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Normes-en-action. la négociation des droits épistémiques dans des réunions des équipes

Abstract : Norms-in-action: negotiating and policing epistemic rights in staff team meetings
As Drew and Heritage (1992) point out, asymmetries in knowledge are an integral part of institutional interaction. thus, for example, in medical encounters the patients' rights to have and display knowledge are limited. However, as many researchers argue (see, for example, the collection of articles in Stivers et al. 2011), displays of knowledge are not necessarily driven by actual states of knowledge but are driven by rights to have and display knowledge that are negotiated and policed in interaction. For example, it has been observed that even doctors accompanying their children to medical consultations act like parents, rather than doctors, by suspending displays of medical knowledge (Strong 1979). Such research therefore points to the inadequacy of telementalist concepts of the communication of knowledge (e.g. Shannon and Weaver 1948) whereby knowledge is simply transferred from a sender to a receiver in an asocial environment. rather, as Stivers et al. (2011: 9) argue, since social actors hold each other accountable for justifiably asserting rights and fulfillin g obligations with respect to knowledge, the epistemic domain is a normatively ordered one. Moreover, it is through the sequential properties of talk that social actors display their emic orientations to their epistemic rights and those of others and it is through the sequential properties of talk that such rights are negotiated (see, for example, Heritage 2002, raymond and Heritage 2006, Stivers 2005). thus, for example, by going first a social actor is making a claim to epistemic primacy since by going second one is leaving oneself open to the inference that one is simply agreeing with the prior turn. in order to resist the claim to epistemic primacy inherent in going first, a second turn can be designed to dispute this by using explicit agreement, upgrades, tag questions and so on. Within a paradigm of cumulative qualitative sociological enquiry and using conversation analysis as a research methodology, this paper seeks to add to this growing corpus of research into the normative dimension of practical knowledge. More specifically, using transcriptions of naturally-occurring talk recorded during a team meeting in a cultural organisation, this paper explicates how the deployment of epistemic resources (notably: epistemic access; epistemic primacy; and epistemic responsibility) are negotiated in talk. it is then argued that, as in any normatively organized system, social actors can, and do, hold each other accountable for asserting their epistemic rights and fulfilling their obligations as regards their rights to have and display knowledge (Stivers et al. 2011, Drew 1991). Moreover, it is through the sequential properties of talk by which such rights are negotiated that the epistemic domain is normatively organised; norms therefore being considered from an ethnomethodological perspective as methods of accounting for action, rather than as the following internalised societal exigencies of expected behaviour. Further, the incarnation of such norms in action, allows the organisation to be 'talked into being'. this is because, organisations are not rational systems with exogenous prediscursive norms that determine what organisational players should and should not do or should and should not know, rather organisations are constituted in, and through, the way in which members of the organisation employ concepts of, inter alia, norms as resources to carry out their everyday workplace activities (taylor and van every 2000). Findings indicate how orientation to, and the policing of, epistemic rights shows how alignment on a sequential level between the director and the assistant director makes relevant an interactional team (Kangasharju 1996) within the duplicatively organised membership categorisation device 'staff'. the interactionally occasioned management team, consisting of the director and assistant director, talk themselves into being as knowing participants who are hierarchically closer to head office because they can have and display knowledge about head office. as Kangasharju (1996) points out, when a team becomes interactionally relevant it creates an in-group and an out-group. in this case, the rest of the staff are talked into being as the out group who are oriented to as unknowing participants and who sequentially disalign with the assistant director and director. they either do not speak during the interaction, or if they do speak this either does not display knowledge, or their attempts to co-author a display of knowledge with the knowing participants is interrupted, or through the sequential properties of talk, the speakers are oriented to as having secondary rather than primary rights to participate in the emerging description of what is going on in head office, or they disalign with the occasioned management team through the use of humour which reframes the interaction as lacking seriousness. in conclusion, it is argued that these displays of knowledge talk-into-being a form of hierarchy of knowledge with those having the rights to display most knowledge and doing so most authoritatively being able to claim closer association with head office and so being hierarchically further up the corporate ladder. in this way, epistemics can be seen as one way in which the organisation is talked into being (Clifton forthcoming). thus rather than organisation being a structure in which organisational players follow exogenous norms which allow them to perform certain actions and not others, organisation is reconceptualised as a members' achievement which, inter alia, is achieved through members' emic orientation to rights to have and display knowledge (cf. Boden 1994). thus rather than conceptualising norms as extrinsic to the interaction and which are to be followed as judgmental dopes, conversation analysis conceptualises norms as the product of the interactional work of the social actors and so norms in action become observable in the sequential properties of talk which, as Schegloff (1996) observes, are the bedrock of all sociality. norms are thus conceived of as resources for conducting everyday workplace activities but which are reflexively reproduced as external and constraining social facts through those same workplace activities. note: it is beyond the scope (and word limit) of this brief abstract to provide detailed sequential analysis of the transcript of the staff meeting which explicates the doing of norms as a members' accomplishment. Such a detailed analysis will be developed during the presentation.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 2:24:12 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-00840409, version 1


Jonathan Clifton. Normes-en-action. la négociation des droits épistémiques dans des réunions des équipes. Communiquer dans un monde de normes. L'information et la communication dans les enjeux contemporains de la " mondialisation "., Mar 2012, France. ⟨hal-00840409⟩



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