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Language and Social Interaction

Karen Tracy

Subject Communication Studies » Language and Social Interaction

Key-Topics language

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Language and social interaction (LSI) refers to the area of communication research that studies how language, gesture, voice, and other features of talk and written texts shape meaning-making. LSI includes a loosely bounded set of topics and intellectual commitments. In contrast to the domain-of-life approach (e.g., political, interpersonal, or organizational communication) that is the typical way of categorizing scholarly expertise areas in communication, LSI defines itself by how it investigates questions about communication. It is the commitment to qualitative study of social life in its culturally inflected, complex, and context-sensitive particularity that makes LSI work so distinctive and recognizable. To be sure, LSI has a space for other research approaches (e.g., laboratory studies, quantitative coding; → Experimental Design ; Content Analysis, Quantitative ), but these approaches are minority voices in the LSI community. In the International Communication Association, one of the major academic organizations in communication, LSI is one of a small set of divisions responsible for selecting the papers, panels, and workshops that will be programmed at annual conferences. On a practical level, then, LSI is a group of people who form an institutionally recognizable academic community ( Leeds-Hurwitz 2010 ). Most LSI scholars are housed in departments of communication, but ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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