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Journal of Pragmatics 42 (2010) 2462–2474

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Membership-in-action: Operative identities in a family meal
Carly W. Butler a,*, Richard Fitzgerald b
a b

Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE11 3TU, UK School of Journalism and Communication, Joyce Ackroyd Building, The University of Queensland, QLD 4072, Australia



Article history: Received 6 November 2009 Received in revised form 3 March 2010 Accepted 15 March 2010 Keywords: Family Identity Membership categorization Conversation analysis

One challenge for conversation analytic research on identity is to demonstrate that and how identities are made relevant and consequential for the participants of an interaction. Drawing on Harvey Sacks’s work on membership categorization and conversation analytic methods, the aim of this paper is to explore the ‘reflexive codetermination’ (Schegloff, 2007a) of membership and social action—how participants make sense of particular actions through an orientation to locally relevant membership categories, and how category membership is invoked in the enactment of particular social actions. Using videorecordings of a meal shared by a young child, his parents, and his grandparents, the paper examines how identities are made operative in and through the moment-by-moment organization of specific sequences of action. The analysis examines how participants oriented to membership within stage-of-life and family categories, and as guests and hosts, and shows how the relevance of these memberships was enacted through, and consequential for, phenomena such as turn design, turn-taking organization and embodied action. In demonstrating how the relevance and consequentiality of a particular identity can shift over the course of a sequence the paper engages with analytic problems involved in research on identity—particularly with respect to the operation of social structural identities (such as child) when contextually bound identities (such as guest) are also potentially relevant and consequential. ß 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction This paper addresses the issue of identities and relationships as they are made operative in a sequence of interaction involving a family group. Drawing on ethnomethodological conversation analytic methods, the paper describes how family members display and use identities as child, parent and grandparent during a shared meal. Our analytic focus is not on families per se, but, on the practical organization of social actions that constitute family interactions, and when and how identities are invoked in and through the organization of particular instances of social action.1 Furthermore we engage with methodological issues involved in research invoking the relevance of identities in relation to social action, by treating identities as a topic rather than a resource for analysis. The analysis combines Harvey Sacks’s (1972a,b, 1979, 1995) work on membership categories with a conversation analytic interest in the sequential organization of talk-in-interaction (e.g. Schegloff, 2007c). The paper begins with a brief summary of Sacks’s account of membership categories and devices as a descriptive apparatus before then examining work on unspecified, or tacit, orientations to membership and identity. This

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +44 1509 223355. E-mail addresses:, (C.W. Butler), (R. Fitzgerald). 1 For examples of conversation analytic research on interactional practices within families, and between parents and children more generally, see, Forrester (2008), C. Goodwin (2007), M.H. Goodwin (2006, 2007), Wootton (1997, 2007). 0378-2166/$ – see front matter ß 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2010.03.006

child can be heard to go together using the membership category device ‘family’.b. Through the demonstration of how identities were exhibited. and the sequences in which identity ‘puzzles’ and ‘solutions’ were accomplished. including not only descriptions of people. Unlike most contemporary research. the analysis convincingly reveals the integral relationship between sequence and category membership. 1997a. It was argued that a ‘therapy’ device. child. the onus has been on analysts to demonstrate that and how identities. Sacks (1995) discussed how an utterance was analysed by members as ‘initiating a closing’ in a group therapy session by virtue of the speaker’s membership as ‘therapist’. 1.2. Categories. For example. 2002). such as woman. see Hester and Eglin. dentist. and similarly how the speaker’s identity is implicated in the characterization of social action. Fitzgerald / Journal of Pragmatics 42 (2010) 2462–2474 2463 background provides the conceptual and methodological frame through which the data examples are then examined. soccer player. as opposed to the use of formulations of categories and activities. 1991. 1972b:338). 2007a:473) of action and membership—that is. So. It deals with descriptive and inferential aspects of talk and text and looks at how people do and recognize descriptions and activities. 2002 for further discussions of omnirelevant devices). 1. Fitzgerald et al. Housley and Fitzgerald.1. and so on. The viewer’s maxim is another relevance rule in that it proposes that for a viewer of a category-bound activity the category to which the activity is bound has a special relevance for formulating an identification of its doer. and how identity can be examined without being explicitly referred to. Fitzgerald and Housley. 2008. and produce understandings and action. Within conversation analysis. 58) within the opening moments of their interaction. i. the membership categories mother. and when invoked the device had a priority for the local social action. Schenkein’s work is unfettered by the analytic boundaries that now regularly divide conversation analysis and membership categorization analysis. or categories. interpret. 1998). One aspect of this relates to the use and recognizability of membership categories – classifications of types of people. In this respect. are made relevant and consequential to the members themselves in the moment-by-moment organization of their interactions (Schegloff. the device served as both an inferential and organizational framework (see also Butler. how sense is made of particular actions by virtue of the locally relevant identity of the speaker. Butler. in light of current methodological issues around the study of identity in interaction.C. 1992. 1987. then: see it that way. (Sacks. engaged and disengaged with in and through the sequential organisation of talk. Sacks suggested that certain categories can be heard to ‘go together’ using membership categorization devices (MCDs) – composed of the collections of categories and rules for their application. and has been drawn on widely in ethnomethodologically inspired research on identity (see for example Antaki and Widdicombe. for instance. however. father. the relevance of . Work in this domain has examined how categories are deployed in the descriptions people make. An interest in the tacit aspects of membership categorization. and the associated hearer’s and viewer’s maxims. The application of Sacks’s discussions of the use of categories and devices in describing people and actions has been a focus of subsequent research in the area that has been termed ‘membership categorization analysis’ (MCA. R. 2002. with the categories of therapists and patients. negotiated. In one of the earliest ethnomethodological examinations of the sequential resources through which identity is made relevant in interaction. had an omnirelevance for the interaction in the sense that it served as a locus for social action within the bounds of the encounter. but of people’s actions through consideration of category bound activities (actions that are tied to a particular category membership such as ‘crying’ is to ‘baby’ in Sacks’s (1972b) classic example). 2007a). Tacitly invoked membership A much less explored domain of Sacks’s work on membership categories relates to the ways in which MCDs are invoked without the use of any category terms. 1979. Sacks and membership categorization Sacks’s (1972a. Schenkein’s focus was on ‘identity-rich’ aspects of the turns at talk. 1995) work on membership categories addresses the sense-making and reasoning practices people use in producing social action and social order in everyday life. and the ‘categoryboundedness’ of certain activities. Buddhist. Thus. the relevance of category membership and devices beyond instances of description. the viewer’s maxims relate to how membership and action are observed and understood: If a Member sees a category-bound activity being done. In many respects. McHoul and Rapley. Schenkein (1978a) examined how a ‘salesman’ and ‘client’ ‘‘juggle(d) their official and abstract identities with informal and personal identities’’ (p. has the potential to lead to what Schegloff (1995a) described as a ‘promiscuous’ analytic application of interpretations to members’ conduct that is not grounded in the details of talk in the way that is generally regarded to be essential in conversation analytic research. One aspect of this involves examination of the ‘reflexive co-determination’ (Schegloff. 2009. actions and memberships were understood and generated through the operation of the device. if one can see it being done by a member of a category to which the activity is bound.e.. Whereas the hearer’s maxim refers to the ways in which formulated descriptions of members are heard as being consistent and recognizable.W. therefore serve as a sense-making device to account for. then. The maxims thus provide for the recognizability of category membership in situated contexts.

See also Stokoe (2009) for a discussion of how category membership is invoked and used in self-disclosures by police officers. as two friends. their son. 2006. under review). Some of Sacks’s work on identity. and the categorial organization (in the sense of ‘the tacit relationships between the parties that emerge into relevance over the course of the sequence and come eventually to drive it’ (p. Stokoe shows how these aspects of turn design can be used to invite the recipient to recognize their shared membership with the speaker. but that identities that were not being used at the beginning of the interaction came to be employed. Sacks described how some identities became ‘operative identities’ (p. In this work. Stokoe.W. xxvii). Stokoe and Smithson. Stokoe. followed by a ‘threat’ (along the lines of the man becoming sick if he didn’t eat). To this end. Stokoe (under review) describes how shared membership can be made relevant through a systematic categorial practice with three co-occurring turn design features: a description. and their (widowed) stepfather. and so on) on the one hand. March 11). After an offer was rejected. 2008. an explicit concern with how people analyse the memberships of their co-interactants has rarely been the focus of much conversation analytic research.g. For example.2 With few exceptions. turn content. While recent work has emphasized the value of such integration (e. 2009. Sacks’s analysis – while absent of any references to categories and MCDs – is a compelling demonstration of how the sequential and inferential orders of interaction can be examined in parallel in a way which contributes to both endeavours. 2002. although recent work has begun to demonstrate that and how the identities and relationships of members are made relevant in talk without the use of explicit category terms (Benwell and Stokoe. 3 Using both institutional and conversational data. the work is closely aligned with the aims and procedures of conversation analytic research. Schegloff (1995b) describes Sacks’s analysis of this data as a presenting ‘both ends of a range of types of analysis which often appeal differentially to readers of conversation-analytic work’ (p. 2. 2005. The different appeals of the analysis relate to the interest in the sequential organization of talk (how an offer is followed by a request and then a threat. Pomerantz and Mandelbaum. Hester and Eglin. Butler. and the trajectory of the sequence. . ‘‘. In this sense. Schegloff (1972) discusses the notion of ‘recipient design’ as involving a ‘members analysis’—people take into account who they are talking to in the design and organization of their turns at talk. 2 As Watson (1981. which has sought to demonstrate how the identities of the parties involved are demonstrably oriented to within the interactions on a moment-by-moment basis (e. 327)—that is. R. 1997b. while the course of the recipient design is itself conducted through consultation of the emergent membership analysis’’. was consequential for aspects of turn design. 99) writes. 2006. A membership analysis is established. Winter 1971. Sacks examined an extended sequence of mealtime talk between a middle-aged couple. and offers a promising way forward in integrating sequential conversation analysis with its rarely explicated interest in ‘who speakers are’ in relation to one another and the local interaction. Raymond and Heritage (2006) discuss how the identity of a speaker as a ‘grandparent’ is made demonstrably relevant and consequential in the production of assessments about her grandchildren in a telephone conversation with her friend. identities that were produced and made relevant over the course of an interaction. presented after he appeared to have stopped using the terminology of his earlier membership categorization work. 1997). For instance. . The analysis begins not with a characterization of the participants of the interaction (i. Butler. There has been less research on ‘tacit’ invocations of identities in everyday conversational settings.2464 C. Raymond and Heritage. 1978a. offers a variant of this sort of analysis. 1984). but traces how certain identities are made ‘operative’ over the course of a single interaction. Through an integrated analysis of membership and sequential work. Raymond and Heritage (2006) began with the identification of a generic and recurring practice for asserting and orienting to epistemic rights within assessments and then used this analysis to identify orientations to particular memberships in a particular piece of data. the procedures of ‘membershipping’ and of recipient design are reflexively related phenomena. Watson. and how the sequential organization of the interaction. 2006. the operative identity of the ‘old man’ as an ‘old man’.3 Moreover. involved the generation of the relevance of the members’ identities. p. and as a ‘burden’ was accomplished through the repeated attempts of the man’s son and daughter-in-law to get him to eat some herring. Housley and Fitzgerald. One exception is the body of research on talk in institutional settings. As such. through the vehicle of recipient design. the paper demonstrates clearly how recipient design is actively and systematically accomplished within talk for interactional purposes. This is not to suggest that the identities were created in the midst of an interaction. The focus of the discussion was on the recognizability of identity through the actions being done by the participants. . Schenkein.e. the methodological and analytic form that such integration may take remains underdeveloped and somewhat contentious (see for example Carlin’s (2010) discussion of Schegloff’s (2007a) ‘tutorial on membership categorization’). Wilson. Fitzgerald / Journal of Pragmatics 42 (2010) 2462–2474 members’ identities for making sense of the social actions observed by the analyst is an underlying and regularly unexplicated component of conversation analyses. the identity of one member of the interaction as the ‘grandparent’. The paper continues with a single case analysis which demonstrates how the primary epistemic rights of the grandparent are oriented to throughout an extended sequence. Zimmerman. without being explicitly named as such. a categorization and a common knowledge component. Fitzgerald and Housley. 2005). Butler. it has seldom been topicalised as a domain of interactional practice in its own accord. this work does not focus on a particular interactional practice. 2008. 2002. 1991. but with the practices for doing assessments and how epistemic rights are managed within this social action (Heritage and Raymond. or as grandparents). but used a particular piece of data to illustrate how structural practices are employed to make identities relevant and consequential. they did not begin with the question of who the members were and then seek to show this. 2001. Unlike Raymond and Heritage (2006). while recipient design is assumed and core to the analytic approach. In a section of a lecture titled ‘The ‘old man’ as an evolved natural object’ (Vol. xxvii)) on the other.g. a request was delivered. in part. and specific instances within it.

It is only by virtue of the analyst’s membership within a culture shared by the people they study that they can ‘see’ identities such as ‘old man as a burden’ and ‘friend’ (e. 2006. Fitzgerald / Journal of Pragmatics 42 (2010) 2462–2474 2465 1. To this end. In this way the analysis draws on common-sense understandings about children and parents. but estimated to be around two to three years old). the analysis embraces and explores the equivocality inherent in claims about social structural membership in categories such as ‘child’. but through analysis of the sense-making practices that could be seen to be invoked through the organization of social action. and begins as Jason and his parents Sara and Eric are taking their seats at the table.3. but. that the multiple memberships that a person may have are variously made relevant and consequential (or not) in the course of particular episodes of interaction. The following discussion explores membership categorization and the operation of membership categorization devices within a family meal in a way that is unashamedly provisional and deniable. such as arguing that some aspect of the talk is bound to a particular category.C. As such. The analysis itself offers further discussion of how memberships as guest and host are displayed. by looking at sequences of action on a turn-by-turn basis. Kate remains standing and is placing things on the table. and showing how membership and identity are organized in this way. so. Data and analysis The data used in this study is a video-recording of a breakfast between family members—one child (age unknown. and looking at the table settings. This interpretation of the context is driven entirely by the organization of the actions of the various participants of the meal and it is with a strong sense of certainty that this claim is made. 2. 1995) in particular instances of interaction. The fact that the matter of ‘whose house it is’ is observable in the data – without any explicit reference to this actually being the case throughout the whole recording – offers an illustration of the viewer’s maxim in action. While conversation analytic researchers seek as much as possible to avoid transposing their own common-sense understandings onto a piece of data (indeed. and made relevant and consequential in and for the interaction. Pomerantz and Mandelbaum. rather. the analyst risks relying on cultural knowledge in a way which has the potential to overlook and override the sense-making practices of the participants themselves. so (tentative) claims about the relationships of the participants and other ethnographic information are deduced from the data itself. The analysis is grounded by its interest in the sequential organization of talk-in-interaction using conversation analysis. and to reveal aspects of the ‘reflexive codetermination’ (Schegloff. 5 4 .g. 2. As such the paper is not intended to offer a broad picture of family interaction. 1972b) when they aim to make sense of a scene (Wilson. The viewer’s maxim as analytic resource In making claims about the relevance and consequentiality of identities where such identities are not explicitly formulated. 2006:84). claims about identities that are seen to be invoked or alluded to in talk can be seen as provisional and deniable (Benwell and Stokoe. but it extends this by exploring the inferential order that the participants appear to draw on and produce in the organization of social action. while Bob is Participants gave consent for the data to be used by other researchers. is that in these small segments we see some practices which may be more generalizable—not in terms of looking at ‘family’ talk. 1. Benwell and Stokoe. The breadth of the analysis. In seeking to integrate Sacks’s work on membership categories and devices with a detailed sequential analysis. Butler. Kate is at the head of the table facing the camera. and subsequently conduct themselves and are treated as a person with that identity for the entirety of that interaction. The actions of all participants can be used to categorize them as ‘guests’ and ‘hosts’. but of locally and contextually bound memberships (such as guest and host) as they are made relevant in and through sequences of action.5 In Fig. 2005) being made relevant and consequential within an interaction. It is narrower in the sense that the analysis looks at small segments of talk between a particular group of people in a particular time and place in order to see what is happening here. but as something enacted and made operational (and relevant and consequential) by members themselves in the course of interacting with one another. or how specific types of identities are invoked in interaction. his parents. It does this by exploring the idea of MCDs as not simply an ‘analysts’ resource. and its intended key contribution. but in a methodological sense. 2007) and made available to the first author. Invoking membership through speaker selection The first extract is from the very start of the recording. the interest in ethnomethods requires this). it is not that participants enter an interaction with a particular identity. 2007a) of membership and action. Sara and Eric are seen sitting at the left hand side of the table. the analysis considers not just the relevance of social structural identities (such as child and parent). As such. It would appear that the child (Jason) and parents (Eric and Sara) are visiting Eric’s parents (Kate and Bob). for example. but the aim is to unpack when and how the members orient to membership in these categories (and to other category memberships) in the moment-by-moment unfolding of a sequence of action. in Sacks’s (1972b) terms ‘if you see it that way then see it that way’ (p. and his grandparents. The data was collected as part of a Masters dissertation (Sheriff. The aim is both narrower and broader than this. As such. it is in some respects inevitable that researchers will themselves employ the viewer’s maxim (Sacks. the focus of the analysis becomes how the identities and memberships of people are implicated in the production and organization of social action.1. The paper is based on just three short excerpts of talk from one interaction that is not much more than an hour long. That is. with Bob to the right. 1991). This aim is undertaken without relying on instances where category terms are explicitly used. the paper aims to show how various memberships are made operative (Sacks. R.338). and Jason with his back to the camera.4 Very little is known about the details of the participants.W.

328). . having to do with whose place this is. . and across the subsequent talk. 1995. who it is that’s being referred to. The situation established by Eric’s offer of a ‘big breakfast’ for Jason may trigger the organization of this particular task (establishing whether Jason needs a plate) at this particular moment.’’ (p. during and after her utterance. In making the offer. relative to this place . Butler. This delegation is then ratified by Sara’s collective reference form ‘let’s’ at line 10. returning to his seat after switching on the video camera. . in that it positions the utterance in relation to the talk and action around it.these sorts of statements occur with serious restrictions on them. Fitzgerald / Journal of Pragmatics 42 (2010) 2462–2474 Fig. the design of the offer. 2:22). Kate’s gaze is on the table before. 2003). There are plates of food at the settings for the adults. Kate’s interrogatively produced offer. R. not anybody in a room with persons gathered around on some social occasion says something like ‘‘bring out the drinks’’ or ‘‘bring out the herring’’ . and Kate’s offer appears to treat the absence of plate for Jason as problematic following Eric’s offer of a ‘big breakfast’ for him. that Ethel does it. Thus. vol. . also sets into play the relevancies of Jason’s membership as a child and Kate and Eric’s memberships as parents. but nothing in front of the seat that Jason sits in. her membership as a ‘host’ could be heard to be in operation here. and whom it selects as next speaker. . . 2007c) to the offer which appears to break the contiguity between the sequential locator and the offer. . The 6 Kate’s quietly spoken and cut off ‘now’ (line 7) possibly serves as a ‘sequential locator’ (Sacks. which means that making sense of who is being selected to answer is accomplished tacitly (Lerner. she does by virtue of a series of positions she has. we can see Kate’s offer as predicated to her role as host—as part of ensuring that the guests have the provisions that they need. Curl (2006) suggests that ‘do you want’ prefaced offers are regularly used when a problem has been educed from prior talk. The interest is in the identities and relationships invoked through the offer of a plate for Jason (lines 7–8). Kate cuts off the ‘now’ and ‘rushes through’ (Schegloff. 1. . That said. Kate displays an orientation to the practicalities of the meal and by assuming responsibility for providing plates.W. As Sacks (1995) says in relation to ‘Ethel’s’ management of the herring being brought to the table by asking her husband to bring it out for ‘Max’ (the ‘old man’) to try: .6 However. It demonstrates Kate’s ongoing concern with ‘preparing the table’ and marks the offer of a plate as just one activity within a broader sequence of activity. which may be explained by the delegation of the responsibility for managing this task to Eric and/or Sara.2466 C. The ‘family’. ‘do you want a separate plate for him’ follows Eric’s offer to Jason of a ‘(big) breakfast with Daddy’ (lines 1 and 3). .

a reference form (Sara’s ‘let’s).e. Sara begins to respond to Kate with ‘Oh let’s:’. and then Sara. 1995). It may be the case that she sees Eric’s nodding confirmation of Jason’s response. the ways in which this is invoked and oriented to within this short segment of action demonstrates how this identity is made operative as part and parcel of social action (Sacks. and a nod (Jason’s response). while memberships are not explicated in the talk itself. but are integral to the accomplishment of action and intersubjectivity across the sequence. whether they have a ‘separate’ plate). In addition. . The visual data. Eric briefly holds his posture (he has just sat down in his chair) and. Jason nods as an acceptance which demonstrates his understanding of himself as the person referred to by Kate. Sara’s response collapses the memberships made relevant in this offer and instead distributes responsibility for the decision about whether Jason gets a plate to a larger group that is heard to include Kate. Kate’s response is designed as an agreement rather than an acceptance. 2).2 second silence at line 3 following Kate’s question. Layering membership relevance within an expansion sequence The next example also involves an offer of something for Jason. The relevance of category memberships and their predicated rights and responsibilities are not simply invoked and displayed (i. and the underlying preposition of this (that Jason does not have his own plate) as inapposite—Jason clearly needs a plate unless he is ‘spoon-fed’ or his food is given to him on the table. While. although Bob observes Jason nodding. In so doing. The relevance and consequentiality of the family device and stage-of-life are thus inseparable within this extract. Bob. but are transformed. Jason self-selects when someone else has been asked to respond). 8 It should be noted that Kate turns towards the kitchen to get a plate at ‘let’s’ in Sara’s turn. So. Eric and/or Sara have been asked to answer ‘on behalf’ of Jason. and of Eric’s gaze as selecting him to respond to Kate’s offer. the practices of speaker selection and turn design position the various members in terms of their identities and relationships with one another. unpublished) for further discussions of how membership (including aspects of entitlement and authority) can be implicated in practices of speaker selection. in that Jason is displaying responsibilities for an activity that his parents have been accorded rights to and responsibilities for. however.8 As Heritage (1998) suggests. laugh. 2. As Sara is answering Kate. Kate’s offer. we could understand Kate to be invoking a family device through an orientation to the rights and responsibilities predicated to the memberships parent– child. ‘oh-prefaced’ responses to enquiries are used to display that a question is problematic in terms of its ‘relevance. Bob announces Jason’s nod. This could be understood as a form of ‘partitioning’ that makes Kate a co-member with Sara and Eric (Sacks. R. The relevance of membership and ‘family identities’ and ‘stage-of-life’ membership is produced and oriented to in the minutiae of the moment-by-moment interaction. While directing the offer of a plate for Jason to his parents invokes the rights and responsibilities of the parents. then. and Eric and Sara – as Jason’s parents – are implicitly selected to accept or reject the offer on his behalf. Importantly for what happens next. Butler. As such.2. then turns towards Jason’s empty setting at the table and restarts her turn with ‘yeah let’s give him a plate’ (line 4) which accepts Kate’s offer. Jason’s apparent self-selection displays an independence that challenges the category-boundedness of rights and competencies that were invoked in Kate’s question through the invocation of the stage-of-life device.7 In the 1. which skillfully manages the inapposite nature of Kate’s offer and the presuppositions it embodied. Through these non-verbal actions (Eric’s gaze and Jason’s nod). none of the other members appear to see Eric select Jason. the sequence is expanded in a way that both reveals and generates operational identities of the 7 See Lerner (1993. The use of the collective reference ‘let’s’ does further work that points to the reflexive relationship between membership and action. In this way he selects Jason to accept or reject Kate’s offer.C. arguably it is Jason’s membership that is made relevant in treating his apparent self-selection as humorous. While Eric and/or Sara (as ‘parents’) had been invited to respond to the offer. Category memberships are thus not merely tied to the actions being done in this sequence and the understandings that people display in relation to these actions. 1995). Fitzgerald / Journal of Pragmatics 42 (2010) 2462–2474 2467 third person reference to Jason excludes him as a recipient. challenged and perhaps even undermined in the fine detail of talk-in-interaction—through a gaze (Eric’s selection of Jason). appropriateness or presuppositions’ (p. 295).e. Jason’s response can be understood as (and is treated as) a category-predicate disjuncture. Kate’s selection of Eric and/or Sara and use of ‘him’ to refer to Jason). does not appear to show her observing Jason’s nod as her gaze is held throughout towards the table. Sara’s ‘oh’ treats the question. the apparent inappositeness of Jason’s response could be understood in terms of sequential organization (i. After Jason accepts the offer. through invocation of their membership as ‘parents’ and Jason’s stage-of-life membership as a child—but by selecting Jason and treating him as the proper person to determine whether he has a plate. The laughter – and that Jason’s nod is treated as an observable – orients to Jason’s apparent self-selection as inapposite in the sense that Jason indicated his ‘want’ of a plate when he was not personally offered one (given that neither Bob or Sara saw that Jason had effectively been invited to respond). 2003. leaning forward. By answering for himself rather than having Sara or Eric decide for him. While Jason’s membership as a child of Sara and Eric is a stable and structural reality.W. it is based on presuppositions about the predicated activities of Jason as a young child. operates on the common-sense understanding that parents make decisions relating to their child (in this case. Eric nods in response—perhaps an embodied version of a ‘repeat’ for confirmation. When Jason nods. looks directly at Jason (Fig. but this time the offer is made directly to Jason. Eric dissipates the interactional relevance of these memberships. the identity-relevant aspects of the way Kate delivered the offer are somewhat deflected.

At the beginning of the extract shown. Beginning at line 8 Kate looks at Jason. The noticing also effectively brings a halt to the ongoing conversation.2468 C. 3)9 which Bob appears to notice and follows her gaze to Jason. At this point all of the adults turn to Jason. 2. Fitzgerald / Journal of Pragmatics 42 (2010) 2462–2474 Fig. As Jason reaches the end of his drink he makes a loud slurping noise before placing his cup on the table. . participants. Jason is drinking milk from his cup. She does so with a smile and tilts her head slightly while watching him (Fig. R. [Line 9]. but there is no orientation to this 9 The double lines indicate the point in the transcript at which the still was taken. who has tipped the cup up horizontally while drinking. Kate’s observation ‘I think you’re finished?’ (line 12) is triggered by Jason’s embodied displays of having emptied his cup. Bob is talking about attending his daughter’s graduation with the attention of Sara and Eric (and initially Kate). It seems tempting to argue that Jason’s ‘slurping’ is done by virtue of his membership as a child. with laughter by Kate and smiles by the others. with Bob not bringing his turn to completion. Butler. and perhaps as some sort of ‘attention-getting’ device.W.

with the ‘then’ indicating the contingency of some display of ‘good manners’ after this acceptance of an offer. 1972b). Similar repetitions occur in adult talk (e. First. Through this intervening action (Lerner. . and rests on the analyst’s deployment of the viewer’s maxim (Sacks. a questioning assertion that appears to be triggered by the slurping and invites confirmation. Kate and Eric’s repeats might serve as redo invitations—which ‘invites the last speaker to repeat some last operation and come up with a different response’ (Schegloff. Eric clearly accomplishes more than mere repetition. . ‘more?’ which serves as a (re-)confirmation request. They may also be seen to invite their child to correct or otherwise alter what they have said as a predicate of being a parent. It is 10 As Jason’s nod was very slight and there was not a verbalized response. Eric self-selects to essentially repeat Kate’s initial offer at line 13 with ‘want some more?’ (line 24). and does so in overlap with a pursuit already set in place through Kate’s repeat. Eric’s repetition of the offer (which. When parents repeat what other adults say to children. . fn 14.’ (pp. or confirm his acceptance following the repeats. This response is met with laughter from his parents and a positive assessment from both grandparents. As Lerner (unpublished) suggests. there is evidence that these repeats are dealing with the adequacy of Jason’s response and in these latter turns do orient to Jason’s membership as a child in prompting for a revised acceptance. It seems plausible to treat this as an example of an adult encouraging a child to communicate in a certain way. italics in original). In overlap.C. There do not appear to be any categories invoked through Kate’s offer other than offer-maker and offer-recipient. their competence as interactants can be brought into question at each point at which a contribution might be called for and it is brought into view in terms of each specific moment-to-moment opportunity to participate . . pragmatically. To invoke a stage-of-life device at this point would therefore fail to provide anything analytically interesting other than a demonstration of the analyst’s own. as Jason’s father. This is immediately followed by a prompt from Eric—‘what do you say then?’ Jason’s response. they may be invoking their greater rights to speak to their children and their greater familiarity with the language competencies of their child. remember has already been accepted) thus appears to make relevant category memberships that are lessstraightforwardly offer-maker and offer-recipient. Eric is doing something additional to this and initiates the deployment of the categorization device that becomes more evident in the subsequent turns. and/or a treatment of Jason’s response as not adequate. speculative.g. although Kate’s membership as host is potentially made resonant by virtue of the action of offering food and drink being seen as predicated to this category. action as being ‘category-bound’ by the other participants. although there is little in the data itself to suggest that is Jason’s membership as a child that is oriented to through the repeated offer. however. but is instead more suggestive of a request for more milk. there appears to be a stronger analytic warrant for bringing in the relevance and consequentiality of the stage-of-life device. the offer sequence is then expanded and in the course of this expansion other memberships are made relevant and consequential. ‘some more grandma’ is not a fitted response (such as ‘yes please’) in that it is not clearly an acceptance of an offer. ‘you want some more?’ (line 13). Over subsequent turns. Over the course of the expansion. it is clear that identities other than offer-maker and offer-recipient are made operative. 3. Given what happens in the subsequent turns. moments of heightened normativity are taken as teachable moments – as opportunities to instruct and model. Butler. common-sense reading of this action. R. Eric’s offer at line 16 is in many respects redundant in that he is repeating something that has already been said. then. 1984:40).10 The prompting ‘what do you say then’ (line 18) is idiomatic in its recognizability as a request for a child to say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’. 1984)—the local issue here is whether Jason’s response was adequate and this in itself does not reveal the operation of specifically ‘child’ membership. After the action of pouring is already underway. Kate announces that ‘Mummy will pour it’ for him. Kate follows her noticing with an offer. [line 8 ‘‘they’re//all as excited’’].W. however. 50–51. Kate then ‘grants’ Jason more milk as contingent on his response. and Sara begins to pick up the milk to pour it. One very gross and formalistic interpretation of what transpires is that Eric. Kate has made an offer. . the question of the ability of very young children to respond has an ‘ongoing relevance for their coparticipants—that is. However. completes the sequence and ratifies Jason’s membership as offer-recipient. Fitzgerald / Journal of Pragmatics 42 (2010) 2462–2474 2469 Fig. The grossness of this description of the action comes from its grounding within a common-sense understanding of ‘the sorts of things parents do’. is undertaking a kind of ‘relaying’ of the question. Jason nods very slightly as an acceptance which. Jason nods very slightly to accept the offer (again). unpublished). Schegloff. Kate repeats the offer with a modified repeat of her initial offer.

Sara turns to Jason and sees 11 It could also be suggested that the announcement that ‘Mummy will pour it for you’ – and the fact that Sara immediately begins to pour the milk once an adequate response had been given – is a display of the relevance of stage-of-life membership in that Jason’s age means he cannot pour the milk for himself. the adults begin ‘talking amongst themselves’. and inextricably linked with. and a child of Eric (family) is made operative within this sequence and layered over the underlying operation of the guest– host device which could be said to have an omnirelevance for this interaction (see Fitzgerald and Housley. some expected and appropriate utterance has not been produced. and the prompt for a particular type of acceptance demonstrates the relevance and consequences of these expectations. but it further establishes Kate’s role as the person who offered Jason the milk. As such. Most likely.W. thereby implicating the operation of a parent–child relational pair using the family device. Mehan. . So. While Kate is relaying a cartoon in the newspaper to Eric and Bob (untranscribed). the positive assessments of the grandparents demonstrate an orientation to the way Jason has delivered his response and the action he has done. Operative relevance of contextually bound memberships Extract 3 occurs just over thirty seconds after extract 2. while Eric as the parent displays some sort of responsibility with regard to monitoring and correcting Jason’s response. the sequence begins and ends with an orientation to membership as ‘offer-maker’ and ‘offer-recipient’. In this case. age and parent/child) might instead be viewed in terms of these locally relevant identities. Butler.g. 2.11 Thus at the head and tail of this sequence. That is. If we were to take out the expansion sequence (Schegloff. After Sara has already begun to pour Jason the milk. namely of guest and host. 2007c). but in that it is assumed that the child ‘knows’ what to say but has not yet said it. it would be treated as a joke. Eric and Sara as guests at a breakfast hosted by Kate and Bob. and ratifies her membership as host that was made resonant through her initial offer. what would be left is: 13 14 27 Kate: You want some more? Jason: (nods) Kate: Mummy will pour it for you By granting her permission for Jason to have some more—albeit contingent on the ‘proper’ response by Jason. by saying ‘you can have some more now’ does further pedagogical work. So. but for the way in which this action is carried out. 1979): the father prompts for a particular response (inviting a ‘known answer’). rather than a device based on social structural membership. We can view this sort of sanctioning of the adequacy of a child’s response as predicated to parents. Fitzgerald / Journal of Pragmatics 42 (2010) 2462–2474 a ‘known answer’ question not only in the sense that the parent knows what will be said. After Jason has his milk. R. The apparent deployment of a contextually bounded device for organising action in extract 2 – at least in its beginning and end – raises the question of whether ostensible displays of social structural identities and relationships (i. Kate adds ‘Mummy will pour it for you’. However. his acceptance is clearly being treated as inadequate. while one might want to claim that the family device is deployed by virtue of the selection of ‘Mummy’ to pour the milk. While the viewer’s maxim allows us to make sense of the scene in this way. the child gives the response. this demonstrates how the dual membership of categories such as ‘child’ within various devices is made relevant in the moment-by-moment organisation of turns and social actions. it is through the operation of the stage-of-life device – in concert with. 2002). Jason’s response has been monitored not only for whether it completes the adjacency pair offer-accept (which it does).2470 C. arguably it is the operation of the guest-host device that is more immediately and locally relevant and consequential.e. The differential relevance and consequentiality of the various memberships of the participants thus changes over the course of turns at talk—identities potentially relevant at the beginning and end of the sequence are less relevant in the intervening talk. it is not possible to separate the family device from the stage-of-life device in this instance. Eric’s father—had prompted Eric with ‘what do you say then’ (adult parent to adult child) an entirely different action would be accorded it. The positive assessment is in third position—which gives the sequence a pedagogical frame with a classic Initiation-Response-Evaluation sequence (IRE. ‘some more grandma’ in response to this prompt. and the absence of this is treated as accountable. we see the operation of a more contextually situated device. Kate’s orientation to the contingency of ‘more milk’ on a polite request. Further to this. and the grandparents evaluate this. When Jason delivers his request. at the point of Eric’s interjection in the sequence (and potentially in Kate’s repeat at line 15). Jason’s membership as a child (stage-of-life). This is a sequentially irrelevant turn (given that the action has already commenced and is obvious). However. Parents have a particular entitlement with respect to actions such as this that other adults do not have (without being seen to be overstepping the mark or in some way undermining or criticising the parent). this would appear to be more of a practical issue than a categorical one given that Kate is at the other end of the table. The following example presents a brief interaction in which there is considerable ambiguity in terms of which device is operational for the accomplishment of social action.3. Kate also reorients to her membership as ‘offerer’ and host. with a stage-of-life or family device implicated in the way the sequence plays out. memberships other than offer-maker and offer-recipient are clearly and unequivocally brought into play. A common-sense gloss of what is going on in this extract is the deployment of the stage-of-life device in the sense that Jason’s membership as a child seems highly relevant to the way the sequence pans out. e. If Bob. the operation of the family device – that this prompt seems ‘normal’ and given a routine flavour. This local device is one which can be used to categorize Jason.

e. and is organized by. what is said is not a display to the others and is exclusively for Jason. 4. but what is made relevant in Sara’s directive is why he should drink nicely at this particular moment. The meal itself is not a routine and everyday interaction. There is thus a locally specific device in play which both organizes. While both of these instances revolve around Jason’s competencies as a child (thereby making the stageof-life device relevant) and are managed through the invocation of a family device. In this sense. and the unique aspects of this encounter are used as a resource for organising action. and Jason in relation to grandma in the sense of him being a visitor. Kate demonstrates her lack of understanding about ‘usual practice’ in relation to feeding Jason. In this sense it would seem that meals with the grandparents are something of a ‘special’ event and not a regular occurrence. Jason is oriented to as having the capacity to drink nicely. the category membership of Jason as both a ‘grandchild’ and a ‘guest’ could be seen to be made relevant here. Fitzgerald / Journal of Pragmatics 42 (2010) 2462–2474 2471 Fig. The rules for appropriate drinking behaviour can. while leaning towards him (see Fig. [Line 4. they also demonstrate the operational relevance of the local context. grandma may be unaware of Jason’s ability to drink nicely. By telling Jason to ‘show’ these competencies to ‘grandma’ it seems apparent that unless they are displayed. Kate’s selection of Sara and Eric to accept or reject an offer of a plate for Jason does not only invoke family and stage-of-life devices. does Jason have his own plate and can Jason drink nicely). that a particular MCD is invoked. and Sara’s turns are directed directly straight to Jason in a quiet voice. him with his hand in his cup of freshly poured milk. the directive to ‘show grandma’ nice drinking ‘from a cup’ makes relevant a device other than ‘parent–child’ by orienting to the particularities of this meal and Jason’s membership as a ‘guest at grandmas’ house’. //drink it up nicely]. In inviting a display of ‘nice drinking’. With this in mind. In that grandma’s potential observation of how Jason drinks is used to account for and justify the directive. potentially. R. It should be noted in the first instance that this interaction between Sara and Jason takes place without any attention from the other meal participants.W. Butler. 2007b). we might revisit the discussion of extract one. Sara appears to be doing straightforward ‘parenting work’ in this example in the sense that she is telling Jason to drink nicely. as someone who has access to his abilities and competencies. an extrinsic value is attached to ‘normative’ drinking. the action within this bounded encounter. Rules around eating and drinking are a fundamental aspect of social and cultural norms—what is interesting here is the directive for Jason to display his adherence to these norms ‘to Grandma’. 4). . but also reveals the operational relevance of the local context. On the one hand. Therefore. be produced by virtue of this locally relevant device. the person reference makes the membership categories relevant. So. It should be noted that while Sara uses ‘grandma’ as person reference and does not ‘do categorization’ with this reference (Schegloff. there is an orientation to the specific context of the meal.C. Sara invokes her knowledge about how ‘nicely’ Jason can drink. It is not by virtue of the use of the reference term but through the action itself that the memberships of grandma. She reprimands him with ‘hey’ and physically removes his hand from the milk. One aspect of this is an understanding – or lack thereof – about regular behaviours (i.

relying too heavily on these cultural understandings can effectively obscure the operation of contextually specific memberships. 2008). When dealing with practices and actions in relation to what are often treated as omnirelevant categories (such as age). Schenkein. however. It is difficult to resist the temptation to look at interactions between children and adults and use their membership within different stage-of-life or relational categories to describe what goes on and how social action is organized. A person’s membership in a social structural category may be always potentially relevant. But when Jason’s nod was treated as inadequate and Kate and Eric prompt for a different kind of response. in the sequential production of social actions. in the first instance. But. What analyses such as the one presented here offer is an account of when and how these undeniably category-bound activities are brought into play by members themselves. in extract one. While memberships as child. 1972b). Specifically. consistent with the conversation ‘analytic mentality’ (cf. To some extent. parent. essential. so too are any number of memberships. Fitzgerald / Journal of Pragmatics 42 (2010) 2462–2474 If context can be understood as ‘who-we-are-and-what-we-are-doing. Use of the viewer’s maxim allows us to make sense of actions by invoking the relevance of these structural devices (Sacks. whereby situated identities (such as guests and hosts) are used in organising social action. While one might argue that membership within age and relational categories is omnirelevant in the sense that they are always potentially relevant. If the same thing was addressed to an adult we hear a ‘joke’ of sorts— an ‘imitation’ of an adult–child relationship (see Sacks. Kate’s membership as host) was invoked. But in order to ground the analysis in terms of the participants’ own understandings and action. Kate reinvoked the relevance of her membership as host and offer-maker. guest and the like exist beyond the bounds of the episodes of interaction examined (that is. which demonstrated the consequentiality of the members’ locally relevant identities for the production of social action. The analyst sees this – as do the participants – as a categorybound activity through the operation of the viewer’s maxim (Sacks. identities become operative over the course of a sequence. The focus of the paper has been on exploring how apparently common-sense understandings of the relevancies of membership might be ‘seen’ and discussed in an empirical way. some immediately apparent memberships and relationships of the participants are child–parent. Jason’s membership as a child was made relevant and consequential through Kate’s selection of Jason’s parents to respond to the offer of a plate. For instance.W. 2007a). primarily through the particulars of turn-taking organization and through the trajectory of the sequences examined. there needs to be an ongoing consideration of how such understandings may necessarily diverge from the situated orientations of the participants through detailed and thorough analysis of social action itself. At the close of the sequence. For instance. 1970) is.’ then it follows that this local context device with the memberships of host and guest could be understood as operating as a (omnirelevant) framework for social action (see for example Fitzgerald et al. but. and will continue to be for the next few years). but this is not to say that they always are. It is not just through ‘who-we-are’ and ‘what-we-are-doing’ that certain actions come off in the way that they do. 1972b) is used – by the analyst themselves – to make sense of the members’ interaction. grandchild–grandparent.2472 C. Butler. 1995). and are layered in relation to the moment-by-moment organization of action. while at times these identities are operational. it would be impossible to hear a turn like ‘what do you say then?’ as an invitation by an adult for a child to display good manners. and consequential for how those sequences were carried off.. the 2–3 year old boy has always been a child. Jason’s membership as a child was made operative. his identity as a guest (and relatedly. In this data. there would appear to be an analytic warrant for claiming the members’ orientations to memberships within . not simply assert it (Schegloff. The analysis thus demonstrates how identities are brought in and out of play over the course of a sequence. These memberships and relationships were not merely invoked. that one can fully explicate when and how these are made relevant and consequential by members themselves. one might argue. It is only by trying to set aside the relevance of memberships such as age that are so readily invoked as part of our cultural understandings. To use Sacks’s (1995) term. While the current paper has sought to show that and how stage of life and relational categories are activated in the course of sequences of action. 3. 2009). and in many respects rely on the fact that an inferential order is shared by members and analysts alike. 1978b). it has also shown how more locally specific identities were made operative in the course of activity. but that and how his membership as a child (and the other memberships discussed) were demonstrably relevant within these sequences of action. applying ‘ethnomethodological indifference’ (Garfinkel and Sacks. without accessing cultural knowledge. For the analyst this would seem to require. When Kate offered Jason another drink of milk in extract two. and relevant and consequential. recognition and explication of when and how the viewer’s maxim (Sacks. this involves bracketing off the relevance of the ‘particular production cohorts’ (Garfinkel and Sacks. rather. 1972b). child–adult. One can never quite eliminate the pull of common sense in dealing with matters of identity and relationships. R. but generated. But. Discussion The analysis has demonstrated how various memberships and relationships were made resonant. The operative relevance of the identities was activated through – and demonstrated in – sequential phenomena such as turn-taking organization. and in a way that prioritizes the members’ own orientations to these identities. there is a need to demonstrate that this membership is relevant and consequential. The matter of ‘who-we-are’ is infinitely broad. the purpose of the analysis is to show not that (for example) he is a child. 1970:346) on an analytic level—something that is particularly important when one is dealing with data in which the social structural memberships of the participants seems ‘obviously’ relevant (see Butler. through the locally situated combination (and inseparability) of these that social action (and order) is organized and accomplished. in the course of interactions during this shared breakfast meal. they are made this way through the specifics of the encounter and in specific instances of the interaction.

A. Fitzgerald. and this is a perspective that deserves further analytic treatment (but see Butler. and their own analysis of operative identities among friends. for example. yet unashamedly provisional way. 2007. Participation. Theoretical Sociology: Perspectives and Developments.. Bethan.e. The emergence of self-repair: a case study of one child during the early preschool years. Fitzgerald / Journal of Pragmatics 42 (2010) 2462–2474 2473 guest and host categories. Research on Language and Social Interaction 41 (1).W. Marjorie Harness. Indeed they can—as can any number of other facets of identity that may not all be social structural (i. Stokoe. Participants may invoke age and gender and the like within an interaction. 2009. Discourse and Society 13. Marjorie Harness. On formal structures of practical action. 1257–1280. The question is whether there is a need to insist on such standards. Sacks. 2008. Carly W. the locally relevant context—‘who-we-are-and-what-we-are-doing’. Michael A.. Carlin. 2002). pp. To do so may allow us to be more alert to the shifts and transformations of memberships within sequences of action. transformed and negotiated. and demonstrates the potential of an integrated analysis of categories and sequence to ground claims about tacit features of talk-in-interaction in a detailed. It may be the case that the ‘equivocality that otherwise subverts category-based inquiry’ can never fully be ‘neutralized’ as Schegloff (2007a:475) suggests. 515–543. and how they may be resisted. Goodwin. the analysis presented here is both provisional and deniable. Treating these identities as operationally relevant relies on attending to the situated and contextual nature of the interaction. categorization and sequential organization: the sequential and categorial flow of identity in a radio phone-in. . Australian Journal of Communication 36 (3). Text and Talk 26 (4–5). Andrew P. Age and relational categories (along with gender and ethnicity) are regularly described as being omnirelevant in the sense that they can always be made relevant within any interaction. At the same time. 2008. and enable exploration of common-sense interpretations in a way that prioritizes the details of the ways in which members organize interaction. As Benwell and Stokoe (2006) suggest in relation to Sacks’s work on operative identities. empirical.. At the same time. The analysis demonstrates how there is a layering of category relevancies over the course of the interaction as a whole. Edinburgh University Press. Occasioned knowledge exploration in family interaction. a person’s membership as ‘dog owner’ may always be potentially relevant in any number of interactions). Fitzgerald and Housley. Omnirelevance and interactional context. 2007a). In bringing together a consideration of membership categorization with the sequential organization of talk. J. E. Harold. 2006. For Sacks (1995) however. William. 257–261. 45–64. 2006. 338–366. Richard. Widdicombe. Garfinkel. Talk and Social Interaction in the Playground. Journal of Pragmatics 42 (1). In: McKinney. Traci. R. Charles. Butler. Forrester.C. 579–602. Identities in Talk. the analysis has emphasized the in situ relevance of identities—how they are produced over turns and between participants. Benwell. Curl. Aldershot. References Antaki.. At best we might hope to temper some of this equivocality. Carly W. and are generated through. the tacit nature of such things means that they are irredeemably provisional. There are analytically cogent reasons for claiming that both age and guest. 3. 2006. but the relevant identities for members in terms of some bounded encounter are those that provide for. the paper contributes to research on the ‘reflexive codetermination’ (Schegloff. 2010. Offers of assistance: Constraints on syntactic design. Discourse & Society 18. the analysis shows how the sequences themselves invoke the relevance of the participants’ identities. London. 1995b) of membership and action that Sacks’s work initiated. were relevant and consequential for the organization of social action in some of these sequences. 1998. 93–110. One of the critiques levelled against work done within Membership Categorization Analysis is that there can be a degree of equivocality in the claims being made regarding the use and deployment of categories and devices (Schegloff. Ashgate.). and perhaps embrace. Discourse and Identity. (Eds. 2009. and whether such an insistence is unnecessarily limiting of an understanding of social order and social action. Exactly which ‘identities’ are activated in the sequences examined in this paper need not necessarily be an either-or question. Sue. William. Identity. and accept that when it comes to matters such as ‘identity’ and the inferential order of talkin-interaction. Goodwin.. 2002. Richard. 2002. Butler. Housley. 1970. Fitzgerald et al. Elizabeth. Conclusion In summary. Reading ‘A tutorial on membership categorization’ by Emanuel Schegloff. Central to this is a consideration of what memberships might be considered omnirelevant for the participants themselves. Harvey. affect and trajectory in family directive/response sequences. 2008. The ‘provisional and deniable’ status of membership categories and their devices is something that analysts can attend to. Schegloff’s (2007b) empirical work on categorization as action offers one way in which categories and devices can be examined in a way which is grounded in members’ actions and understandings—but analysis of data without explicit category terms being used may never be able to lay claim to the sort of rigour that characterizes conversation analytic research. It is at the level of action that identities are made relevant and consequential—or not. Journal of Pragmatics 38. and the details of the interaction to which the participants are attending. Tiryakian.. and activate memberships. Edinburgh. Butler. omnirelevance was something bound to specific interactional contexts. there is a need for acknowledgement and exploration of the analysts’ own deployment of the viewer’s maxim in making sense of the data and proffering analysis. Sage. 99–128. McHoul and Rapley. Fitzgerald. Ultimately the analysis remains somewhat equivocal as to which identities are in play in any one instance. Housley. 2002).1. New York. and various layers made interactionally relevant and consequential at specific instances of the interaction (see Fitzgerald and Housley. Appleton-Century-Crofts.C. but it does this without apology. The paper demonstrates the relevance of membership categories for the organization of action sequences by showing how social actions activate the relevance of the identity of the recipient and is consequential for how that action is produced.

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