 23 (1): 1-12. [Lead article. Selected for Editor’s Choice].

Srinivas, L. (2016). House full : Indian cinema and the active audience. Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press.

vom Lehn, D. (2017). Reengaging with the “Active Audience”: An Ethnography of Indian Cinema. Symbolic Interaction. http://doi.org/10.1002/symb.292

 

 

Across the social sciences as well as some of the technical sciences like CSCW or HCI there is great interest in “interaction”. Studies explore interaction between systems, interaction between human beings, often called “users”, and systems, interaction between two or more people and much more. In 2011, together with Will Gibson (UCL/IoE) I co-edited a Special Issue of Symbolic Interaction (Vol.34(3)) concerned with different ways in interaction features in symbolic interactionism. The introduction to the Special Issue can be found HERE. Below is the Table of Content of the issue:-

Symbolic Interaction Vol.34(3)

                   Interaction and Symbolic Interactionism (pages 315–318)

Dirk vom Lehn and Will Gibson

    1. “Scissors, Please”: The Practical Accomplishment of Surgical Work in the Operating Theater (pages 398–414)Jeff Bezemer, Ged Murtagh, Alexandra Cope, Gunther Kress and Roger Kneebone

       

      Book Review