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over on the SSSI Music blog Jason Sumerau posted an interesting piece on Musical Technologies of Memory

Symbolic Interaction Music Blog

I have an electric guitar in my office. Cherry red and white, it lives on a little stand situated between one of my bookshelves and a file cabinet. Sometimes when I get stuck on a manuscript or course preparation, I pick it up and just play for a little while (without amplification) to clear my mind. I find the feel of the strings between my fingers allows me to relax and think about other things for a while, which often helps me work through whatever has me temporarily stuck. At other times, it sparks conversations with students and colleagues who notice it upon entering my office. In such cases, some people ask about its origin, design, or sound while others comment on its appearance or seek to get me to play a bit (to varying degrees of success). While preparing for my university’s graduation ceremony this past week, I found…

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“Consultants frequently tell academics that they are obliged to become more “corporate” in outlook-to pay more attention to the bottom line and to develop more proprietary products and services. These pressures are particularly intense in fields with immediate commercial relevance. However, certain principles of openness derived from traditional science and academic life might end up serving the long-term economic interests of American industries.” (p.253)

from Frank Pasquale. 2011. RESTORING TRANSPARENCY TO AUTOMATED AUTHORITY. Journal of Telecommunications and High Technology Law. Vol.9: 235-254

Excellent post by Ed Rodley in response on a critic’s explanation of how to look at art in museums.

Thinking about museums

The blind fingerless art critic by Flickr user Shareheads CC-BY 2.0 The blind fingerless art critic
by Flickr user Shareheads
CC-BY 2.0

I have a confession to make: art critics baffle me. Especially when they venture to make grand pronouncements about the right way to go about experiencing art in museums. So when I saw the title of Philip Kennicott’s piece in the Washington Post, titled “How to view art: Be dead serious about it, but don’t expect too much” I will confess that I died a little bit inside. “Sigh. Another ‘you people are doing it all wrong’ piece.” Just what the world needs, another art critic holding forth on the sad state of museums and museumgoing. But, though there is plenty of sneering, there’s also a lot worthy of discussion. And debate. Kennicott’s post didn’t stand alone too long before Jillian Steinhauer posted a reply at Hyperallergic, and Jen Olencziak a rebuttal at Huffington Post. So, let’s take a…

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As part of the ESRC funded project The Practical Work of the Optometrist Helena Webb, Christian Heath, Dirk vom Lehn, Will Gibson and Bruce Evans have published an article concerned with the opening of optometric consultations in the journal Research on Language and Social Interaction. The paper particularly explored the sensitivity clients display to the use of the word ‘problem’ in the opening questions of the history taking.

The Problem With “Problems”: The Case of Openingsin Optometry Consultations

Abstract

This article contributes to conversation analytic understanding of openings in health-care consulta-tions. It focuses on the case of optometry: a form of health-care practice in which an optometristconducts checks of a patient’s vision and eye health. Patients are advised to attend regularly for rou-tine assessments and can also request a specific appointment at any time. Analysis of a corpus of 66 consultations shows what happens when the optometrist’s opening question solicits the client’s“problems” with their eyes. We find three types of patient response. Patients who have requested aspecific appointment (most often) report a problem with their eyes and establish a problem-purposeencounter. Patients attending for a routinely timed appointment either report no problems and estab-lish a routine-assessment purpose, or if they do have a problem, they delay reporting it or downplay it.We track through what happens subsequently. The findings have practical implications for diagnosisand treatment.

As part of the ESR funded project Will Gibson, Helena Webb and Dirk vom Lehn have published a paper that explores new ways in which a reflection on the use of transcript in the examination of video-recorded interaction can aid the analysis.

Analytic Affordance: Transcripts as Conventionalised Systems in Discourse Studies

Abstract

This article explores the role of transcripts in the analysis of social action. Drawing on a study of the interactional processes in optometry consultations, we show how our interest in the rhythm of reading letters from a chart arose serendipitously from our orientation to transcription conventions. We discuss our development of alternative transcription systems, and the affordances of each. We relate this example to constructivist debates in the area of transcription and argue that the issues have been largely characterised in political terms at the expense of a focus on the actual processes of transcription. We show here that analytic affordances emerge through an orientation to professional conventions. The article ends by suggesting that a close reflection on the design of transcripts and on transcription innovation can lead to more nuanced analysis as it puts the researcher in dialogue with the taken for granted ideas embedded in a system.

The article is on Early View at Sociology and with access can be downloaded here.

Posted in U

Thanks to Dirk for reminding me to start posting some of the details on
the Couch-Stone Symposium, held on March 27-29, 2014 at Texas State
University. “Symbolic Interactionist Takes on Music” was a big hit.
There were 41 presenters on the program, and approximately 195 attendees
for the 7 sessions. The Thursday evening BBQ and jam was a lot of fun
(see attached picture), as was the Friday evening dinner and Leon Russell
concert. We are now assembling abstracts from presenters for four
publishers who are interested in considering them for a book or special
journal issue. Overall, we clearly demonstrated the wide range of rich
topics comprising a symbolic interactionist approach to music. But, we
also clarified real and potential collaborations with friends in other
disciplines. I am also attaching the primary symposium poster, designed
by an undergraduate sociology major at Texas State. On the next post, I
will attach the program.

Attendees: Please post your two cents on the C-S!

Joe Kotarba