Touch in Social Interaction: Touch, Language and Body, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Touch in Social Interaction

Touch, Language and Body, 1st Edition

Edited by Asta Cekaite, Lorenza Mondada


440 pages | 237 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138541986
pub: 2020-07-03
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 3rd July 2020
Hardback: 9781138541931
pub: 2020-07-03
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 3rd July 2020

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Rooted in multimodal conversation analysis and based on video recordings of naturally occurring social interactions, this book presents a novel analytical perspective for the study of touch. The authors focus on how different forms of touch are interactionally organized in everyday, institutional, and professional practices, showing how touch is multimodally achieved in social interaction, how it acquires its significance, how it is embedded in the current activity and in its social context, and how it is systematically intertwined with talk, facial expressions and body posture.

Including work by a wide range of renowned researchers, this volume provides rich visual illustrations of situations featuring touch as a social and intersubjective practice. The studies make a compelling contribution to the field by clearly examining and demonstrating the social meaning of touch for the participants in social interaction in a broad range of contexts.

Presenting a new methodology for the study of touch, this is key reading for all researchers and scholars working in conversation analysis, multimodality and related areas.


'The blossoming research on multimodal interaction has mainly focused on gaze and gesture. This book is the first to explore the richness of uses of a hitherto neglected bodily resource: touch. It reveals the fundamental role that haptic practices play both for emotional exchanges and professional action in contemporary societies.'

Arnulf Deppermann, Leibniz-Institute for the German Language, Germany

Table of Contents

List of contributors



Asta Cekaite and Lorenza Mondada


The Interactive Construction of a Hug Sequence

Marjorie Harness Goodwin


The tactility and visibility of kissing:

Intercorporeal configurations of kissing bodies in family photography sessions

Lorenza Mondada, David Monteiro, and Burak S. Tekin


Touch as embodied compassion in responses to pain and distress

Asta Cekaite


Control touch in caregiver-child interaction:

Embodied organization in triadic mediation of peer conflict in Swedish and Japanese

Matthew Burdelski and Asta Cekaite


When a dance hold becomes illegitimate

Leelo Keevallik


To touch and to be touched:

The coordination of touching-whole-body-movements in Aikido practice

Augustin Lefebvre


Touching and petting:

exploring "haptic sociality" in interspecies interaction

Chloé Mondémé


Professional touch in speech and language therapy

for the treatment of post-stroke aphasia

Sara Merlino


Guided touch:

The sequential organization of feeling a fetus in Japanese midwifery practices

Aug Nishizaka


Passing touch: handing and handling tools and implements during surgical procedures

Christian Heath and Paul Luff


Calibrating professional perception through touch in geological fieldwork

Charles Goodwin & Mick Sean Smith


Sensorial explorations of food:

How professionals and amateurs touch cheese in gourmet shops

Lorenza Mondada



Christian Meyer & Jürgen Streeck


About the Editors

Asta Cekaite is professor in Child Studies at Linköping University. Her research involves an interdisciplinary approach to language, culture, and social interaction. Specific foci includesocial perspectives on embodiment, touch, emotion, and moral socialization. Empirical fields cover adult-child and children’s peer group interactions in educational settings, and family. With M. Goodwin she has co-authored Embodied family choreography: Practices of control, care and mundane creativity (Routledge, 2018).

Lorenza Mondada is professor of linguistics at the University of Basel. Her research deals with social interaction in ordinary, professional, and institutional settings, within an ethnomethodological and conversation analytic perspective (EMCA). Her focus is on video analysis and multimodality, integrating language and embodiment in the study of human action. Currently she works on how interactants engage not only in coordinating their joint actions in publicly accountable manners, but also in sensing the material world together - within an EMCA perspective on sensoriality in interaction.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General