Talk and Social Interaction in the Playground: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Talk and Social Interaction in the Playground

1st Edition

By Carly W. Butler


230 pages

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This book offers a rich and detailed empirical account of children's play and interaction in the school playground. Drawing on the approaches of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, 'Talk and Social Interaction in the Playground' examines the organisation of membership and social action in a game created by a group of children. It offers rich insights into the methods and practices used by children to produce play and social order, making a significant and substantial contribution to the study of talk-in-interaction, as well as to studies of children's play, competencies, and social interaction. The book demonstrates the importance of putting aside preconceived assumptions about how children talk and interact in order to reveal the situated methods and practices that children use - not because they are children, but because they are social beings. As well as appealing to scholars of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, ’Talk and Social Interaction in the Playground’ will be of interest to students and researchers in a range of disciplines, including child studies, developmental psychology, education, applied linguistics, and sociology.


’Readers have long awaited a book that gives children’s interactions serious consideration. Picking up where Sacks, Speier and Mackay left off, Butler’s analysis revitalizes the ethnomethodological inquiry into children’s practical reasoning and action. Narrowing the gap left wide open by overtheorized sociological accounts of childhood, this book may well become the landmark of a new generation of child studies.’ Jakob Cromdal, Linköping University, Sweden 'A masterful and fascinating study using talk-in-interaction to examine the everyday social practices of young children in the playground. Important and innovative, this book invites us, in the most persuasive way, to understand young children as competent members of their social worlds, who draw strategically on the interactional, place and material resources at hand, and who are skilled and expert in manipulating these strategically to get the business at hand accomplished.' Susan Danby, Queensland University of Technology, Australia 'I found Butler's analysis both convincing and effective in highlighting the role played by membership categories in sequential organisation of children's activities, especially since she rigorously attends to the situated and always emerging nature of the categories themselves.' Language in Society

Table of Contents

Contents: Children's talk, interaction and play; Analyzing talk and social interaction; The fieldwork: process and practice; Sacks on play and games; Fairy club as a membership categorization device; Sharing news: doing formal talk; Co- and cross-membership in an assessment sequence; Concluding comments; Appendix; References; Index.

About the Author

Carly Butler is Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology at Loughborough University, UK. .

About the Series

Directions in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis

Directions in Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis

Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis are cognate approaches to the study of social action that together comprise a major perspective within the contemporary human sciences. Ethnomethodology focuses upon the production of situated and ordered social action of all kinds, whilst Conversation Analysis has a more specific focus on the production and organisation of talk-in-interaction. Of course, given that so much social action is conducted in and through talk, there are substantive as well theoretical continuities between the two approaches. Focusing on social activities as situated human productions, these approaches seek to analyse the intelligibility and accountability of social activities ‘from within’ those activities themselves, using methods that can be analysed and described. Such methods amount to aptitudes, skills, knowledge and competencies that members of society use, rely upon and take for granted in conducting their affairs across the whole range of social life.

As a result of the methodological rewards consequent upon their unique analytic approach and attention to the detailed orderliness of social life, Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis have ramified across a wide range of human science disciplines throughout the world, including anthropology, social psychology, linguistics, communication studies and social studies of science and technology.

This series is dedicated to publishing the latest work in these two fields, including research monographs, edited collections and theoretical treatises. As such, its volumes are essential reading for those concerned with the study of human conduct and aptitudes, the (re)production of social orderliness and the methods and aspirations of the social sciences.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General