How do children get their own way in arguments? What is the most effective way of pursuing one's own goals in preschool? 'Use your words' is an instruction frequently heard in nurseries and pre-schools encouraging young children to resolve the situation through verbal rather than physical means. Discourse is seen as the solution, yet, what words are the children supposed to use, and how do they go about resolving disputes? This fascinating book offers a conversation analysis of children's arguments, revealing disputing as a highly ordered, rule-governed activity, even amongst very young children. The author provides a rich theoretical discussion of the work in speech acts and conversational analysis, whilst offering a sophisticated review in relation to children's culture. It will be of great interest to conversation analysts within sociology and linguistics, as well as to educationalists and scholars of childhood.
Dr Amelia Church is Lecturer in Education at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She was previously Lecturer in Childhood Studies at the University of Wales, Swansea. She has worked as Research Fellow at the Education Foundation and the Schools Innovation Commission in Victoria, Australia, and is a conbritutor to the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, an ongoing project at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
'A major advance in our emerging understanding of children's adversative discourse. This scholarly and engaging book highlights key findings on the nature of children's arguments, threats, and responses to potential conflict in detail. We see how children learn the skills necessary for overcoming emotionally charged conflict, gradually employing those conversational resources central to "face management" in talk-in-interaction. In doing so, Amelia Church makes a major contribution to the study of children's conversational skills.' Mike Forrester, University of Kent, UK 'This engaging and thought provoking study of preference organisation in young children’s peer disputes offers fresh insights into how children engage in adversative talk and interaction in the preschool classroom. The study challenges traditional adult-held views about how children should act and shows how even very young children pursue their own political agendas. The book makes a substantial contribution to studies of child-child communication, childhood and institutional talk.' Susan Danby, Queensland University of Technology, Australia