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Telephone Talk

Kathleen C. Haspel

Subject Communication Studies » Interpersonal Communication, Language and Social Interaction

Key-Topics technology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Telephone talk has been a central communication practice and site of study since Shannon and Weaver developed their fundamental model of communication at Bell Telephone Laboratories in the 1940s to explain how technological and human channels of communication transmit information (→  Information and Communication Technology, Development of ). As telephone service spread and ushered in the information age in the latter half of the twentieth century, it acquired the status of an important social indicator. Yet little was known of the social use of the telephone until the 1970s ( Pool 1977 ), when sociologist Harvey Sacks recorded and studied telephone conversations for the access they provided to structures of social action ( Atkinson & Heritage 1984 ). With his colleagues Emanuel Schegloff and Gail Jefferson, Sacks developed a method of transcribing and analyzing social interaction within and beyond the context of telephone talk (→  Conversation Analysis ). In the 1980s and 1990s, Robert Hopper adapted conversation analysis to studies of telephone talk across relational and cultural contexts. These scholars established libraries of recordings that provide a valuable resource to researchers of language and social interaction worldwide. The practice and study of telephone talk have since grown, so that it is now considered vital to the construction of identities, relationships, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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