Historically, studies on language and social interaction have often been criticized for their alleged incapacity to deal with questions of power, coercion and domination (Cooren, 2007). By exclusively focusing on what people do in interactional scenes, LSI scholars have indeed been accused of being ill equipped to address and analyze what makes the interactions they study possible (Reed, 2010). In response, macro-sociologists and critical scholars keep reaffirming the key role that structures, ideologies and power relationships play in the constitution of interactions. However, they rarely analyze conversations or dialogues per se, which means that interaction studies seem often immune to this kind of consideration.

For the past twenty years, however, a growing movement of scholars has decided to go beyond the sterile opposition between agency and structure by openly analyzing everything that happens to make a difference in a given interaction (Bartesaghi, 2009, 2014, Bencherki and Cooren, 2011; Benoit-Barné and Cooren, 2009; Castor and Cooren, 2006; Chiang, 2015; Cooren and Matte, 2010; Taylor and Van Every, 2011, 2014). Instead of exclusively focusing on what people do, these scholars have also taken into account other forms of agency or authorship that seem to make a difference through people's turns of talk.

How to participate

For this preconference, we would like to encourage scholars to submit papers that explicitly (1) deal with questions of power/authority and (2) illustrate their approach by studying the detail of the interaction that organizers selected.

In other words, each participant is invited to shed his or her own original light on the same common interaction.

Any kind of perspective - Conversation Analysis (Pomerantz & Fehr, 1997; Sacks & Jefferson, 1992; Sanders, 2005), Actor Network Theory (ANT) (Latour, 1986; Law, 1991), CCO (Communicative Constitution of Organization) (Benoit-Barné & Cooren, 2009; Bourgoin & Bencherki, 2015; Taylor & Van Every, 2014), Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough, 2013; Fairclough & Wodak, 1997; van Dijk, 1993), ethnography of communication (Carbaugh & Boromisza-Habashi, 2015; Hymes, 1964; Kalou & Sadler-Smith, 2015), etc. - is welcome as long as these two requirements are met.

This preconference could be of interest to Language and Social Interaction and Organizational Communication scholars, but representatives of other divisions are, of course, also welcome.

Submit a 500-word abstracts including an analysis outline on the preconference website by 18 January 15 February. Responses will be sent by 15 February the end of February.


Bartesaghi, M. (2009). How the therapist does authority: Six strategies for substituting client accounts in the session. Communication & Medicine, 6(1), 15-25.

Bartesaghi, M. (2014). Coordination: Examining Weather as a "Matter of Concern." Communication Studies, 65(5), 535-557. http://doi.org/10.1080/10510974.2014.957337

Bencherki, N., & Cooren, F. (2011). To have or not to be: the possessive constitution of organization. Human Relations, 64(12), 1579-1607. http://doi.org/10.1177/0018726711424227

Benoit-Barné, C., & Cooren, F. (2009). The Accomplishment of Authority Through Presentification: How Authority Is Distributed Among and Negotiated by Organizational Members. Management Communication Quarterly, 23(1), 5-31. http://doi.org/10.1177/0893318909335414

Bourgoin, A., & Bencherki, N. (2015). The performance of authority in organizations. Presented at the European Group for Organization Studies, Athens, Greece.

Carbaugh, D., & Boromisza-Habashi, D. (2015). Ethnography of Communication. In The International Encyclopedia of Language and Social Interaction. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9781118611463.wbielsi119/abstract

Castor, T., & Cooren, F. (2006). Organizations as Hybrid forms of Life: The Implications of the Selection of Agency in Problem Formulation. Management Communication Quarterly, 19(4), 570-600. http://doi.org/10.1177/0893318905284764

Chiang, S.-Y. (2015). Power and Discourse. In K. Tracy, C. Ilie, & T. Sandel (Eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Language and Social Interaction. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9781118611463.wbielsi149/abstract

Cooren, F. (Ed.). (2007). Interacting and organizing: analyses of a management meeting. Mahwah, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Cooren, F., & Matte, F. (2010). For a constitutive pragmatics: Obama, Médecins Sans Frontières and the measuring stick. Pragmatics and Society, 1(1), 9-31. http://doi.org/10.1075/ps.1.1.02coo

Fairclough, N. (2013). Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language. Routledge.

Fairclough, N., & Wodak, R. (1997). Critical discourse analysis. In T. A. van Dijk (Ed.), Discourse as social interaction (pp. 258-284). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Hymes, D. (1964). Introduction: Toward Ethnographies of Communication. American Anthropologist, 66(6), 1-34. http://doi.org/10.1525/aa.1964.66.suppl_3.02a00010

Kalou, Z., & Sadler-Smith, E. (2015). Using Ethnography of Communication in Organizational Research. Organizational Research Methods, 18(4), 629.

Latour, B. (1986). The Powers of Association. In J. Law (Ed.), Power, action and belief: a new sociology of knowledge? (pp. 264-280). London: Routledge.

Law, J. (1991). A Sociology of monsters: essays on power, technology, and domination. New York: Routledge.

Pomerantz, A., & Fehr, B. J. (1997). Conversation Analysis: An Approach to the Study of Social Action as Sense Making Practices. In T. A. van Dijk (Ed.), Discourse as Social Interaction (pp. 64-91). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Reed, M. (2010). Is Communication Constitutive of Organization? Management Communication Quarterly, 24(1), 151-157. http://doi.org/10.1177/0893318909351583

Sacks, H., & Jefferson, G. (1992). Lectures on conversation. Oxford, UK?; Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell.

Sanders, R. E. (2005). Preface to section II: Conversation analysis. In K. L. Fitch & R. E. Sanders (Eds.), Handbook of language and social interaction (pp. 67-70). Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Retrieved from http://www.loc.gov/catdir/toc/ecip0420/2004016806.html

Taylor, J. R., & Van Every, E. J. (2011). The situated organization: Studies in the pragmatics of communication research. New York, NY: Routledge.

Taylor, J. R., & Van Every, E. J. (2014). When Organization Fails: Why Authority Matters. New York, NY: Routledge.

van Dijk, T. A. (1993). Principles of Critical Discourse Analysis. Discourse & Society, 4(2), 249-283. http://doi.org/10.1177/0957926593004002006

“... individuals only allow themselves to be oppressed so far as they are hurried on by blind ambition, and, looking rather below than above them, come to love authority more than independence...” - Jean-Jacques Rousseau