Studying interaction in order to cultivate communicative practices

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Action-implicative discourse analysis (AIDA) is an ethnographically informed discourse-analytic approach that works to provide normative understandings of situated communicative practices that are action-implicative for social life. Extending the logic of grounded practical theory (Craig and Tracy 1995), AIDA develops reconstructed accounts of the communicative problems, interaction strategies, and normative ideals of a practice. We introduce AIDA and illustrate the approach with an example from recent research on school board meetings in an American local community. We compare AIDA with other approaches to language and social interaction, focusing on interactional sociolinguistics (Gumperz) and conversation analysis (Schegloff). We argue that to understand the distinctive character of these approaches requires recognizing each one’s orientation to the discursive context of a particular academic discipline.


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