Program

Plenary/workshop papers:

  • Embodiment and Enactment in Worplace Dialogues, Jürgen Streeck, The University of Texas at Austin
    The presentation reports on a video-based, micro-ethnographic study of the embodied dialogical practices of one man, enacted during one day at work. His workplace is a car-repair shop, of which he is the owner. The study is an encompassing record of his multimodal repertoire, including ways of walking and standing, looking, gesturing, talking, and so on, which he enacts in his dialogue with customers, employees, and suppliers. The quest motivating the study is to better understand how individuals shape their own communicative repertoires, how this repertoire is adapted to the individual’s life-world, and how this world is in effect brought into existence by the enactment of habitual communicative practices. I will describe two “families” of communicative practices, two modes of gesturing by hand. One comprises manual methods by which meanings in the world at hand are disclosed: gestural actions by which hidden features of objects are made apparent. The other are pointing gestures, of which there are multiple kinds. I will analyze these gesture practices with an eye to institutional dimensions of workplace dialogue: as methods by which an entrepreneur organizes the actions of others.
  • Competence-in-performance in the Mixed Game Model, Edda Weigand, University of Münster
    Addressing “communities of practice” means focusing on human beings acting and reacting in various action games of performance. Human beings are not victims of complexity but are able to adapt to ever-changing action conditions and to come to grips with the challenge of life. Trying to analyse and to explain this extraordinary human ability of being competent-in-performance necessitates bridging the gap between competence and performance, between autonomous rules and principles of probability. The bridge cannot be established by addition but only by integrating the multiple variables that determine dialogic interaction. Addressing such a complex subject matter means we have to find the key to opening up the architecture of complexity. The Mixed Game Model proposes a holistic theory which puts human beings at its centre and which describes their actions and behaviour in performance using principles of probability. We always act in performance, be it in professional practice or in our private lives. The Mixed Game Model therefore not only overcomes the separation of competence and performance but also that of theory and practice. After introducing the basic elements of the model, the theory is applied to a sample of negotiation in a specific professional context.
  • Dialogue with the Past, Richard F. Young, National Institute of Education, Singapore and University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Ortega (2011) has argued that second language acquisition is stronger and better after the social turn (Block, 2003). Of the post-cognitive approaches she reviews, several focus on the social context of language learning rather than on language as the central phenomenon. In this article, I present Practice Theory not as yet another approach to language learning, but as a philosophical and methodological frame within which the interplay between social context and language learning can be understood. I review the work of Bourdieu, de Certeau, Foucault, and Giddens, who argue for the centrality of practice in human semiosis. Through analysis of introspective accounts by ten first-generation/working class students of their foreign language learning experiences, I show how Practice Theory reveals a dialectic between the immediate experiences of language learners and the durable and transposable dispositions emanating from and integrating their past experiences.
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