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

Sally Hester, Stephen Hester

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

    36 Citations (Scopus)
    132 Downloads (Pure)


    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)33-48
    JournalDiscourse Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


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