The Multimodal and Sequential Design of Co-Animation as a Practice for Association in English Interaction

Cantarutti, Marina (2020). The Multimodal and Sequential Design of Co-Animation as a Practice for Association in English Interaction. PhD thesis University of York.



This thesis describes the understudied interactional practice of co-animation: during the development of an activity in conversation, a speaker incorporates an animation -i.e. a quote, or (re)enactment - and a co-participant responds, pre-emptively, or in the contiguous turn, with a completion or continuation of the animation of the same figure. Based on the study of 89 co-animation sequences found in 10 hours of video-recordings of naturalistic English interaction between friends, relatives or co-workers, this thesis adopts the theoretical and methodological tenets of Conversation Analysis and Interactional Linguistics to describe the multimodal, sequential, and relational organisation of this practice. This thesis analyses how participants mark the shift from the here-and-now into the animation space, and how co-participants make their contributions both hearable as coherent with prior animations, and as fitted affiliative responses that further the ongoing course of action. Lexico-grammatical, phonetic, and gestural-postural resources are analysed for their interactional import in their concurrent framing of animation and the display of stance and conditional relevance. The organisation of resources in responsive co-animations is found to be positionally-sensitive, with co-participants negotiating agency and epistemic access and entitlement differently relative to the onset of co-animation and to the stage in the ongoing activity. The scrutiny of the situated deployment of co-animation in the social activities of troubles-tellings/complaint stories on the one hand, and teasing/joint fictionalisation on the other, reveals how co-animation contributes to the process of association, that is, the building of single momentary units of participation (collectivities). Co-participants are found to team up around what is presented as a shared stance, values, and identity, against absent but invoked behaviours or individuals engaging in moral transgressions, by jointly “doing being” the same voice.

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