ICCA2018 panel on Complaints about non-present third parties

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ICCA2018 complaints
Type Conference
Categoryies (tags) Uncategorized
Dates 2018/07/07 - 2018/07/15
Link http://icca2018.org
Address Loughborough University, UK
Geolocation 52° 46' 9", -1° 13' 29"
Abstract due
Submission deadline 2017/09/30
Final version due
Notification date
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ICCA2018 panel on Complaints about non-present third parties:


Panel title: “Complaints about non-present third parties”


Birte Asmuß, Aarhus University, Denmark

Johanna Ruusuvuori, Tampere University, Finland

Complaints have been defined as the expression of negative feelings about a specific issue, the so-called ‘complainable’ (Drew & Holt 1988), for which another person, institution or the like can be held responsible (Heinemann & Traverso 2009). Several studies show that complaints project an affiliative response from the co-participant (Drew & Walker 2009, Traverso 2009, Holt 2012). As complaints embed a negative stance they are rarely delivered in a straightforward way, rather, they evolve as a moment-by-moment achievement of the participants (Heinemann & Traverso 2009). Doing complaining involves moral work which impacts the subsequent responses to the complaints (Drew 1988, Holt 2012). This is observable in that complaints mostly consist of extended stretches of talk (Traverso 2009, Ruusuvuori & Lindfors 2009). Moreover, complaints are often embedded in other activities. By way of example, troubles talk (Jefferson 1988), and whining and moaning (Edwards 2005, Traverso 2009) have been identified as related to or part of complaint sequences.

The panel seeks to focus on one specific form of complaint sequences, namely complaints about non-present third parties. In this type of complaints, the response tends to consist of a display of (dis)affiliation with the complaint (Drew & Walker 2009). In institutional contexts, this orientation to affiliation gets complicated (Ruusuvuori & Lindfors 2009). We want to dig further into this specific form of complaint in order to understand the ways in which issues of morality, affiliation, and disaffiliation are made relevant and managed. The panel also seeks to further investigate the embeddedness of complaints about third parties in other activities (Edwards 2005, Traverso 2009), and examine what kinds of activities complaints are part of or related to, and how the ongoing activity impacts the way in which complaints are introduced, developed, and responded to.

The panel welcomes contributions studying complaints about third parties in everyday as well as in institutional contexts, tracing the possible specificities ensuing from the participants’ orientations to the epistemic and deontic stances regarded relevant in the situation. Those interested in joining the panel should contact:

Birte Asmuß, asmuss@mgmt.au.dk

Johanna Ruusuvuori, johanna.ruusuvuori@uta.fi


Drew 1998. Complaints about transgressions and misconduct. Research on Language and Social Interaction 31: 3-4: 295-325.

Drew & Holt 1988. Complainable matters: the use of idiomatic expressions in making complaints. Social Problems 35: 4: 298-417.

Drew & Walker 2009. Going too far: complaining, escalating and disaffiliation. Journal of Pragmatics 41: 2400-2414.

Edwards 2005. Moaning, whinging and laughing: the subjective side of complaints. Discourse Studies 7: 1: 5-29.

Jefferson 1988. On the sequential organization of troubles-talk in ordinary conversation. Social Problems: 35: 4: 418-441.

Heinemann & Traverso 2009. Complaining in interaction. Journal of Pragmatics 41: 2381-2384.

Holt 2012. Using laugh responses to defuse complaints. Research on Language and Social Interaction 45: 4: 430-448.

Ruusuvuori & Lindfors 2009. Complaining about previous treatment in health care settings. Journal of Pragmatics 41: 2415-2434.

Traverso 2009. The dilemmas of third-party complaints in conversation between friends. Journal of Pragmatics 41: 2385-2399.