Center for the Study of Language and Society (CSLS)

Summer/Winter Schools
CSLS Summer School

Co-constructing positive relations in interactions: Insights from interpersonal pragmatics

Donnerstag, 16.06.2022, 09:15 Uhr

Veranstaltende: Center for the Study of Language and Society
Redner, Rednerin: Carolin Debray (University of Basel)
Datum: 16.06.2022
Uhrzeit: 09:15 - 10:15 Uhr
Ort: 028
Hochschulstrasse 6
3012 Bern
Merkmale: Öffentlich

Relationships constitute an important part of everyday life and are conceivably the reason humans developed speech and language in the first place (Enfield, 2013). As social beings, humans are dependent on the formation of (positive) relationships with those around them. Consequently, the question of how we can build and maintain friendly and collegial relationships with the people we encounter constitutes an important concern for our lives. While some theories have focused on the avoidance of threat as a reason for relationally oriented behaviour (e.g. Brown and Levinson, 1987), maintaining close and harmonious relationships thus emerges as a goal in its own right.

Pragmatic research has mostly engaged with this topic by asking how interlocutors manage relationships in interactions, for example through relational work (Locher and Watts, 2005) and rapport management (Spencer-Oatey, 2008). This has led to a prolific field of research and many fascinating insights. At the same time, shifting our focus even more explicitly to the way positive relationships are constructed in interactions offers interesting new perspectives that complement earlier research.

This is the focus this lecture that we will take in this lecture. After revisiting the conceptualization of relationships in linguistics and their implications for the analysis of relationships in interaction, I will briefly summarise some of our current knowledge around the co-construction of positive interpersonal relationships in interactions and will outline three analytical approaches that we can take to explore positive relationship construction in interpersonal interactions further: 1) a strategy approach (Debray and Spencer-Oatey, 2022); 2) an identity approach (Bucholtz and Hall, 2005) and 3) a common ground approach (Enfield, 2008). In the following workshop we will apply these approaches to data samples and compare the insights each approach generates.