Competency and participation in acquiring a mastery of language: A reconsideration of the idea of membership.

Forrester, M.A. and Reason, D. (2006) Competency and participation in acquiring a mastery of language: A reconsideration of the idea of membership. Sociological Review, 54 (3). pp. 446-466. ISSN 0038-0261 . (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Abstract

For ethnomethodology and conversation analysis the concept of 'member' or 'participant' remains central. The aim of this paper is to consider a number of ideas originally outlined byGarfinkel and Sacks (1970), and by way of extension and clarification, discuss transcript extracts from recorded everyday interactions between two parents and their pre-school child. We note that membership, or what might constitute being a member, involves possessing a mastery of language and being able to produce and recognise glossing practices. Furthermore, a member is someone who recognises that the actions which make conversations possible are reflexively accountable practices. By looking at extracts where a child is 'learning how to talk' we find evidence in support of the suggestions that: (a) membership is indeed a dynamic and concerted accomplishment in context; (b) adults often treat children as 'good-enough' members; and (c) infants can attain membership status not only with reference to displaying a mastery of language, but possibly by displaying a mastery of communication. We close by noting that one of Garfinkel and Sacks' (1970) particular insights was that in displaying mastery of language, speakers display membership, but mastery of language is itself a concerted accomplishment in occasion precisely because speakers display membership by not drawing attention to the fact that they are indeed a member.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Ros Beeching
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2008 15:25
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2010 14:15
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/4264 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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