Language and the Body in a Material World

McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB
University of California, Santa Barbara
Sunday, May 20, 2007

A symposium in association with the annual LISO conference
For more information, contact: Mary Bucholtz (

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Registration is free and no advance registration is required; the symposium is open to the public.

As research on language and social interaction draws more heavily on video technologies, analysts have become increasingly sensitive to the importance of examining interaction not simply as language use but instead as embodied social practice. The body in interaction performs a range of socially consequential actions tied to talk and other activities, from fleeting facial expressions and movements to expansive motion of the head, limbs, and torso to manipulation or other use of material resources and the physical environment. To examine the body as a communicative resource, then, it is inadequate simply to add another analytic layer to a fundamentally language-centered analysis. The materiality of social interaction demands new approaches that are attentive to the tight integration of linguistic communication and embodied practices within social activities.

The invited speakers draw on video data from a range of interactional contexts, from beauty salons to political meetings to bilingual classrooms to everyday conversation, to investigate some of the broad phenomena encompassed by research on the body in interaction. The workshop format of the symposium allows for in-depth exploration of data by the invited presenters, the discussants, and the audience.

The symposium follows the Conference on Language, Interaction, and Social Organization (LISO) May 17-19, 2007. For more information about the LISO conference, contact the conference organizers ( or visit the LISO conference website.

The symposium is sponsored by the UCSB Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, the Department of Linguistics, and the Department of Sociology.