Ather Nawaz Cécile Brun Charlène Badina Katherine Fearon

Cognitive and Social Science in HMI
“Applying ethnomethodology to video analysis”

Group 4

5 december 2006
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Table of Contents
APPLYING ETHNOMETHODOLOGY TO VIDEO ANALYSIS.....................................................................................3 ABSTRACT ..............................................................................................................................................................................3 Author Keywords...................................................................................................................................................................3 INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................................................................3 Motivation..............................................................................................................................................................................3 Object of study.......................................................................................................................................................................3 Research question..................................................................................................................................................................4 Theoretical perspective..........................................................................................................................................................4 DESCRIPTION.........................................................................................................................................................................4 Genaral description................................................................................................................................................................4 Pertinence theoretical perspective .........................................................................................................................................4 Relevance...............................................................................................................................................................................4 Data material..........................................................................................................................................................................4 Brief description ....................................................................................................................................................................4 Artefacts.................................................................................................................................................................................5 TRANSCRIPT ..........................................................................................................................................................................5 ANALYSIS USING THE THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVE..............................................................................................6 Black and Green ....................................................................................................................................................................6 Black and Yellow ..................................................................................................................................................................7 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS.....................................................................................................................................8 REFERENCES ..........................................................................................................................................................................9 COLOR FIGURE.....................................................................................................................................................................10

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Applying ethnomethodology to video analysis
Kate Fearon, Charlène Badina, Cécile Brun and Ather Nawaz Departement of Information Technology, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Sweden ather@dsv.su.se; charlene@kth.se; cnabrun@kth.se ; fearon@kth.se
ABSTRACT

Ethnomethodological studies rely heavily on participant observation and the micro-analysis of how the behaviours of participants embody their efforts to understand and interact with the society in which they are living. In this paper we explore this theoretical perspective in order to analyze interaction amongst a group of individuals in a video clip. The aim is to study human behaviour relating to the use of technological artifacts in a social context and see what the consequences of their behaviour can be for the social environment. This study concludes that use of mobile phone technology can, in some circumstances, lead to a loss of awareness of one's physical environment, which can result in a breakdown of communication with those around us.
Author Keywords

people, by allowing people in different geographical places to stay in touch. But some detractors of mobile phones argue that increasing communication with absent people is accomplished to the detriment of communication with “real” people around us. Mobile phones are indeed quickly becoming more sophisticated, and are a comparitively recent technology, so the social convention for using them politely and appropriately when you're in the company of others is still evolving. Our initial area of interest is how mobile phones influence people in social situations, and especially how mobile phones influence or modify your communication with people around you, that is to say people in your environment who are not involved in the telecommunication.
Object of study

Human Computer Interaction, Ethnomethodology, Distributed cognition, Video analysis, Mobile phone.

INTRODUCTION

This document corresponds to the group report of the course “Cognitive and Social Science in Human Machine Interaction” (COGSOC 2I1718/2I4018). For our support material we have chosen a video clip. You can see it at the link in appendix. We then studied this material in the light of ethnomethodology perspective and formulated results and conclusions based on our analysis.
Motivation

We are interested in studying the use of mobile phones by people in social contexts. Mobile phones have indeed become a common technology, and almost everyone you see in the street, in the subway or any public place has one. Their primary aim is to facilitate communication between

For study material we have chosen a video clip of a mobile phone advertisement. The clip deals with almost all the issues we are most interested in, for example the clash of public and private communication, and the idea that mobile phones, though designed to increase and improve communication, may serve to confuse and hinder communication with those who are not directly involved in the conversation. In this video clip the main issue is indeed the communication between one man using a mobile phone, and another standing in the same room but not involved in the phone conversation. One interesting aspect of the video is that it demonstrates a new feature of mobile phones, and one that is not yet standard. As such, it demonstrates a way of using mobile phone for which we have no standard rules, which is what we are particularly interested in. This is indeed what lead to the crucial misunderstanding that occurs in the video. We feel that the social issues handled in the video are current and culturally relevant issues. The video shows a misunderstanding, which primarily appears to have been caused because one man using his mobile phone was too caught up in his mobile phone conversation to pay attention to his surroundings. This effect is commonly observed in people using personal technology in public places, especially with mobile phones. New technologies can confuse our understanding of people's behaviour: it was once easy to notice when someone was using a phone, it is now much more difficult due to the use of discreet headphones and hands-free sets which are almost invisible. Maybe in a few years it will not be unusual at all to see people speaking apparently “alone” to themselves, but right now it can still be confusing for

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people around them. This is this evolution of standards and conventions, and how people understand what you are doing that we wanted to explore.
Research question

other sociologists. [3]These realities can occur in the form of misunderstandings, which is the main focus of our video. "Social actions are irreducibly events-in-a-social-order and they cannot therefore be adequately identified independently of the social order in which they are embedded" (Sharrock and Button, p.158) [2]. This highlights the importance of context and mutually understood social conventions, and also suggests that the description of an event depends on interactional competence of observer, not on an external method of observation.
Relevance

Consideration of these issues has led to us to our research question, "How does the use of mobile phone technology faciliate or otherwise influence communication in this situation?"
Theoretical perspective

We have decided to analyze it from an ethnomethodological perspective, as this approach is well adapted for studying communications between people, and is thus ideal for analyzing a scenario involving mobile phones. Ethnomethodology places importance on context, which we feel is of particular interest in our area of study, especially in terms of historical context and social context. Historical context is indeed important because of how our existing understanding of phone usage influences our interpretation of a person's behaviour (if video-conference was something common, maybe the man in the movie would have understood what was happening). Social context is important because being in a disco gives you a preconception of how behaviour will behave around you. Spatial organization matter too, because if one of the two main characters had been standing in another way (or if there had been nothing between them to partially obstruct vision), the outcome of the situation could have been totally different.

One question arises as to why we have chosen ethnomethodology and how it can be considered an appropriate perspective to use for analysing our video. With our data material we cannot perform conversation analysis because no spoken conversation occurs in any of the interactions. Interaction takes places entirely via gestures, facial expressions and physical actions. We believe that the unconventional forms of communication demonstrated in this video made ethnomethodology, which is perfectly designed to analysing communication, an excellent framework for gaining an understanding of how communication can take place in such an environment. Ethnomethodology communication. concentrates on method of

DESCRIPTION General points

Now we will describe our video. As we have mentioned that we have used Ethnomethodology as a tool for analyzing our video. We intend for this description and transcript to be complete and thorough enough that readers will be able understand what took place in the video clip.
Pertinence of our theoretical perspective

This being so, ethnomethodology neither produces `findings' nor has need of conceptions of the `social actor' and `social structure' (Sharrock and Button). Social settings are self-organising and "the problem of social order . . . (is) . . . completely internal to those sites (of everyday activity)" (Sharrock and Button, p.141) [2] . In this video ethnomethodology will help us in describing how interaction is performed and how communication methods are embodied in the participants' gestures and actions.
Data material

Using ethnomethodology, we are studying the way in which paticipants of the video clip make sense of events and how they attempt to particpate in their environment through their actions. In ethnomethodology there is no hard and fast rule for obtaining information. In fact the methods people use to make sense of their social environment can only be visualised by fine attention to detail. There is no need to gather repetitive instances for the sake of statistically warrantable generalizations. Further instances are just further examples. The material itself, in each instance, discloses the structure of social action. [5] An ethnomethodologist wants to be closer to the common realities and seemingly trivial intricities of social life than

Our data material consists of a video clip of a television commercial. This clip will be our data material in this study. The advertisement was produced by the French mobile operator SFR, and is advertising its new 3G service which allows video calling.
Brief description

The video shows three men in a disco. Throughout this analysis we shall refer to them by the colour of their shirts, as their names are not available to us. Thus, they shall be referred to as Black, Green and Yellow. Black is sitting at the bar in the disco, and is holding his mobile phone at eye level. He is engaged in a video call with Green, who is on the dancefloor. Green may be in a different part of the same disco, or a different disco entirely – it is not clear from the video. Whatever the case may be,

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Black and Green are only in communication via the video call. Both Black and Green are surounded by dancing people. The noise level in both of the disco is such that no verbal conversation can take place via mobile phone. Yellow is sitting at the same bar as Black, diametrically opposite Black. They are visible to one another, and Yellow observes Black's behaviour throughout the clip, while Black is completely oblivious to Yellow's presence until the final seconds of the video. The following diagram may be helpful in visualising the scene in the disco. The two men at the bar are labelled as Black and Yellow. The arrows indicate the direction to which their bodies are oriented throughout the majority of the excert. The third man, Green, is in a different room and only in communication with Black via the video phone. The object on the bar (which is difficult to positively identify, but appears to be a lamp) is situated at a point between Black and Yellow, causing an obstruction of vision between them. Not illustrated here are the bartenders or the crowds of people in the room, talking amongst themselves or dancing. These people do not interact with Black or Yellow at any point during the video clip.

visualising this. See Picture 1 on page 11 Here we see Black's handset. A video stream of Green can be seen taking up most of the display, while in the lower corner Black is able to see the image being captured by his own phone's camera.

TRANSCRIPT

(a second-by-second transcription of events) 0 – 5 Black is sitting at a bar, behind him people are dancing. He is holding his phone at eye-level and is laughing animatedly at the screen. 5- 7 We see the screen of the mobile phone, a real-time video message of Green who is also in a bar. Green is also laughing, and dancing. The environment is too loud for either Green or Black to hear the audio transmission of the phone call. 8 Black is grinning broadly at the phone. 8 – 10 Green grins at his phone and points to his eyes with two fingers, then points at some dancing girls with the same fingers. He then turns and directs the camera away from himself, and towards the dancing girls. 11 – 13 Black can see the girls dancing on his phone display. He is aware that the girls can also see him on Green's phone display. He grins broadly and dances. 14 The camera zooms in on one of the girls, who smiles into the camera as she dances 15 – 16 Black makes an exaggerated expression of astonishment, then grins. 17 - 18 Yellow is standing at the other side of the bar. He can see Black, but Black's phone is obscured from his line of vision by an object on the bar surface. He sees Black grinning. He down at his glass, then looks up at Black and raises his eyebrows. 19 - 20 Black raises his glass to his phone camera, whilst smiling and nodding. 21 Yellow smiles subtly and turns his body slightly to the left away from the bar), standing up straight. 22 -23 Black raises his eyebrows and purses his lips at the camera, then smiles. 23 – 24 Three girls are gathered in front of Green's camera, smiling and pursing their lips in response to Black. 24 Black purses his lips at the camera again in a kissing gesture.

Artefacts

The primary artifacts involved in this video clip are the mobile phones used by Black and Green. The most important feature of these phones is the comparatively new video calling technology. Both phones have a camera mounted on the front, which records and transmits (during typical usage) a video stream of the face of the person holding the handset. The recipient of the call will view this video stream on the display screen of their own handset. When both participants of the conversation are using the video call function, the display on both handsets will include a smaller video stream in the lower corner which indicates the video being recorded by the camera of that phone. The following screenshot may be useful in

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25 – 26 Yellow has been watching Black. When he sees the kissing gesture he looks down coyly and touches with his glass. 27 - 28 Green has turned his own camera onto himself again. He makes a beckoning gesture to Black then starts dancing again with an excited expression. 29 Black returns the beckoning gesture whilst mouthing a word (indecipherable) and grinning 29 – 30 Yellow picks up his glass and turns a little more to the left, now almost perpendicular with the bar. 31 – 32 We see Black dancing on Green's phone display. Black is joined by Yellow, who puts his arm around Black's shoulders and smiles at him. 32 – 33 Green stops dancing as he watches his phone display, looking surprised and confused. 34 – 36 Black also stops dancing and looks confused. He raises his eyebrows and shakes his head, continuing to look into his camera. The following screen shot, included for clarity, shows the final seconds of the video. It is from the perspective of Green's phone. Here we can see Yellow approaching Black, and the confusion of Black and Green. This is the only point during the video that we see the faces of all three men simultaneously. See Picture 2 on page 11

indicating to Green that shares in Green's happiness, and imitates Green's movements and expressions. Black's facial expressions constantly appear to show approval and appreciation of what he is viewing on his phone, when he is confronted by either Green or the dancing girls. It is difficult to determine specific instances of indexical behaviour when we analyze Black, apart from the fact that to those around him who can see the phone, Black's behaviour (expressions, movements, etc.) would be regarded as being related to his phone, even if the observer did not fully understand the concept of video calling. The term indexicality refers to the fact that all human interpretive work is bound to the context in which it occurs [4]. Black seems to be much more concerned with the environment displayed to him on his mobile phone than the physical environment in which he sits. Social interaction involves any situation in which a person produces an action addressed or directed towards another and/or which invites or makes possible a response from Another.[4] All such actions are ‘structured’ in the sense that the character of the action produced by Black ‘conditions’ what will be done in response to it by Green. Now let us turn our attention to Green's behaviour during this exchange. Our observations of Green are limited by two factors. Firstly, the focus of the video clip is on Black and Yellow. Secondly, on many occasions we only see Green through the viewing screen of Black's phone. The exact location of Green is unclear from the video. He may be in another disco, or simply in a different part of the same disco as Black and Yellow. In any case, although Green's physical environment is very similar to Black's, their communication is limited to their video phone conversation. Green is on the dance floor of a crowded disco, surrounded by other dancers. The music in the disco is too loud to allow him to communicate verbally over the phone, hence the necessity of the video phone feature. This factor significantly complicates his communication with Black. In order to share his own environment with Black, Green must rely on the small and selective amount of information it is possible for him to convey using the small screen of the phone. As both participants in the conversation are using the same piece of technology, Green is aware that Black can only see what Green chooses to show him using his camera. Green's laughter and dancing at seconds 5-7 appears to be in response to the jovial mood expressed by Black Although they are not in the same room, they use facial expressions and body language to share the nature of their mood and environment. These physical expressions are exaggerated by both men, presumably to compensate for

ANALYSIS Black and Green

In our analysis there are more things happening in social interaction than could be captured by analyzing the syntactic structure of a conversation. Therefore our analyses focus on expressions and body language. To begin with, Black is sitting at the bar and watching his friend Green in a video stream on his mobile phone display. Black is seeing Green via the use of a technological artifact, the mobile phone. Black appears to laugh out loudly in response to the enjoyment he sees Green experiencing. While Green is on the dance floor, Black is sitting in a more quiet area of the club and is not participating in the crowd of dancers behind him. When he makes dancing movements with his arms and shoulders he has his back to the crowd, indicating that his dancing is part of a different context. Black can clearly see the positive expressions of Green on his mobile phone, and his own body language (dancing and laughing) is apparently in response to this. He appears to be

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the lack of spoken word, and as is evident in their exchange, although their communication method appears simplistic it succeeds in conveying complex meanings in a way which is apparently well understood. Green's gesture occurring in seconds 8-10 is of particular interest. Green points to his eyes with the index and middle finger of his free hand, then points to a girl who is dancing near him. Green is aware that Black is unable to see the girl at whom he is pointing, because she is not in view of the camera. He is also aware that if he turns his camera to focus on the girl (which he does, immediately after pointing at her), Black will see them regardless of the gesture. That is, the pointing gesture that is commonly understood as a means of bringing somebody's attention to something in the environment, served a complex purpose in this communication. By pointing to his own eyes, Green suggests the nature of what he is going to do next, and by pointing at a direction away from himself, he informs Black that something outside of Black's scope of vision (what he can see on his phone screen) is relevant. These are deeply indexical gestures, and their meaning is not fully realised until Green turns his camera to focus on the girl. It is now clear that by pointing to his eyes he meant “something to look at” and by pointing he meant “over there – I'll show you.” Green has now introduced the dancing girl as something to be looked at, and has explained why he has abruptly turned the camera away from himself. Black's response (staring and grinning) indicates that he understood this communication By turning the camera phone away from himself, Green presents it to several girls who are put in the position of being able to see Black's image on the screen. They are also aware of the fact that Black is being a broadcast a video of them. Their response – clustering in front of the camera, smiling and dancing – is elicited by the introduction of a camera (Green's phone) and an audience (Black). By turning a video camera on them, Green is informing them that they are now the focus of attention. The video display of Black informs them of their audience. Black's positive facial expressions and gestures seem to serve to reinforce their behaviour and confirm the mood and nature of the communication between them. During seconds 27-28, Green turns the camera back to himself and makes a beckoning gesture to Black, whilst maintaining an expression of exaggerated delight. Again, this is a simple gesture with a multi-layered meaning. Green has succeeded in showing Black aspects of his environment (the dancing girls) that he considers desirable, and is now using his facial expression to convey the emotions that are associated with being in the environment he has defined. His beckoning gesture is not simply an invitation for Black to join his physical environment, he is also suggesting that should Black join him, Black will experience the same strongly positive emotions that Green is experiencing. In

this way, he requests Black's company and offers him an incentive to comply. Green's reaction during seconds 32-33 is in response to seeing Yellow put his arm around Black's shoulders. With an expression of confusion, he stares at the image on his screen. This unexpected, unexplained occurrence has interrupted the flow of communication between Green and Black, and Green's fixed gaze on the screen suggests he is searching the situation for clues to help him understand the development. The disturbance caused by this occurrence confirms the sequential and mutually understood nature of the previous communication between Black and Green. The unexpected event introduces chaos to the situation and Green must reassess the situation and attempt to make sense of it.
Black and Yellow

Black is sitting at the bar in a disco with his mobile phone in his hand. First, at seconds 2-3 we can see he is in a video conference with someone else on the phone, because he holds the phone in front of him without talking but just laughing. The scene is initially viewed from a position on the other side of the bar diametrically opposite. Yellow is sitting at the bar, opposite to Black. He can see Black clearly, but Black's right hand, as well as his mobile phone, are hiden by a decorative object standing on the bar. So, when Black raises his glass (which he does in response to the attention of the girl he is communication with through the phone), Yellow imagines this directed to him. The first reason why he believes this is that he does not see the phone. Video conference is not really widely spread yet (and was obviously quite a new technology when this video clip was shot a few years ago), so no one could imagine these gestures are addressed to a mobile phone. Indeed, when you see someone holding a phone in front of him, typing something, you can assume he is sending an SMS. It is so common that even if you cannot see the phone, just seeing someone staring at his hand, standing motionless, you can guess what he is doing. But if you see someone gesturing in front of a phone, it becomes harder to understand what is happening, because it involves a new technology you are not used to seeing, and there is no social « standard » to understand the behaviour involved in a public video conference. So it is impossible for someone who do not see the phone to guess the situation. After that Black is dancing and biting his lower lip, always sitting on his stool. We can see a view of Green's screen when Green is showing the dancing girls to the Black, and at that point we see Black drinking a sip from his glass. Then he makes an exaggerated expression of astonishment as it is described in the transcript. We can note that he behaves as he was in any other place, except he only answers with the aid of gestures to what he is seeing on the screen. The only behaviours shown by

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Black that are dependant on the specific psychical environment are that he is dancing sat on his stool and he has a glass with alcohol in his hand. These are the only things he certainly would not do if he were not in a disco. But otherwise he does not appear to care about or acknowledge the people around him. Black becomes aware that Yellow is approaching him only when Yellow touches his shoulder. Until this moment he did not notice what was happening around him. It is like he was in a bubble, that breaks when Yellow arrives. Let us now try to understand Yellow's reasoning just before he decided to come to Black, with a formal perspective, by studying his process of inquiry (based on Littlejohn's « Theories of human communication »), that is by studying how Yellow gathered the information that led to him behaving as he did. Littlejohn affirm this inquiry is made of three stages, not occurring one after one, but muddled and interdependent. According to Miller and Nicholson, inquiry's first step is nothing more than asking questions. In our case, this step appears to be missing: no one is speaking, and Yellow never asks any question to Black. But a careful observation of the scene shows something that could be considered to be a question: Yellow believes that Black sees him, which is not the case. Black is so caught up in his mobile conversation that he does not pay attention to anything happening around him. Yellow gives a coy response to Black raising his glass: he makes a shy smile and a litlle movement with his glass too, as he slightly raises his glass too, but in a much more discreet way. He is sure that Black is seeing him and looking at him, so this tiny answer can be seen as a kind of test, a way of asking « are you trying to pick me up? ». At this moment, Yellow seems indeed to have some doubts: his moves are tiny and discreet, he does not seem to be self-confident enough to approach Black without further encouragement. But to this question, the answer he gets (which is, of course, not directed at him), is a hand-movement from Black, appearing to invite Yellow to come close to him. Right after this gesture, Yellow turns and approaches Black, which suggests that the only thing Yellow was waiting for was a kind of confirmation, an answer to a question, that is what made us understand that Yellow's behaviour was actually his way of asking a question. The second step is observation. Observation can be lead in different ways: you can observe records, observe by being part of the scene, use specific measure instruments, etc. Here Yellow is observing the scene directly and is actually involved in the scene, since he is in the place and can influence the situation. The problem with this observation is that it is not complete, because of the object hiding the mobile phone. It is also not very precise since it is only a visual observation: he cannot hear anything and so has no aural clues.

The third stage is constructing answers, which is also called theory. This is nothing but the interpretation and understanding of what you observerd and asked. Cultural background is also important: this kind of gesture is usually used to pick up people. Yellow sees a man raising his glass to him and catch his eye, which is the usual way of saying « look at me », making kissing gestures towards him, and this behaviour is the typical behaviour of one who wants to attract someone else. Another environmental aspect could give Yellow confidence in his interpretation: the place in which this scene is taking place. Both are indeed in a disco. A common assumption about discos is that everyone is there to meet someone. Try to imagine a similar situation in a radically different place, like a museum or a hospital. You can imagine that Yellow would have been more careful about his interpretation of Black's behaviour. But here they are in a place where you are expecting people to try to meet up. So this could have affected Yellow's judgement. To sum up, we can analyse the communication between Yellow and Black from the point of view of Black through the different keys aspects in Ethnomethodology : From a members methods aspect, Black communicates with Yellow only by his presence in the disco. Black is not aware that Yellow is reading and interpreting all his gestures. So he does not really intend to give a particular meaning to his gestures for Yellow, this is what Yellow does not know. Black has no intention towards this man, the communication between them is just due to the fact that the two men are in the same place. For Black we cannot really talk about indexicality here, because he does not care about the place he is in. He only makes sense of the particular actions of the people he can see on the screen of his mobile phone. Maybe he is more expressive because he is in a disco with music, which can lead him to be more relaxed. But it is quite hard to speak about interaction from Black's point of view because “For persons to interact with one another requires that each has some grasp of what the other is doing or saying [or doing].” (http://www.sagepub.com/upmdata/9426_010179Chap1.pdf).So here we cannot say that Black interacts with Yellow because he is not at all aware of the presence of Yellow in the disco. Even if Black behaves as if he were alone, his behaviour influences the reasoning of people who are in the same environment than him. Indeed “the notion of the individual as an entity separate from society is incoherent and fails to recognize the all pervasive character of social life.” So in the end, the problem that leads to this misunderstanding, from Yellow's point of view, is not a problem of interpretation: Black was indeed trying to attract

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someone, except that it was not Yellow but Green and his female friends. The problem occurs in two first stages: The only question Yellow asks is not received by Black, which Yellow does not realise. The noisy atmosphere prevents any spoken question, which is clearly a handicap in this situation, because Yellow has to resort to gestures, which Black does not see. Yellow then has to interpret Black's gesture, which were not for him. The second problem is that Yellow's observations are not complete (he does not see the mobile). So contrary to our first ideas, misinterpretation of gestures is not really the problem for Yellow: his problem was mainly in obtaining the data he had to interpret, since he finally interpreted wrong data – data that was meant for somebody else.

is not normally a problem in conventional mobile phone use, because normally if somebody is speaking on a phone they are holding the handset to their ear and if they are sending an SMS they are holding the phone in front of them (in much the same way that Black is), but they are not executing communicative body language – they are concentrating on writing (or reading) their message. The problem encountered by Black in this situation is caused uniquely by the use of handheld video conversation technology. The apparent loss of awareness is confirmed by Black’s surprise and confusion upon being encountered by Yellow. We should emphasise the fact that in this video clip there is no oral conversation. One has to wonder if it this could be one part of the source of the misunderstanding. Maybe if either Black or Yellow had talked explicitely to the other it might have been more clear for them both. However, language, like behaviour, can be interpreted in different ways, for example we can attribute several meanings to the same sentence. So it seems that in this case it may not be so important that there is no spoken conversation between the characters. We can say also that there is not only one misunderstanding in this video clip. Each character is confronted by reality at the end of the clip, this situation is well stressed with the final picture on the screen of Green's phone - we can see the faces of all three men at the same time: Black and Yellow together in the main screen and Green in the little insert at the bottom of the screen. This video clip appears to demonstrate one noteworthy complication that can occur with the introduction of new technologies. Yellow could not see Black’s phone from his vantage point. Black’s hand (which, of course, could always potentially have been holding such a device) was also not visible. Had video phone technology been a more widely spread concept, Yellow may have considered this possibility as an explanation for Black’s behaviour. When new technology is introduced to the populous, particularly mobile technology, it takes some time for social conventions of proper and polite usage to become established. Perhaps it is Black’s ignorance and lack of sensitivity towards his social environment that is at fault, rather than blaming the phone.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS

Ethnomethodology, by definition, is a study of the ways in which people make sense of their social world. As this report has demonstrated, the body language of a person can mean very different things to different people, depending on the social context and circumstances under which the behaviour is observed. In this example technology plays a crucial role in all communication taking place. Without the mobile phone, Black and Green could not have constructed the non-verbal conversation. However, it is also the use of the mobile phone that causes Yellow to mistakenly perceive that Black is communicating with him. This is an interesting example of a mobile phone both assisting and sabotaging communication in a social situation. There are many unknown factors involved in this video clip, as is always the case when conducting an analysis of this nature. For example, we do not know with any certainty in which country the scene is taking place. There could be cultural factors of which we are unaware that influence the behaviour of the men involved. We do not know the relationship between Green or Black, or any of the men’s backgrounds. It could be the case, for example, that the disco is taking place in a gay nightclub, in which case Black appears even more foolish for his apparent ignorance of his situation. Our conclusions can be based only on the evidence presented to us. From our analysis we can conclude that Black’s use of a mobile phone led a loss of awareness of his own physical environment. The video conversation feature of the phone allows Black to immerse himself in Green’s environment and social context, and the problem seems to be that Black is unable to maintain awareness of both this remote environment and his own. While he is responding to the facial expressions and body language of participants in his phone call, he cannot pay sufficient attention to the people in his own environment, and as a result he is entirely ignorant of the fact that his own body language is being received by another person. This kind of misinterpretation

REFERENCES

1.Ethnomethodology and deviance , Sociology of Deviant Behavior by Robert Keel http://www.umsl.edu/~rkeel/200/ethdev.html 2.Graham Button, Ethnomethodology and the Human Sciences, Cambridge University Press,

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3.Ethnomethodology By Alain Coulon, Qualitativ Research Methods Series 4.Social Interaction, Language and Society http://www.sagepub.com/upmdata/9426_010179Chap1.pdf 5.Garfinkel, Harold. 1984. Studies in Etnomethodology. Malden MA: Polity Press/Blackwell Publishing. (ISBN 07456-0005-0) 6.Stephen W.Littlejohn “Theories of human communication” , Wadswotrh editions, sixth edition

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You can see the video clip at the following URL: http://www.dailymotion.com/visited/search/misunderstood/video/xe1qj_quiproquo

Picture 1

Picture 2

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