|Author(s)||Elwys De Stefani, Anne-Sylvie Horlacher|
|Title||Mundane talk at work: Multiactivity in interactions between professionals and their clientele|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Action prioritization, driving lessons, French, hairdressing, Italian, multiactivity, multimodality, service encounters, small talk, workplace interaction, institutional, small talk, mundane|
This article examines how participants coordinate concurrent activities in hair salon interactions and during driving lessons. In both settings, participants devote considerable time to chatting about mundane topics. This sort of conversation has traditionally been studied as an instance of small talk. The first part of the article retraces the epistemological origins of this notion. The analytical section shows how an analysis based on talk alone may lead researchers to distinguish small talk from task-directed talk, in line with previous studies. The subsequent analysis of the participants’ multimodal conduct reveals that what we call mundane talk is a social activity that participants coordinate with multiple other co-occurring courses of (professional) action. The article subsequently zeroes in on task-directed first pair parts and shows how, on occasion, participants prioritize certain activities over others. The analyses draw on video data of interactions that have taken place in French and Italian and are carried out with conversation analytic methods.