Conversational actions and category relations: An analysis of a children’s argument

Hester, Sally and Hester, Stephen (2010) Conversational actions and category relations: An analysis of a children’s argument. Discourse Studies, 12 (1). pp. 33-48. ISSN 1461-4456 DOI


Download (246kB)


This paper presents an analysis of conversational actions and category relations exhibited in an episode of argument between a brother and sister during a family meal. The paper is based on two sets of auspices: on a conversation analytic concern with the interconnection between the sequential and categorical ‘layers’ of organization to which parties to talk-in-interaction are demonstrably oriented, and on ‘Sacks’ Conjecture’ regarding children’s culture and adult–child ‘culture contact’. In terms of these auspices, the analysis shows that the children use both sequential and categorical cultural resources to produce their argument. To adapt a concept of Garfinkel’s (1967) – the documentary method of interpretation – the category relationship between the children is the underlying matter that the sequential particulars are used to reflexively document and constitute. Specifically, through the sequentially organized particulars of degradation and resistance the children recognizably and reflexively constitute their category relationship.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Social Work and Social Policy and Administration
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2013 10:53

Archive staff only

Item control page Item control page