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Topic construction and speaker involvement : some features of the social organization of meetings Amren, Rudolph Wayne 1973

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TOPIC CONSTRUCTION AND SPEAKER INVOLVEMENT.; SOME FEATURES OF THE SOCIAL ORGANIZATION OF MEETINGS by R. WAYNE AMREN B.A. , University of British Columbia,. I9;,65. A.THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OE MASTER OF ARTS in fchs Department of Anthropology and Sociology We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OE BRITISH COLUMBIA August,1973 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s representatives. It i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8 , Canada ABSTRACT Two brief excerpts of transcribed talk from the First Annual General Meeting of a Co-operative Association, and some addition-a l background information from 'field observations', are taken as data for the study of participants' organization of that occasion through their conversational practices. Employing a methodological perspective directed toward the discovery of the formal structures of practical actions f i r s t proposed by Harold Garfinkel and Harvey Sacks, ' ' a de-scriptive analysis is offered of members strategies f o r constructing this talk as socially organized activity. We find, through the activities of 'beginning', '.constructing a way of proceeding', 'constructing a f i r s t item of business', and 'keeping track of topics and speakers', that the occasion is constituted as a 'meeting'; and by noting the resources called upon in 'constructing topics' and 'doing membership categorization' we find the production and display of that occasioned-grcup as a 'meeting of a formal organization'. With respect to topic-choice and speaker-selection problems, we observe that a fundamental aspect of the char-acter of that group-occasion is provided in their particular solution, the. propriety of which turns on the interpretive scheme provided via the 'reasons for the meeting'. We have also shown how '?£fovcking authorship's 'doing biographical analysis', and 'calling for an ai3iv6bacgraphical account may be directly implicated in controlling the talk at point in the. occasion.. Numerous other features of these activities are'-dlscussed with a similar concern for displaying how they are "situated' with respect to such resource classes as 'the Co-op Organization', and 'the sequential organization of that occasioned talk'. In retrospect, and by way of characterizing what we have accomplished in the analysis, we are able to relate some of our findings to published material in the f i e l d . If we are permitted to extrapolate from our experience with these two small excerpts of talk, we are led to conclude that further study of 'the meeting', as a pervasive and accessible form of social activity, promises to contribute to"our understanding of the social organization of multi-person gatherings and the production of occasioned talk in natural set-tings. i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract i Table of Contents i i i Acknowledgment iv Introduction 1 Guide to Transcript Symbols 7 SECTION A - BEGINNING I 'Beginning' 'Silences' 8 II Constructing a Way of Proceeding 26 III Constructing a First Item of Business 40 IV Summary 51 SECTION B - SPEAKER INVOLVEMENT I Keeping Track of Topics —• Invoking Unfinished Business 52 II Keeping Track of Speakers — Invoking Authorship 62 III Extracting a Response — Doing Biographical Analysis -— Calling for an Autobiographical Account 70 IV Summary 84 Conclusions 86 Bibliography 91 iv ACKNOWLEDGMENT My thanks go to Dorothy Smith for her advice and encourage-ment during the fieldwork phase; to Roy.Turner for an introduction to Conversational Analysis and for his uncompromising insistence upon coping with problems of data; and to Wesley Sharrock for his invalu-able guidance and enthusiasm during the analysis. 1 INTRODUCTION Fieldwork for this study was conducted in a newly established local Co-operative Association over a period of six months from July to December, 1971. As a participant observer, I attended virtually a l l Co-op functions, keeping f i e l d notes, conducting interviews and making frequent audio-tape recordings with the consent of participants. While the original interest was framed in terms of doing a f a i r l y conventional ethnographic description of 'planned developmental change', as I began to look'more closely at the data, my original conception of the pheno-menon made progressively less sense an experience which I take to be a recurrent and familiar one for novice ethnographers. A solution to the question of how to assemble these materials around a research problem subsequently emerged in concert with a growing appreciation for the ethnomethodological perspective wherein my fears of having perhaps too l i t t l e data became a matter of having too much. A further shift to a specific interest in the social organization of talk, and the accompanying abandonment of a l l thought of producing a comprehen-sive historical description of the Co-op with a definitive interpreta-tion about what really happened and why, effectively dissolved any need to contend with the selection of segments of data that were somehow 'representative' of the corpus. In the absence of a substan-tive interest in this particular Co-op, or co-operatives in general, there was no apparent compelling 'theoretical' or 'methodological' reason for choosing one segment over another, or ten segments instead of two'— such choosing has been treated rather as a 'practical' problem from the position that we happen to have this, corpus of conversational data from which we must select an analyzable segment. As a way of beginning then, and for no other reason than i t seemed to be a manage-able task, I subsequently transcribed v i r t u a l l y a l l of the talk recor-ded at the First Annual General Meeting, held in the f a l l of. 1971, about two and a half months after the o f f i c i a l incorporation of the Association. From one hundred and ten pages of transcribed talk, two brief excerpts were selected for study. While some comment on 'method' would seem to be in order, i t i s not the intention here to treat the doing of conversational analysis as a topic (noting that to properly discover and explicate how i t is done, one should take.the analysis i t s e l f as data). For a more complete background in the method, the reader should consult the variety of articles appearing in,the volumes edited by Gumperz and Hymes (1972), Sudnow (1972), and Douglas (1970), and Harvey Sacks unpublished lectures dating from about 1966.. In doing conversational analysis, we set out "... to demon-strate how the structure of any given piece of talk can be displayed 9 as an interlocking set'of a c t i v i t i e s . " (Turner, p. 186) Such a c t i v i -ties are seen to be generated, not by a complex of independent variables but in the f i r s t instance by actors as 'producers and analysts' of that social occasion; and we intend that this conception of the actor be read in to a l l following references to actors, participants, and mem-bers as speaker-hearers. In taking such ac t i v i t i e s as our focal concern we seek to examine participants' methods.and resources for construct-ing whatever sense of that social scene is displayed in our two ex-cerpts — thus, we are treating "social structures" as an accomplish-12 ment rather than as given (p. 82) . From this perspective, our ap-proach to ethnographic description departs from convention: instead of an ethnography that inventories a setting's distinctive, sub-stantive features, the research vehicle envisioned here is a methodo- graphy [after Bucher, 1961, The Concept of Method, New York, Columbia University Press] that searches for the practices through which those 12 substantive, features are made observable" (p. 95) . Whereas a conven-tional ethnography presents activity descriptions as data for analysis, our descriptions of activity flow from, rather than precede, the analy-sis; and in this sense we may characterize the following work as a 'descriptive analysis'. With respect to our two excerpts then, we shall offer a des-criptive analysis of those utterances as socially situated activity: some aspects of these act i v i t i e s are what we may c a l l 'organizationally situated' vis-a-vis Co-op Association resources; some are 'sequentially situated' with respect to the current course of talk; and yet other aspects draw upon more generally available cultural resources in the form of packaged solutions to the problems of co-ordinating multi-person interaction — such as 'meetings'. In the course of this des-cription, our interest in ethnographic (substantive) detail becomes limited to those setting features which participants can be seen to 4 employ in producing their actions. The to present enough, and no more information than is necessary to provide for the kind of hear-ing which is being advanced: i t would serve no purpose here to pre-sent 'facts' about that group or occasion other than those which are constructed into the talk for the immediate purposes at hand. Thus, since we are non-participant hearer-analysts, the setting features to which we attend in our explication of members' methods of producing a c t i v i t i e s , are for the purpose of a hearing; while these are ostensibly the same setting features which we presume participants to have used in speaking-hearing on that occasion, our interest is in how, and what kinds of, setting features enter into participants' methods of con-structing that talk in such ways as to provide for the hearing which is available to us, rather than in how closely our grasp of speakers' intentions may correspond to that of participants'. In other words, while individual hearers may regularly employ items of 'private knowledge' for interpreting other members' actions, such knowledge, being 'pri-vate', can neither concern us nor other participants — in.examining talk for i t s i n t e l l i g i b i l i t y as intentioned activity, we can only use knowledge which is presumably shared and which we must consider to be built into that talk by speaker-hearers. In meeting this analysis on i t s own terms then, the reader is at no disadvantage by not having been privy to 'special knowledge' other than that which I have supplied and employed on this occasion of analyzing the data. Although i t i s a conventional procedure to begin a report of this nature by tying into previous work in the f i e l d , presumably on the V 5 basis of having known beforehand the kind .of problem which would emerge from a confrontation with the data, we have here adopted a somewhat different format. While opting to study talk from a particular meth-odological stance undoubtedly predefines a class of phenomena to be taken as problematic, we do not begin our project by working up a . specific research problem independent of our hearing of the data: to the contrary, our specific research problems develop from problems of data. Since any t i e to previous related work can only be made with reference to the specific problems we encounter, i t would seem more appropriate to present any such ties on the basis of the findings of this analysis and subsequent to a display of their discovery. Further-more, though not to diminish the importance of our findings, we shall regard the substance of the thesis to l i e in the analysis i t s e l f , not because this i s an 'exercise' in conversational analysis, but because of the status of such findings in relation to the context of their dis-covery. That i s , since the generality and need for refinement of our findings is to be discovered in their re-emergent u t i l i t y for the des-criptive analysis of other data, we shall exercise caution in any move to disembody such findings from this occasion of analyzing the data. In doing this.analysis we rely upon a number of classes of resources — i f we may so describe them — which are artifacts of the organization of the research, and the analysis and presentation of the data; that i s , they are not posited as members' categories. As non-participant analysts we contend with: pieces of transcribed talk; 'additional background information'; and the generally available 6 cultural resources for speaking-hearing to which every reader must be assumed to have access. There is another distinctly analysts' resource which we employ in doing our description of members' ac t i v i t i e s ; and that i s the growing body of knowledge about the principles of 'the social organization of talk and occasions', which, by virtue of sup-plying us with a vocabulary and analytical tools for handling materials of this sort, renders the world of social practices an ever more fam-i l i a r place for the sociologist. The following descriptive analysis then may be regarded as an exercise in drawing from and contributing to this developing pool of descriptions of members' methods and pro-9 cedures for accomplishing and locating a c t i v i t i e s (Turner, p. 187) . The body of• this thesis i s composed of two sections, each with a number of subsections. While the subsection headings reflect our focal concern with the description of participant activity, they are provided primarily for the convenience of presenting this report and do not necessarily represent any segmental character of p a r t i c i -pants' organization of these phases of the occasion. As we shall endeavour to show, the headings point to but one facet of the a c t i v i -ties we are about to examine.. SECTION A BEGINNING 7 GUIDE TO TRANSCRIPT SYMBOLS * • . = silence, followed by the duration, e.g. [2 sec.]. / = overlap. (.?.) = untranscribable utterance, followed by duration, [...comment...] = researcher observations. : = hesitation, halting, break in the smooth flow of speech but not in i t s e l f a 'pause'. ?. and , = mark speaker's sentence completion and speaker's .pause •— duration less than one second unless otherwise noted. The transcript has not been refined to reflect intonation except for a clear 'interrogative' rising intonation represented by a question mark — ?. By way of introducing this f i r s t segment of talk, a few brief observations of relevance to the analysis are in order concern-ing the social organization of taping the conversation and why the transcript begins where i t does. I n i t i a l l y we shall make a super-f i c i a l pass over the f i r s t portion of the segment, followed by a more detailed analysis of some of i t s principle features. I arrived at Lu's at about 10:00 a.m. with Sue, Mary and Vern. Over the next two hours, about eight other individuals arrived, and by noon everyone had seated themselves in a c i r c l e in the living room where conversation dwindled to brief exchanges spaced by silences (Since there was phonograph music playing at the time, 'silence' in the transcript means the absence of audible talk.) At this point, I started the tape recorder in anticipation of the beginning of what I had come to record. In moving to do so, Vern 'remarks l i g h t l y ' some-thing to the effect of: "Gee, I'd better watch what I say now", to which Wayne, the researcher, responds 'jokingly': Wayne ... [begin tape] that's your problem ha ha. In this f i r s t section we shall be examining the two minutes of talk that follows to find what we may of i t s socially organized character. 9 EXCERPT A [Begin tape I side 1 — Lu's liv i n g room — about noon] 1 Wayne 2 ?? * A 3 Nan * A 4 Vern 5 Nan 6 7 7 7 8 ? A A 9 ? * A 10 Mary * A 11 ? 12 7 * A 13 Vern A A 14 Vern A A 15 Sue A A ...that's your problem ha ha ha ha [8 s e c ] Are you cold? [1 s e c ] Not really.,Just put a l i t t l e heat on it.,Do you mind? No I don't/mind i f nobody else does. ha ha ha /(.?.)[2 s e c ] /(.?.)[4 s e c ] [13 s e c ] [clears throat] [1.5 s e c ] (.?.)[1.5 s e c ] [2 s e c ] (.?.)[2 s e c ] (.?.)[2 s e c ] [1 s e c ] Yeah. [soft, low volume, even tone] [8 s e c ] What's everybody interested in bringing up today? [6.5 sec. ] I thought you had i t a l l planned. [1.5 s e c ] 10 16 Vern 17 ? * * 18 Vern 19 Lu 20 Vern * * 21 Lu 22 Vern /I've planned nothing ha ha ha /( ? )/ [3 s e c . J No just:just sort of things that concern you an' you know that you would be interested in, bringing/out. /Uh, when does that:program start: that: you (.?.):some deal where art was going to go into the schools? [* 4 s e c ] art i s going to go:I don't know I've forgotten:(.?.):that you said there was some kind of:exhibit or something, that was going to go:into these; schools? in some schools? [1.5 s e c ] From us? [1.5 s e c ] Well:,galleries (,?.):you know (.?.) '.galleries who are:, in the co-operative (thing). Ooh, Well, tha:that was really a consideration of, you know how can we expand in in art awareness you see, and originally there was the idea about Exordium One, that we would get some of the schools involved and possibly some exhibits in the schools, but I think i t ' l l take more time because we just don't have the work, and i t i t takes kind of an organizational, thing, which,,I can't handle, you know that that really we have to work more together and there have to be more people involved in i t who can handle i t , you see... 11 The f i r s t i n t e l l i g i b l e set of utterances: A3, 4 and 5, form a. Question A4 Are you cold? Answer-Question A5 Not really. Just put a l i t t l e heat on it.,Do you mind? Answer A6 No I don't mind i f nobody else does, sequence, where Nan's A4 seems to be generated out of her observation of Vern adjusting the radiator; a matter of Nan's reporting her obser-vation that Vern i s seeing to his own comfort which makes i t now avai l -able for Vern to see that her comfort may be involved, since she i s seated next to i t , warranting a question, 'checking to see i f i t ' s okay'. More could be made of 'seeing to another's comfort' here, but for our purposes i t w i l l suffice to observe that Nan's: "No I don't mind i f nobody else does.", i s the f i r s t explicit verbal attentiveness to the multi-person character of the livi n g room gathering, although the gather-ing as such is not being directly addressed. Surveying the next few slots, A7-8and All-12 are scarcely audible asides between parties sitting close to one another and I did not take i t that A7-8 was talk occasioned by A5 or A6. Among these scattered utterances we find several silences, particularly notable of which are the lengthy ones between A2 and 3 [8 seconds], A8 and 9 [13 seconds], and A13 and 14 [8 seconds]. Against this foregoing 'sequence', Vern's A14: "What's everybody interested in bringing up today?", distinguishes i t s e l f in what seems to be a 'beginning'. But i t would considerably enhance our analysis of A14 to pay somewhat closer 12 attention f i r s t to the events which can be said to 'lead up to' that 'beginning'. For this purpose, we shall need to provide some descrip-tive material covering the time period not represented in the trans-cript, which w i l l include imparting some of the 'knowledge' of the organizational grounds for that occasion, which I shared with part i -cipants. Now, I take i t that our general typical knowledge about the social organization of 'meetings' would allow us to conceive of a s i t -uation where the f i r s t arrivals would constitute 'enough people to start the meeting', and where subsequent arrivees would be ushered directly into that ongoing occasion. While the news that this particu-lar occasion did not proceed in that fashion may be unsurprising to the veteran meeting-goer, we cannot rely so heavily — i f at a l l — on 'custom' as an 'explanation' for what did happen. That i s , instead of glossing the prior assembly of meeting participants by reference to i t s usual, frequent, or unsurprising occurrence, we take instead the organization of that assembly as topical and problematic on the grounds of i t s consequentiality for 'beginning the meeting'. On this occasion, most of the meeting participants arrived between ten o'clock and twelve noon, a period characterized by numer-ous two to four party conversations of varying durations with conver-sationalists on their feet, and shifting groups from time to time. The kitchen, with i t s attractive abundance of food and refreshments, served as the locus of most of this activity. Given this gradual assembly of persons in the kitchen, we have what appears to be the 13 problem of starting the meeting when 'everyone' or 'enough' people have arrived, and indeed, at about noon, that decision seems to have been made with Vern requesting that everyone move into the livi n g room 'so that we can start'. This raises for examination a basic feature of the organiza-tion of 'beginnings' in multi-person gatherings where what we often conveniently c a l l 'the beginning' of some"occasion is merely one action in a sequence of preceding and/or subsequent actions which to-gether constitute 'getting the occasion going'. If we are to employ 'beginning' in any technical sense for our descriptive analysis how-ever, we must attend to i t s social organization as displayed and atten-ded to by speaker-hearers. From this perspective, we may assert that, except perhaps for scripted r i t u a l occasions, even the most economical and direct of 'beginnings' may be monitored for i t s 'success' as a 'beginning'; that i s , in a strong sense, i t is only available to be found after the fact that an occasion has fu l l y 'started'. As analysts seeking to describe how that is done i t would therefore not be decidable by us a p r i o r i the precise boundaries of a beginning sequence. While we are in no way seeking to discover definitively when the meeting 'really' begins, we nevertheless want to describe how participants are making available to one another, resources for getting started at various points in the beginning sequence. It i s in this sense that we may find i t useful to speak of the 'beginning of the be-ginning' and so on, where our analysis warrants such labeling. Thus, we may describe Vern's summoning people to the livi n g room as an 14 'announcement' constituting 'the beginning of the beginning' of the meeting. But i t should not be concluded from this that the foregoing talk in the kitchen i s therefore 'pre-meeting talk' as such; as though the gathering had been 'waiting' in the kitchen; or, simply because that talk precedes the meeting. To offer a more useful characteriza-tion of that talk we may consult the 'reasons' for that occasion as they were announced to Co-op members during the previous week, where we w i l l find that the projected occasion was described as: 'a day set aside to get to know one another, hold elections and handle other Co-op business'. To be sure, there i s nothing in these 'reasons' per se that would guarantee the occurrence of 'sociable talk'; there seem to be other organizational provisions for that, such as the gradual arrivals, where, not unlike a 'party' situation, 'sociable talk' can begin with the entrance of the f i r s t member; but given the materiali-zation of such talk, members are then entitled to find via that 'reason' that 'getting to know one another', 'friendly chatting', etc., i s indeed what they are there to do, among other things. From this pers-pective, and with the available information, we do not get the sense that any one of the stated reasons for the gathering holds primacy over others. The essential point i s that the 'sociable talk' i s comprehensible as an event in i t s own right; that i s , i t i s not just that the 'sociable talk' and the 'meeting talk' periods consist of different a c t i v i t i e s for different purposes, but that the f i r s t gather-ing has i t s own rationale not specifically tied to the second. Accord-15 ingly, we do not have a discernably single or coherent set of core acti v i t i e s for the day as a whole, but rather we may speak of 'core a c t i v i t i e s ' within and unique to 'events'. (Since the present concern is primarily with the social organization of 'meeting talk' at the level of members' a c t i v i t i e s , there would be no advantage at this point in developing an analysis of the segmentation of the day, which would constitute a separate study. Let i t suffice to say that there were three sessions of meeting talk totalling about five hours and seven hours of non-meeting activity Our interest in the latter i s confined to ..issues relevant to beginning, resuming, controlling and in any other way 'doing' meeting talk.) That the kitchen gathering has been summoned to move to the livi n g room then is c r i t i c a l for seeing that, and how, Vern is able to 'continue the beginning' in A14. Whereas the summons to the liv i n g room marks the beginning of the end of sociable talk in the kitchen, the physical movement of individuals into the l i v i n g room can be seen to reflect an attentiveness to that request, thereby marking the 'begin ning of the beginning of the meeting'. The talk and silences in the transcript from Al to A14 then are to be heard as subsequent to the 'announcement' of the beginning of the meeting but prior to i t s actual 'beginning'; that i s , prior to the end of the beginning. The orienta-tion of the gathering during this period i s therefore to this as a transition from sociable talk to meeting talk; where, the duration of the transition — o r , the extended charater of the beginning — may be a function of"the change in locus of activity from the kitchen to the liv i n g room. Thus, Vern's 'beginning' by extending an invitation for f i r s t topics i s not fashioned directly by calling to order an assembly engaged in pre-meeting talk, as an uninformed view of the transcript might lead one to suggest. The invitation for topics comes 16 instead after a considerable amount of concerted effort displayed in an extended sequence of preparatory moves: from the announcement-request through the assembly of participants in the living room to the termination of 'private' conversations. Therefore, having had the summons to the l i v i n g room attended to as the beginning of the end of conversation in the kitchen, the en-suing silences and brief exchanges appearing in the transcript cannot be said to represent a 'spontaneous' orientation to beginning. In attending to this as a transition between sociable talk and the meet-ing, we might expect that participants would draw their conversations to a close in the course of moving from one room to the other and would avoid getting involved in further, possibly lengthy, conversations that would l i k e l y be interrupted by the forthcoming 'beginning' of the-meeting. We would not suggest, however, that this orientation in any way ensures silences at this transition point. To be sure, there could conceivably be a steady rumble of small talk, chatter, etc., within the bounds of a beginning or waiting for the meet-ing to be called to order. The relationship between what we have called the 'orientation toward beginning' and the silences then, requires further examination. Since we are operating as hearer-analysts, we may develop our analysis from the position that what is_ available under the auspices of this as a 'transition' is a way of hearing the silences that do occur, or for that matter, a way of hearing-producing any of the items that comprise this so-called transition. 17 Now, we have said that there are 'silences'; but choosing 'a silence' rather than say, 'a pause', to label the time interval be-tween two successive utterances; for example, between A13 and A14; pre-supposes a hearer's analysis which we have yet to consider. We are not looking for a definition of 'silence' here such as: 'the word silence w i l l be taken to mean the absence of talk'; but rather, we want to explore some of t'he interpretive background to finding that 'a silence' seems a f i t t i n g label for the segments confronting us. While we may find i t adequate for the purposes of presenting the trans-cript to designate a silence with '*', meaning 'the absence of talk', i t i s doubtful that as hearers we handle the absence of talk in such simple terms. In this regard, i t may be helpful to review one of the more fundamental features of how speaker-hearers handle any event in the course of talk; that i s , through procedures for the transference of 6 turns (Sacks) . The absence of talk i s quite obviously related to transference of turns in conversation since, i f a conversation i s to 'continue' from the occurrence of a 'silence', someone must speak next through some-organized provision for 'taking a turn'; but how 'silence' is built into turn-taking procedures requires explication. Generally, and leaving aside for the moment the problem of who is going to speak about what, we have the 'problem' of. when any next speaker is to be-gin speaking; or, rather, how are speaker-hearers to provide for, and next speakers to locate, a place in the conversation where a next ut-terance may be offered. We have, for instance, a way of analysing any 18 adjacent pair of utterances by asking how the second utterance may be tied to the f i r s t : we may ask whether or not the f i r s t , as an action, 'calls for' some next action for which the second utterance stands as a candidate. In either case, whether an utterance may be construed as calling for a particular next action or not, a next utterance may not be immediately forthcoming, producing what we are calling a ' s i -lence'. We must of course keep in mind that.we are dealing with ' s i -lences in the course of conversation', and in particular, conversation at a multi-person gathering where special arrangements for only one per-son to speak (e.g., a speechmaker) are not part of this occasion and where, therefore, some 'turn-taking' procedures w i l l be operative. Hence, the question of 'who' is supposed to do 'what' with such s i -lences is a, fundamental (for the successful concerted management of a conversation) and recurrent problem requiring participant-hearers' regular attention: whether or not a silence following an action which selects a particular next action and/or next speaker, renders that silence 'attributable' in different ways and effects a different hear-ing of next speaker options. The constraints on a hearing of next speaker options are especially noticeable in sequences such as: questions and answers; greetings and returned greetings; and invita-tions and refusals/acceptances/returned invitations. Here, we have a class of actions which in their simplest form come in pairs, and follow what Sacks has called the 'adjacency pairing rule'. It i s certainly not always the case that questions get answers or that greetings get greetings; but i t i s quite regularly the case that given the f i r s t 19 action of such a pair, one may expect the- second action of the pair, such that i t s non-occurrence may be specifically 'noticed'.. That i s , given a f i r s t action (such as: 'Come on over for lunch'), and a non-occurrence of a proper second action ('Uh, [4 seconds] well, [4 sec-onds]), participants are entitled to 'follow up' on that absence, which may involve for example: attempting to extract a second action by 'repeating' or 'reformulating' the f i r s t , ('We're eating at twelve and you're most welcome'); or, attempting to 'cancel' the f i r s t action, ('Okay, don't come then'); and so on. Thus, while the f i r s t member of such a pair may be designed to e l i c i t a specific next action, the ab-sence of that called-for next action may occasion some other action or sequence of actions: the point being that f i r s t actions which are f i r s t members of pairs under the adjacency pairing rule, are gen-erative of subsequent activity, even though that activity may not con-stitute properly placed second members of the pairs. Therefore, in relation to any action, the operative or non-operative status of this rule — does the action work as a f i r s t action calling for a specific next action — provides one part of the interpretive apparatus through which speaker-hearers may find ways of allocating or not allocating silences. The current concern then i s with silences in conversational sequencing, and particularly in how a hearing of a 'silence' is impli-cated in the structure of adjacent utterances. Thus, a silence may be examined by participant hearers, as may any other setting feature, for it s relevance to ongoing interaction in which i t can be assigned a 20 value or a meaning. In A5 for example: "I don't mind i f nobody else does", Lu's invitation for 'objections' i s addressed to any sel f -selected next speaker who 'minds' a higher temperature. According to my hearing of the tape, we have what amounts to a subsequent 'silence' on the addressed issue: there is an overlapping laugh (ha ha ha) , and a couple of subsequent overlapping inaudible asides which are not heard as being tied in any way to A5. But while we may hear an ab-sence of a verbal response to A5, we do not hear the absence of some 'second action' that one expected to occur, as in an unreciprocated 'greeting'. Instead, we hear an absence, or for a l l practical pur-poses, 'a silence', as an indication that 'no one minds'. In this way i t may be a general feature of invitations for complaints/objections that they select next actions to include a hearing of a silence as a response in i t s e l f , albeit a 'negation'; as in, 'there are no com-plaints/objections'. In the case of A3-A4-A5, given that a silence i s hearable as 'no one has anything to say about the matter', i t can also be heard as the end of that exchange. But I would argue that i t is not just the structure of that 'invitation for objections' that sets up a hear-ing of a silence in this way. There are in fact several other silences, and while the utterance(s) immediately preceding each silence may in different ways be generative of 'a silence hearable as the termination of a conversation', we are again brought to consider the general char-acter of talk during this interval. We are reminded here of two basic features of conversation: 1) at least, and no more than, one party 21 speaks at a time; and 2) speaker change recurs (Sacks 1972); where, for these silences in our data, there i s both 'no one speaking' and 'no arrangement for speaker change', such that, notwithstanding the structure of any particular exchange, a silence i s hearable as the end of that exchange. A predominant feature of the talk then, i s i t s segmentation; that i s , by virtue of the silences being hearable as terminations of conversations, they also mark the boundaries of conversation: we do hot hear these several exchanges 'tied' to one another through the silences as we do in extended conversation. Thus, i t is necessary to revise our earlier 'reminder' that we are not dealing so much with 'silences in the course of conversation', as with 'silences be-tween conversations'; but nevertheless, 'silences among conversation-a l i s t s ' . Returning to the thread of our analysis, I take i t that this 'orientation to beginning' involves a monitoring of the situation for something that might stand as a 'beginning', such that i t i s findable in a silence that a beginning may occur, and that accordingly, i t would not be the best time to i n i t i a t e more casual conversation. We may therefore consider these to be intentional, motivated and perhaps, focussed silences rather than as coincidental momentary l u l l s in the conversation. Thus, the search for and creation of a 'beginning' slot i s the concerted accomplishment of the gathering as a whole. For whomsoever is in a position to 'begin', or 'continue the beginning', these silences are available to be heard as marking a 22 proper time for such an action. But without the corresponding visual record, we have no way of building into our analysis any consideration of Vern's or the gathering's nonverbal display of their readiness to begin. We would therefore not argue from the verbal record alone that Vern actually forfeited an earlier opportunity to begin in the thirteen second silence between A8 and A9, where from our viewpoint there appeared to be an opening. What we do notice however, is the absence of an explicit provision for a 'beginning' slot through some version of: 'Let's get the meeting started Vern', which leaves i t up to Vern then to find where a proper beginning might be inserted. Thus, in A14 we do not hear Vern tying in to any previous utterance by way of 'continuing a conversation' as such, although as earlier suggested, he may be seen to be 'continuing the beginning'. Drawing again on our discussion of the properties of adjacent utterances, Vern's A14: "What's everybody interested in bringing up today?", taken as an 'invitation', stands as a f i r s t action which calls for/selects a proper next action. But Sue's A15 as a next utter-ance, while tied to A14 and therefore a 'second' utterance, does not raise a ' f i r s t topic' in the sense intended in A14. Instead, Sue in effect makes a topic of A14, thereby displaying a recognition of what Vern has done via a mention of what he has not done. Specifically, the link i s provided between A14 and A15 by way of a collection of procedures for getting such an occasion started, where Vern's A14 displays one procedure and Sue's A15 another. But we are not committed, by virtue of seeing A15 as 'mentioning a procedure not taken', to hear-23 ing i t as a blunt put-down as i f to make Vern out as having somehow erred. Rather, i t is suggested that Sue's analysis may be of the pair: A14 - silence, where the silence of 6.5 seconds as an item in the sequence, is 'silence in lieu of a response to A14'. While this does not necessarily c a l l for a comment like A15, what we are allowed to see here is Sue's orienting to Vern's attempt to generate talk and finding that this did not e l i c i t an immediate response, time is afforded for a comment on his method; or, more generally, her finding that a proper next action i s not done, occasions some other action. A l -though the silence permits such a hearing with this piece of data, i t should not obscure our seeing that Sue i s here employing a generally available method for second speakers, where the response to an i n v i -tation to speak to some matter may consist of a comment on, or ques-tion about that invitation instead of a formulation concerning that matter per se. But whereas a 'mere comment' may not require a res-ponse, "I thought you had i t a l l planned" does seem to c a l l for an acknowledgement such that the absence of one could be heard as 'doing ignoring' or otherwise 'evading'. Thus, to the extent that A15 finds fault with Vern's method, i t s work as a mild complaint in extracting "I've planned nothing ha ha ha" from Vern, turns on the violation of the adjacency pairing rule as i t applies to invitations. In saying that the 6.5 second silence in lieu of a response to A14 i s analyzable as "an item in the sequence", we are in effect acknowledging that the silence 'occupies' the slot for a response. Hence, not only i s Sue's "I thought you had i t a l l planned" not a response to Vern's invitation, i t i s also not occurring in the slot 24 for.such a response. It is thus not t r i v i a l to note that Sue is not appropriating that silence, in that her mild complaint rests on the preceding sequence of two discrete items:, Vern's 'invitation', and the 'silence'; that i s , by speaking in that way about what Vern has proposed, she.lends a 'hearing' of the silence as a 'non-response', whereas other conceivable formulations could have effected a different allocation of that silence. For example, ""I thought you had i t a l l planned" could have been heard differently, perhaps as a more 'cutting complaint', had Sue turned i t into everyone's silence with a formu-lation l i k e : 'We thought you had i t a l l planned'; or, had she spoken immediately after Vern's A14, thereby pre-empting the response slot, and possibly risking competition with someone else who might want to take up that invitation. Thus, for members, silences are regularly analyzable for a range of possible hearings. As well as hearing a silence as the 'ab-sence' of some particular item that 'belongs', that i s , a slot with a 'missing' item, we also see a silence as sometimes 'belonging to' one or some of the participants, and see i t as being 'the problem' of a particular participant, even though none of the participants i s speaking. But there is room for a useful distinction here between 'whose silence i t i s ' and 'whose problem the silence i s ' . For a per-son who has been asked a question, under some circumstances, 'his silence' i s also 'his problem'; but where an interviewer receives no response to a question for example, the respondent's silence is the interviewer's problem. Hence', the 'problem' of a silence seems to. 25 rest with the balance of interest in non-silence: Vern's 'interests' being specifiable in terms of the 'invitation' character of his ut-terance, which, as a f i r s t action under the adjacency pairing rule, deserves a proper second action. Using these considerations as a descriptive resource, we have in Sue's "I thought you had i t a l l planned" a mild complaint about Vern's way of proceeding, apparently constructed around the strong implicit recognition that Vern is somehow obligated to see that the meeting gets started; which is to say that following Vern's invitation for f i r s t topics, everyone's silence i s his problem. 26 As a mild complaint, Sue's: "I thought you had i t a l l planned" has certain constructive features. Given A15's controlling i a hearing of A14, i t is now available to see how Vern might have pro-ceeded. We hear " i t " in A15 ("...had it_ a l l planned") as referring to 'what i s going to be brought up', where i t would not have seemed out of place, at least to Sue, for Vern to have come up with such a plan, perhaps in the form of an agenda. Thus, Sue directs her ob-servation toward the topic choice problem by pointing to a procedure which i t appears Vern is not employing. By "pointing to a procedure" I mean that Sue is not explicating a way of proceeding that would constitute a description or set of instructions, and I further take i t that we are supposed to be able to see the implications of 'Vern having had i t a l l planned' for how he might have differently begun. In making an observation by contrast in this way, Sue is i n effect pointing out Vern's 'beginning' as not simply a 'Let's get started 1, but as a proposal as to how to get started. Hence, taken as a request addressed to "everybody" for things they would be "interested in bringing up", A14 poses two basic interactional problems: speaker selection, and topic choice. As an undirected question, A14 ca l l s for any next speaker to be self-selected, and as a 'beginning' i t calls for a ' f i r s t topic'. As a 'proposal' A14 is a move to solve the topic selection problem by proposing that what be talked about be person-specific, thereby focussing on speaker selection as the immediate problem; or, more specifically, Vern's 27 proposal structures the sequence in which those problems w i l l be managed: f i r s t select a speaker, then a topic suitable to that speaker; whereas Sue's formulation points to a procedure for f i r s t proposing topics, then selecting suitable speakers. But we are not constrained to hear " i t a l l planned" as necessarily referring to anything as for-mal as a written agenda; a l l we need hear is that Sue is pointing to a procedure whereby a topic would be proposed or considered for discussion prior to the selection of a speaker. Of course some speaker must raise that topic in one form or another in the f i r s t place, but I take i t that with respect to the 'procedure' to which Sue points, members have ways of making out speakers as, on behalf of the gather-ing, merely raising a topic to be discussed, where that topic i s to be considered as somehow independent of the person who happened to raise i t . What we see in Vern's 'beginning' is a member's way of making out the subsequent raising of a topic as not independent of what that < speaker himself would be "interested i n bringing up". A principle feature of these two ways of proceeding may therefore be described in terms of how each structures a different attentiveness to 'authorship' — a notion which other segments of these data w i l l permit us to develop later. At this point i t is clear that although both A14 and A15 display alternative ways of proceeding, only Vern's A14 comes across as a 'proposal'; that i s , while A14's work could conceivably be done in the form of: 'Let us find out what everybody is interested in bringing out', A15 does not do the same as would: 'Let us decide what 28 we want to talk about f i r s t (before we start)', or, 'Let's set up an agenda'. There is nothing here to suggest that later on someone may not come in with a 'what we need now is an agenda', but only that un-der the auspices of this 'beginning', and pending any subsequent reformulation of ways of proceeding, a range of talk of this person-specific character may now ensue: talk which could be construed as 'in keeping with Vern's proposal'. In A18: "No just:just sort of things that concern you an' you know that you would be interested in, bringing/out.", the 'propo-sal' to have the ' f i r s t speaker' raise a ' f i r s t topic' decidable by him, is presented again. Perhaps i t may be viewed in some weak sense as providing any hearer with a way of finding that i t would indeed be possible to. respond to such an invitation by consulting his 'concerns' and 'interests'. A response i s also facilitated in Bern's formulation of how a response w i l l be heard, particularly i n : "no just; just sort of things..." from which one does not get the sense that what has to be produced, necessarily be 'important' just because i t is ' f i r s t ' . But A18 is more than simply a 'repetition' by way of 'prompting' or 'promoting' a response. In putting forward the 'invitation' again, the sequence A15-A17 is treated as having failed as a proper 'beginning', the ' f i r s t topic' having yet to be raised. But i n proposing that self-selected speakers raise topics that they would be "interested in bringing up", I take i t that the occasion i s not now threatened by ego-centric free-for-all havoc. I further take i t that here, as in most other occasions, participants have 29 some sense of what w i l l be done, or what they are there to do, such that, for example, following the A14 beginning, neither Sue's A15 nor the insertion of something lik e A3-4-5 would be taken as 'getting started with a f i r s t topic'. Hearers are able to make these out as 'not the main thing we came for', through the scheme of interpre-tation which is at least partially displayed in Vern's 'beginning'. An aspect of that scheme points to what may be termed the 'pre-arranged' nature of the gathering. In both the t i e between Sue's A15 and Vern's A14, and somewhat less forcefully in A14's "today" as a temporal l o -cator, the present situation i s made out to be the product of some prior deliberate work. Intuitively, i t would seem that participants at impromptu and planned gatherings have somewhat different resources available for calling co-participants to account for their actions or omissions: unlike an impromptu gathering, attendance at a pre-arranged occasion i s a 'reason' which competent members may be assumed, to 'know' in advance; and not just a 'personal reason for attendance', but a 'shared reason for the gathering'. It is this motivational structure which provides the force in a hearing of Sue's:' "I thought you had i t a l l planned" [emphasis mine], where Vern was the one who called the meeting and of a l l people should know what he inten-ded be 'brought up'. But in the A14 and A18 formulations, Vern pro-vides for a hearing that whatever else they are there to do they are there 'to bring things up', and further, things of "concern" and of 'interest' to "everybody". Thus, by working through a similar motiva-tional resource, although perhaps not so forcefully as Sue in A15, Vern's A14 and A18 seem structured to promote a response by way of 30 participants' 'reasons for attending': that i s , via the 'why we are here' motive. Our finding i s not that 'this gathering turns out to have been pre-arranged'; rather, we find that doing 'getting things started on this occasion by calling for topics that "everybody" would be " i n -terested in bringing up", turns for. i t s sense and hearability on the constitution of that gathering as a pre-arranged one. Again, when Vern replies in A16: "I've planned nothing ha ha ha", we have not now learned that 'Vern came with nothing planned', as a 'fact' to be some-how 'added' to a summary characterization of Vern. Such 'member's detective work' would lead us to 'member's characterization procedures whereby the analyst would enter the conversation so to speak, with things l i k e : 'Vern i s being inconsistent because on page x of the transcript he pulls a plan out of his head which i t turns out he had. a l l along'; which i s of the same order as such responses to A16 as: 'what do you mean you planned nothing, you planned the meeting didn't you'; or, 'you mean to say you came here with nothing you wanted to bring out? ' . Our business instead involves asking what work is accomplished in Vern's saying: "I've planned nothing ha ha ha", and in 'proposing to proceed' as he does in A14 and A18. Vern's A14: "What's everybody interested in bringing up today?" and A18: "No just:just sort of things that concern you ah' you know,that you would be interested in, bringing/out.", provide a ti e between the 'proposition' that members may now be seen as having things in mind that they might want to 'bring up', and the reason for 31 the meeting, or for that matter, the reason for anyone's attendance at the meeting; or, as the link may be formulated: 'at least one of the reasons for the meeting i s to give participants a chance to bring things up''. But in suggesting that Vern's invitation for topics may be somehow relevant to the reason for the meeting, we are trading on an unexplicated resource —? the special character of ' f i r s t s ' . Now, while Vern's proposal does not contain a f i r s t topic, i t does consti-tute a f i r s t action; not just a f i r s t action calling for a specific second action as we discussed in connection with the adjacency pairing rule, but the f i r s t action through whichxthat occasion i s constituted  as a meeting; and further, a f i r s t action by the caller of the meeting  and head of the Association. By restoring the actual temporal order of these events, we see that after having 'called' the meeting, 'be-ginning the meeting' i s the chronologically next public action (or set of actions) that Vern performs with respect to that occasion. In terms of the organization of the occurrence of this occasion, the two sets of actions ('calling the meeting' and 'beginning the meeting') are mutually implicated and for participant-hearers there are provisions for construing these actions as a singularly intentioned sequence. It i s not what we would c a l l a 'tight' or 'close' sequence, since there may be nothing compelling Vern as 'caller' to be neces-sarily the one to 'begin', but having in fact begun, his 'beginning' may be taken as motivationally continuous with 'calling the meeting', and may therefore be monitored as such for some clue as to Vern's intentions: that i s , whatever Vern does by way of beginning, i s a 32 resource which participant hearers have available to consult in devel-oping a working appreciation of what the meeting was called to do, and how participants w i l l be implicated in that 'doing'. Thus, Vern's proposal can be heard as providing for at least one of the things to be done at the ^ meeting and therefore possibly one of the reasons for the meeting. Similarly, the structure of the situation i s such that were Vern, as caller of the meeting, to raise the f i r s t topic, then that could then be heard as 'what the meeting was called to discuss 1; whereas A14 and A18 give someone other than Vern the right to intro-duce the f i r s t topic without leading one to see that topic as being the reason for the meeting. As a consequence, whatever topic Vern subsequently raises is not going to be seen as a f i r s t topic and per-haps the reason for the meeting, but rather as a topic which he simply wants to bring up. In effect, Vern is ascribing equal status to 'what "everybody" might have in mind and what he might have on his mind to bring up, vis-a-vis the reason for the meeting.' There i s another, perhaps more tentative — tentative for reasons'that'will become clear — way of viewing Vern's invitation as a strategy. Given focussed interaction at a multi-person gathering there i s restricted opportunity for participation such that time taken up by someone on matters of interest to him may be seen as such — time taken up by him. This problem of budgeting one's participation, or regulating one's floor time, may be particularly acute for Vern. If there are numerous things to be.'told' and 'discussed' then Vern may 33 be in a 'better' position organizationally to do most of that 'telling' since he initiated the Co-op i t s e l f , runs the only Co-op enterprise, and i s the caller of the meeting. Thus, by inquiring into the inter-actional consequences of Vern's organizational position, we find that he is perhaps best equipped to talk about a variety of Co-op matters, but may not want i t to be made out that he called the meeting just to have everyone listen to. him. In terms of concerted participation stra-tegy then, there may be some advantage to finding a way for Vern to talk about those things on someone else's time, so to speak, by having those things brought out for him to talk about where i t can be shown to be talk generated out of someone else's interest. A word of c l a r i f i c a t i o n i s in order, lest we be accused of drifting from the data, or engaging in unwarranted speculation about participants' motives and interactional p o s s i b i l i t i e s . We are not positing a set of concrete, f i n i t e alternatives that are assumed to have been in Vern's head when he 'chose' to begin the way he does: we are rather using our resources as co-members to construct notions of what we consider could have been done, as an analytical tool for ex-ploring the implications of what is_ done. In the process of contrasting our imagined but plausible action to the participant's action, our view of the latter i s c l a r i f i e d . Our task i s to seek to describe what Vern is doing and the grounds on which that doing is based; and what we are attempting here is an explication of the interactional — speaker-hearer — problem for which Vern's opening stands as a solu-tion, or to which i t in some way attends. 34 In considering a hypothetical hearing then, we have intimated that whatever is inserted in the f i r s t topic slot could have been re-garded in a special way vis-a-vis the reason for the meeting, had Vern, as the caller and convener of the meeting, raised the f i r s t topic. Our subsequent point is that in raising a f i r s t topic, Vern would be taking the f i r s t speaker's slot, permitting one to find that perhaps Vern called the meeting to have them li s t e n to what he had to say. While our f i r s t point seems intuitively right and the second at least plausible, we shall want to reconsider the latter with the hope of achieving a more satisfactory characterization of Vern's A14 and A18. When we speak of the f i r s t topic slot and the f i r s t speaker's slot, we are ostensibly talking about the 'same actual' slot; our two different descriptions being generated out of the fundamental speaker-hearer distinction between 'speaker' and 'spoken about'. Relying on the reader for corroboration, I shall assert rather than try to show, for the moment, that for meeting talk at least, slots are regularly made out to be 'slots for speakers and/or topics'; their equality or irrelevance, or the primacy of one over the other, being an occasion issue. The intention here is to develop a closer appreciation in the analysis for what is at issue in the production and hearing of these ac t i v i t i e s . Our above treatment of two senses in which Vern's A14 and A18 are analyzable as strategic moves is based on hearing that both 'topic' and 'speaker' considerations are at issue with respect to their firstness: i t matters (in ways we. have discussed) who speaks f i r s t about what, i f that person i s Vern — the caller of the meeting; 35 conversely, i t may not matter (in the above sense) who speaks f i r s t about what, i f that person is not Vern and not the caller of the meet-ing . Thus, i t is in .the way these ' f i r s t s ' are handled that organization a l considerations are brought to bear on a hearing: the former pointing to a procedure (our hypothetical offering) for producing.a notable f i r s t ; and the latter representing Vern's A14 and A18 work which undercuts the importance of being f i r s t . -Furthermore, the slotting of topics and the slotting of speakers may derive their i n t e l l i g i b i l i t y through different assemblages of setting features. It would seem that while a ' f i r s t topic' raised by Vern would obtain a sense of importance with respect to 'the rea-son for the meeting' ('that must be what Vern called the meeting to discuss'), his concomitant incumbency of the f i r s t speaker's slot with such a topic does not permit a hearing with the same ease via 'the reason for the meeting' ('Vern must have called the meeting so we could l i s t e n to him talk'). It i s argued that we should consider instead that the potential 'importance' of ' f i r s t speaker' derives from the context of relations among speakers with regard to their res-pective entitlements and obligations. Thus, to offer a more adequate characterization of what Vern is doing: Vern's invitation for f i r s t topics is not just providing a way of hearing any f i r s t topic as not necessarily what the meeting was called to discuss, but is also a pointed authorization for anyone to be a speaker — to raise topics, ask questions, convey news, relate stories, etc. 36 But this modified characterization raises yet another mat-ter concerning Vern's 'invitation'. We have made frequent allusions to the special status of a ' f i r s t topic' which derives from the appre-ciation that i t . i s not simply the f i r s t thing talked about, but is part of the structural organization of the conversation-occasion (see 6 Sacks lecture 1/15/70, p. 5) . Since getting into the meeting i s accomplished via the ' f i r s t topic', the meeting takes i t s character at that point from the way f i r s t topicing is done. Therefore, insofar as topic management provides at the outset a way of seeing how sub-sequent participation might be regulated, such management would seem to be consequential for the production-display of the developing character of meeting talk. But the manner of allocating the ' f i r s t speaker's slot' i s similarly constitutive, of that character; which leads us to balance our view of Vern's 'beginning' by considering i t s implications for his control over speaker participation. Having be-gun, Vern secures access to the f i r s t speaker's position with i t s attendant options: he may raise a f i r s t topic himself, or, may i n -vite others to do so. In selecting the latter, Vern may seem to be relinquishing xcontrol over what i s brought up; but we have suggested in effect that this may be consequential in other ways for controlling the talk, since opening the f i r s t topic slot to the floor operates to somewhat diminish the 'importance' of whatever topic i s raised, vis-a-vis the reason for the meeting. Having done that then, were Vern afforded the opportunity to raise a f i r s t topic in the absence of a. response to his invitation, that topic would not be hearable, by virtue of i t s location in the talk, as the topic Vern called the meeting to discuss. Thus, extending an invitation controls a 'hearing' as described; and controls 'speaker entitlements' in the sense that Vern, as inviter, reserves a subsequent slot for repeating, or re-formulating the invitation, or taking up his own invitation so to speak, in the event of no response from the gathering.. In seeking to understand how Vern brings off that 'beginning', i t i s important to appreciate that he i s not relying entirely on his position as Co-op i n i t i a t o r and caller of the meeting for his control over that talk; but is employing a standard conversational resource: 'extending an invitation'. While reference to Vern's unique role in the Co-op may allow us to see how any participant hearer might find that Vern was indeed the one who ought to 'begin' and 'do inviting', he i s not at this point invoking that role in doing his 'beginning'; and we cannot argue that Vern has exclusive access to that resource on such grounds: his access to controlling the talk via an invitation is' rather secured through his incumbency of the opening speaker's slot. Further, where speaker control i s concerned, what may be seen as important vis-a-vis the reason for the meeting, i s that speakers are being authorized to select themselves to speak on 'matters of interest' by way of commencing the meeting; as though at least the f i r s t part of the meeting were to be of that participatory character. For participant hearers then, this way of proceeding may derive some sense from the shared knowledge that this i s the Fir s t Annual General Meeting of the Co-op, barely four months old and in i t s formative stages: not 38 that the 'invitation' simply provides Vern as 'leader' with a way of monitoring what may be o.n members' minds, but that a l l participants may now find themselves to be eligible contributors to the emerging character of, not only the meeting talk, but the corporate entity of the Co-op organization to which they orient as members. To re-collect a thread from the above analysis then: that there i s a 'proposal' to proceed without an agenda in A14 is 'noticed' in Sue's "I thought you had i t a l l planned"; i s 'acknowledged' in Vern's "I've planned nothing ha ha ha"; and is 'repeated' in A18. While Vern's A14 opening f a i l s to generate a f i r s t topic then, i t i s notable that his 'trying again' in A18 is in effect 'repeating' and not 'trying another way'. Thus, by the time Vern has launched into A18, his 'standing proposal' has been well displayed as a selection in contrast to an alternative way of proceeding. However, I am not suggesting that while he i s neither presenting nor calling for an agenda i t would nevertheless be quite in order were an agenda advanced at that point; to the contrary, I take i t that this selection having been made, displayed and repeated, there may be some constraints upon next speakers to take up Vern's proposal. But I would put i t that such constraints are not so much operative through seeing that since Vern has "planned nothing" there i s now no other way of proceeding. Rather, what is being oriented to, particularly in A14 and A18, is the 'occasioned feature': ' i t may not be known what needs to be brought up in what order', such that i t i s available for a member to reason: 'who would know i f Vern doesn't know since he called the 39 meeting?'. It is therefore in the bringing of things up that members w i l l at the same time discover and create what is appropriate to bring up. 40 III Having said that the appropriateness of 'things brought up' is open to creative discovery, we must now question how the raising of any topic is going to be heard. We have already seen in A15 that an utterance following an invitation for f i r s t topics does not, by virtue' of i t s being a next utterance, constitute a ' f i r s t topic'. To return for a moment to Vern's A14, the calling for topics that "everybody" is "interested in bringing up" involves not so much a retrospective orientation that would allow us to see that in the fore-going talk people haven't been bringing up what interests them. We hear i t instead as 'beginning' a kind of talk which i s set off as different from the preceding talk. That i s , i t works to control a hearing of what ever follows as f a l l i n g under the auspices of the kind of occasion which i s being begun; and i f i t does anything for a re-hearing of the previous talk, i t allows us to see i t as 'pre-meeting talk' (that i s , what we earlier termed the 'transition' period). For example, the insertion of the A3-4t5 sequence following A14 would be hearable as 'aside' from 'the things that everybody would presumably be interested in bringing up on this occasion; and I take i t that any effort to 'seriously' raise and persue the topic in a form such as: 'I would be interested in bringing up the problem of the temperature in this room', as a response to A14, could meet with 'trouble'; a l -though there are available procedures for getting out of such trouble; for example, by transforming 'what was meant' into a 'joke', or i n -sisting on i t s seriousness but as a metaphorical reference to 'the 41 social atmosphere in the room'. Although we are not in the business of working out members' strategies for hypothetical situations, this w i l l serve to i l l u s t r a t e how we may read Vern's 'beginning' operating to constrain a hearing of subsequent utterances. Hence, as a 'be-ginning', A14 ushers in a set of relevances which provides the reader-hearer with ways of making out subsequent observable-produce-able a c t i v i t i e s as being 'to the point','beside the point', and so on, a notion we shall develop below. For members raising a f i r s t topic this poses the problem of making i t v i s i b l e that that i s what i s being done rather than some other kind of talk. With this in mind we may entertain the possibility of that, work being done in Lu's A19: 18 Vern No just:just sort of things that concern you an' you know that you would be interested in, bringing/out. 19 Lu /Uh, when does that:program start:that:you(.?.):some deal where art was going to go into the schools? [*4 s e c ] art is going to go:I don't know I've forgotten:(.?.):exhibit or some-thing, that was going to go:into these:schools? in some schools? Looking in particular at Lu's "/Uh," overlapping with the last word of Vern's utterance, we read i t not so much as an interrup-tion, as 'taking up an invitation' which effectively signals an inten-tion to speak. I take i t that Lu has made out that Vern i s doing a 're-start' in his reformulation, and repetition in part, of his A14; and that by interjecting or so signalling, she w i l l not be seen to be cutting Vern off 'half way through his thoughts', or 'just as he was getting into something'. Vern may in fact be orienting to the "/Uh," 42 overlap in drawing his utterance to a close. But even i f Vern had been 'getting into something' and had actually continued with an addi-tional remark, we would s t i l l see an 'Uh' as potentially operative in effecting a transference of turns by securing the next speaker's slot upon Vern's utterance completion. The "/Uh," then, works for Lu as a way of tying in or securing the next speaker's slot without losing what she i s prepared to say in the overlap. Thus, as a signal of intention to speak — as an attention getter — "/Uh," works with the directedness of the remarks "you" and "you said" (referring to Vern) to t ie into the main course of talk. But while the directedness of Lu's remarks to Vern as last speaker establishes her tie to the ongoing course of talk on the floor, this very general feature i s also shared with Sue's A15 which we have seen does not attend to the work of ' f i r s t topicing'. What that work of 'raising a f i r s t topic' involves is to be found in how Lu's offering stands in relation to what Vern i s inviting. With reference to Vern's formulating a 'beginning', we noted earlier that a scheme of relevance was being provided on which we found no need to elabor-ate at that time in order to hear i t as a 'proper beginning', beyond mention of i t s pointing to the pre-arranged-character of the gathering _and i t s providing for hearing a class of talk as 'side talk', 'settling in talk', or otherwise, 'talk that i s not what we came here to do'. We may expect then, that by this scheme, talk may be constructed as recognizably 'main talk' and 'the kind of thing we have come here to discuss', although our understanding of how participants find Lu's A19 as 'main talk' may require that we refer again to the 'ethnographic 43 background' which amounts to further explicating that scheme of relevance. Specifically, participants are gathered as members and would-be members of a co-operative association, and I take i t that in considering and constructing topics for discussion, participants have some idea of what they, individually and collectively, might have in mind as members. That i s , i t i s presumed that they have historical (of the Co-op Association), and biographical (as members of the asso-ciation) , resources at hand from which to generate 'relevant' topics. Under the auspices of Vern's 'beginning' then, i t remains for p a r t i c i -pants to find ways of constructing topics for discussion that "con-cern" them and that they "would be interested in bringing up", but with the 'knowledge' of what kind of talk i s now hearable as 'what we have come to discuss'. Lu's utterances A19 and A21 come off i n several ways as 'main talk'. We shall f i r s t look at the way the topic i t s e l f i s con-structed and then attend to some sequential properties. 19 Lu /Uh, when does that:program start:that:you(.?.):some deal where art was going to go into the schools? [*4 s e c ] art i s going to go:I don't know I've forgotten:(.?.):that you said there was some kind of:exhibit or something, that was going to go:into these:schools? in some schools? * * [1.5 s e c ] 20 Vern From us? * * [1.5 s e c ] 21 Lu Well:, galleries (,?.)sy°u know(.?.):galleries who are:,in the co-operative (thing). 4 4 At the level of topical interest, A19 and A21 are in several ways locked into the affairs of the Co-op through references to: "art" ( i t i s predominantly an a r t i s t s ' Co-op); "exhibit", "galleries" (the sole enterprise of the Co-op i s an Art Gallery); and, "schools", "program" (there was talk about approaching some schools with a com-munity education program in art awareness as a Co-op project), but i t is particularly in how this 'organizational knowledge' is represented as something that Vern told Lu that displays her formulation as 'or-ganizationally situated'. It is in being at the same time 'interac-tionally situated' by virtue of Lu putting i t to Vern, "you said", and thereby calling for a response from him, that renders operative those organizational considerations of Vern and Lu being in d i f f e r -ent positions to 'know' and ' t e l l ' with respect to "art", "gallery", and 'school exhibit program' matters. To re-open the discussion on the development of these 'be-ginning' utterances for a moment, having raised the topic in A19, in spite of i t s apparent qualifications as a candidate for discussion, we do not know at that point in the talk whether that w i l l become the topic of the day, or whether the topic w i l l shift after a brief response from Vern. Further, we cannot say that Vern's proposal to begin without an agenda has been 'firmly established' in A16 and A18: in A22, at the point where Vern seems to comprehend what Lu i s bringing up, he could say, for example: 'Okay, that's one thing, now, what's everybody else interested in bringing up?', which could then be seen as beginning to negotiate an agenda and where perhaps Lu's topic would not even get 45 discussed ' f i r s t ' i f at a l l . To temper any possible impression that Vern i s here regarded as being in total control; he i s considered to be but one of the participant hearers, where, just as we noted above that 'it may not be known what needs to be brought up in what order,' so i t is similarly available for Vern as i n i t i a t o r to discover the development of the 'beginning', as he goes along, since who knows at what stage someone, perhaps Vern himself, may presume to know 'what needs to be brought up and in what order'. As i t happens, Vern does hot c a l l for other topics, allowing us to hear Lu's A19 to come off as 'raising a f i r s t topic for discussion now' (which — as i t also turns out — o c c a s i o n s conversation for a considerable period thereafter). With this in mind, there are additional organizationally situated features of the topic as Lu constructs i t that seem to pro-vide for the generation of further 'organization' talk. I take i t that members have ways of constituting 'events in the world' as 'events in a series', such that progress may be monitored at various stages: "...that program...some deal where art was going to go into the schools..." would seem to be that kind of subject about which one may warrantably ask to be brought up to date. Whether in fact there may have been some developments since Vern last told her about i t , either two hours ago in the kitchen or a month ago; or whether Vern did not t e l l her everything, or she simply did not remember a l l he told her, i s neither available nor of great concern to us. Rather, i t of interest that in raising a topic, Lu i s not proposing to talk about i t herself, but i s offering that opportunity to Vern. To 46 the extent that this "program" is a Co-op project in process then, Lu's A19 and A21 are designed to e l i c i t 'news' about i t from Vern, and do more than simply request a piece of information that may have been "forgotten". Returning now to the analysis of sequential properties, we have A19: "/Uh, when does that:program start:that:you(.?.):some deal where art was going to go into the schools?", which ties into A18's c a l l for a f i r s t topic, and attempts to start something off by formulating a question addressed to Vern. The subsequent silence i s therefore available to be heard as 'a silence following a directed question'. If we argue from this that the four second silence simply corresponds to Lu's 'waiting' for an answer from Vern, then that silence would seem to be unambiguously attributable to Vern; but considering four seconds to be sufficient for Vern to work up a response were he able to make out her question as answerable, i t i s now available for Lu to find i n the absence of an answer that there may have been some deficiency in her formulation of the question, such that an 'elabora-tion' or 'continuation' i s warranted. Thus, by virtue of 'continuing', she in effect transforms 'Vern's silence 1 into 'her pause1 (see Sacks 1969). This casts further light on our earlier discussion of the analysability of a silence as an item i n a sequence. While an utter-ance preceding a silence may provide a way of 'hearing' that silence, so may the following utterance. It i s therefore not t r i v i a l to note that a silence i s not available as an analysable past 'event' unt i l 47 the beginning of the next utterance, the speaker of which i s then in a special position to control such a 'hearing'. The next utterance then, in breaking the silence, not only marks the boundary of that silence in a temporal sense, but may also mark i t s ownership. It i s thus the allocation or appropriation of a silence by that next speaker wherein the silence i s provided an aspect of i t s character, which may be discontinuous with the limited range of possible hearings set up by the previous utterance. Hence, we are pointing here to what may be a basic feature of silences in conversation, where the character of a silence, at least with respect to i t s allocation, i s supplied by i t s boundary a c t i v i t i e s . In putting the question: "when does that program start", there is a problem generated at the outset concerning the referential adequacy of "that program". It does not t i e to any readily available previous talk on this occasion and I take i t Lu orients to that problem in subsequently offering a description of "that program" as "some deal where art was going to go into the schools". But i t i s not so much the formulation of the question as such, as the adequacy of her des-cription of "that program" which is problematic. That i s , having iden-t i f i e d what she knows and i s describing about "that,program" with something that "you [Vern] said", she takes on the task of producing a description which Vern must now be able to recognize as 'something he"said"'. Whereas the description before the pause seems to work as a completion of the question that begins: "when does that program start", the elaboration following the four seconds seems more tied up 48 with questions concerning the description of "that program". In: "art is going to go:I don't know I've forgotten", I take i t that i t i s not that she has forgotten when i t starts and wants Vern to t e l l her, but that she is having d i f f i c u l t y assembling 'enough' material for a more complete description of "that program". Now i t could be that Vern neg-lected to supply her with any more information than that in the f i r s t place, and that Lu has actually forgotten nothing; i n which case "I've forgotten" works as 'doing politeness' in deference to Vern. In any case, there i s a shift in emphasis through the utterance regarding what is required by way of an 'answer' from Vern.. It i s no longer so much a matter of "when does that program start" as 'what about that program'; or, attending to the interrogative intonation of: "you said there was some kind of:exhibit or something, that was going to go:into these:schools? in some schools?", the original question i s abandoned and the descrip-tion of "that program" i s reformulated into a question concerning 'what Vern said'. Thus, in requiring a different kind of answer from Vern, the reformulated question i s not as li k e l y as the abandoned one to be adequately handled with a brief: 'Next week' or, 'It's been cancelled', and in this way at least i s potentially generative of more talk. But perhaps the more powerful inducement to having some next speaker talk to that same matter i s provided through A19 and A21's status as the f i r s t member of an adjacency pair: that i s , as a question to Vern; whereas, had Lu merely 'commented' on the 'school exhibit 1, par-ticipant hearers might not be constrained to find an interactionally compelling basis for sustaining the subject of such a comment as a f i r s t 49 topic: from what we know of conversational practices, 'comments' do not regularly 'call for' 'return comments', or, 'questions about the comment' in the same way that questions c a l l for answers. In raising a candidate for f i r s t topic via a question to Vern then, Lu's formu-lation attends to the problem of ensuring an adequate speaker-hearer relationship: I take i t that the successful construction of a f i r s t topic, or any item of business for that matter, at a 'meeting', rests on an arrangement whereby speakers w i l l be 'heard 1/'listened to', such that a speaker responding to Vern's invitation would not be r a i s a fi r s t , topic by then 'talking to h e r s e l f about a matter of inter-est to no one else — which points to the potentially greater risk of proposing a f i r s t topic candidate via a 'comment'. The relation-ship that Lu sets up i n her 'question' then i s : i f Vern speaks to the topic she has raised, she for one would be an interested hearer. Looking again at the string of utterances A19-A22: 19 Lu ... i n some schools? . * * [1.5 s e c ] 20 Vern From us? * * [1.5 s e c ] 21 Lu Well:.galleries(.?.):you know(.?.):galleries who are:,in the co-operative (thing). 22 Vern Ohh, well, tha:that was really a consideration of.... We hear Vern's "From us?" as an "appendor question" (Sacks lecture 4, 1967) to Lu's A19 which speaks to the possible d i f f i c u l t y of extracting an answerable question i n the course of Lu's utterance and picks up on the problem of adequately describing "that program". 50 While the problem concerns the recognizability of what she is getting at, Vern's analysis is nonetheless pointed, and we find that "From us?" is constructed out of a search of A19 for the link between "that program" and "us" — us being taken to refer to at least a part of the c o l l e c t i v i t y there gathered. Since Vern i s in the gallery busi-ness and knowledgeable of numerous art programs and exhibits, I take i t he is not in a position to assume that every configuration of "art" "program", "exhibit", and 'things that he may have "said"', i s neces-sarily going to have something to do with "us". There may also be an organizational ambiguity in Vern's "us" based on the co-existent Co-op Association, and i t s enterprise, the Co-op Gallery, where Vern participates in both and.Lu only in the former. This is at least one possible finding against which Lu could be supplying her reference to "galleries" and "co-operative" in A21, where for her, a 'yes' answer to "From us?" may not have been adequate That the origin of "that program" queried in "From us?" is satisfac-t o r i l y established in the question-answer insertion between Lu's A19 question, and Vern's A22 answer, i s 'recognized' in Vern's "Ohh, well, at the beginning of his A22. Thus, we have utterances A19-20-21-22 forming a typical Q^-CQ^-A^)^^ sequence, where what is 'established' in the A20-21 insertion sequence is the connection between "that pro-gram" and "us", thereby identifying that topic as a.Co-op matter and therefore something discussable here and now as an item of 'business'. 51 IV Through our analysis of this f i r s t segment of talk then, we have shown how the 'beginning' of the meeting is accomplished over an extended sequence of concerted participant a c t i v i t i e s . In this regard, the data offered for discussion some features of silences as analy-zable setting features which are implicated in conversational sequenc-ing and the transference of turns. We have seen how Vern's beginning, operating as an invitation for f i r s t topics and as a proposal (as to) how to proceed, involves both the authorization of speakers' use of certain turn-taking machinery, and the ushering in of a scheme of relevance providing a body of substantive organizational resources for use in constructing topics appropriate to the occasion. We have also considered how the beginning may be informative for participants about the 'reasons' for the meeting where Vern's beginning by inviting f i r s t topics may reflect an orientation to the sensitivity of the f i r s t topic slot for him as caller of the meeting. Thus, i t is the way in which solutions to the topic choice-speaker selection problems are licensed at the outset wherein the character of that group occasion is 'established', in that, pending any re-constitution of that arrangement, such a beginning may be conse-quential for the subsequent construction of topics and the conduct of participation at that meeting. SECTION B . SPEAKER -INVOLVEMENT 52 I In the f i r s t section we discussed the construction of a way of proceeding and the construction of a f i r s t topic. Many other topics are proposed and discussed in the ensuing five hours of meeting talk; however, since our guiding concern i s with the social organization of meeting talk, we have selected for examination but one small segment from this corpus where some features of meeting talk seem to be dis-played, and which w i l l permit us to develop some of the issues raised in the f i r s t section, particularly with respect to considerations of topic construction and speaker involvement. In the following analysis, we shall be looking primarily at the exchange between Mert and Mary from 63/13 to 63/16, where a 'next' topic is being advanced by Mert, which Mary subsequently transforms; but by way of introduction i t w i l l serve our purposes to properly context that exchange by picking up the talk where Mary says: 53 EXCERPT B [Transcript page 63 — Tape IV Side 2] 63/ 5 Mary. They set themselves up in a different way, I mean we can, as a Co-op can s t i l l benefit/ 6 Mik /We should share a l l the pro-f i t s / 7 Dan ' /Right/ 8 Mary /(?)a consumers Co-op,/we can we can benefit/ 9 Mik /a side benefit/ 10 Dan I ' l l go into this whole thing I ' l l go into this thing shortly. 11 Nan Maybe i t would be easier i f you say okay each one of us gets a tax number, how is that going to benefit each of the people in the Co-op? In what way? Can we, like can we go into a store and say here is my tax number, I want this item for wholesale? You know, what are the means and methods maybe that/ 12 Dan Okay I ' l l go into/ 13 Mert /Before we go into that though could we get back to the original question f i r s t though, you know this i s a side, benefit/ 14 Mary /Mm hmm 15 Mert the main thing i s what what what is what are our aims? 16 Mary Okay what I would like to do about that then is since Mik raised the question have Mik answer i t , I mean Mik's been a Co-op member and one of the f i r s t Co-op members and presumably you didn't pay your money for no reason at a l l so I'd like to hear you say why you joined the Co-op,,,I mean don't ask me why I've joined/the Co-op or why Nan or anybody else has/ 17, Mik /No no no that's a f a i r question /that' a f a i r question uhm, and really, in a way I,, i t ' s not the ques tion I asked.. 54 Our objective here is to seek to describe what these two speakers are doing, with an eventual focus on Mary's 63/16, and to develop an understanding of the formal structures of these activities which render them i n t e l l i g i b l e and 'familiar' to us as reader-hearers of the transcript. As in the f i r s t section, we shall offer only that background information which is readily available and which we take to be an integral part of the setting features which participant hearers assemble in making sense of the current talk as properly situated ac-t i v i t y . We can see in part from the talk preceding Mert's 63/13 that there has been some discussion about the possible financial benefits to members, of Co-op membership. It is in what appears to be the middle of this discussion that Mert raises another topic. Given that Mert seems to want the question of "our aims" considered for discus-sion, i t is notable that she is not starting in immediately to talk about i t , but i s indeed 'proposing' a topic; i t i s also notable that she does not just offer something l i k e : 'Let's talk about our aims'. Had the time come for a topic change, perhaps in the form of an 'in-vitation for more topics', such an offering could conceivably come across as the proper raising of a next topic. But here, in the ab-sence of any such provision for a topic change — we do not get the sense.that the current topic has terminated — Mert constructs her proposal such that i t adequately ties into the main course of talk, but where that talk did not s t r i c t l y ' c a l l for' anything like Mert's 'proposal'. We have then, an interruption, not just the interruption 55 of the current speaker, but the interruption of talk on the current topic. In interrupting with a proposal that "our aims" be considered for the current topic position, a 'competing' topic is being proposed which is to put up for decision the matter of which topic should be discussed 'now'. It is thus a matter of pri o r i t i e s in that she calls for the postponing of further talk on the current topic u n t i l after the question of "our aims" has been discussed, which is to make out the current topic as a matter discussible 'here' but not 'now'. From this perspective, we may proceed to examine how Mert assembles the additional materials which do the work of warranting her interruption and her promotion of the question of "our aims" for discussion " f i r s t " . Our inquiry into the basis upon which topic choice i s ren-dered a decidable matter at this point in the talk leads us f i r s t to the observation that, in moving to establish the priority of her topic, Mert employs as a resource, the 'fact' that the question of "our aims" has been raised before. Mert's proposal i s that 'we' "get back" on the floor "the original question" from which 'we' somehow strayed. "Original" does some work here to allow our use of the notion of 'strayed', in that "the original question" i s not hearable as 'the question with which we began the meeting', but rather, 'the question which has generated talk up to this point', or, 'the question to which the current talk can be traced back'; where Mert can now find that this current talk is not pertinent to, or would not stand as an answer to, that "question". I take it.that, where questions and answers are con-56 cerned, or any topical talk for that matter,' the possibility that talk w i l l 'stray' from the "original" question or topic is a virt u a l l y omnipresent feature of extended conversation. Given a 'question', for example, one never knows a p r i o r i that what is developing w i l l stand as an answer: one may look to and/or produce talk following a ques-tion as a candidate for an answer, only to find in retrospect that an 'answer' was not forthcoming; and that either, 'It is not important enough to worry about', or, 'The talk has strayed and we therefore ought to get back....'. The grounds for re-raising that issue then, may l i e in her finding that a question did not receive an answer, which, as we noted in our Section I discussion of the adjacency pairing rule, is an enforceable matter. However, we should in s i s t on a cautious use of the formula 'questions get answers' here: we shall continue to speak of Mert's re-raising of the "question", provided that we are not there-by committed to regarding the force of her utterance as turning on the construction of an 'unanswered question' per se. That i s , insofar as the word 'question' is an integral part of the machinery employed to re-raise the "original question", we may see i t as merely one of a number of possible substitutes for 'a topic' or 'an item of business' — terms which would ostensibly do the same work — for example: "could we get back to the original [topic] f i r s t though". Hence, whether i t is called a question or an item of business, Mert i s s t i l l contending with her finding that what was raised, was not adequately attended to in the ensuing talk. 57 Thus, Mert displays what we may c a l l a minor violation by invoking 'unfinished business'. By unfinished business we do not mean to imply that the status of a piece of business, finished or un-finished, is decidable by us independently of what members may make i t out to be. An item of 'old' business is always available to be rediscovered as unfinished business in the same way i t can be dis-covered for'a recently raised topic that 'there is nothing more to say'. Given the general availability of this topic management re-source, then we can see how special collective arrangements may be made to control i t s use, for example in the form of an agenda or voting procedures, which may be employed to 'close o f f and 'keep track' of topics on the floor — n e i t h e r of which have been provided during this phase of the meeting. Mert also offers 'organization' based grounds which seem to work in support of her efforts: in picking up a characterization of . . the current talk as a "side benefit", most recently from Mik's 63/9, she not only ties into the main course of talk, but also displays this characterization in juxtaposition to her representation of the proposed topic as "the main thing". Mert's claim then is that "the original question" i s a piece of 'unfinished business', wherein a matter of p r i o r i t i e s is being raised between the topic on the floor, characterized as a "side benefit"; and "the original question", char-acterized as "the main thing". Thus, the latter is being promoted as 'deserving' a slot " f i r s t " and "before" the former through a pair of complementary classifications: f i r s t , on the interactional-sequential 58 grounds of 'unfinished business' (via the implicit comparison of "the original question" with 'the current topic'); and second, on the group-organizational grounds of "side benefit" versus "main thing". Although her use of 'organization' grounds is undeniably supportive of her move to establish the priority of "our aims", the force of her utterance would appear to rely more heavily upon her use of the standard topic control r e s o u r c e — the invocation of unfinished business — displayed i n : "could we get back to the original question f i r s t though". While we may hypothetically consider a proposal i n the form of 'could we get back to the original question Mik asked' to be overtly supportive of a previous speaker's right to get an answer for his ques-tion, we would not then want to characterize Mert's "could we get back 'to the original question" as protecting a 'topic's rights' per se — as i f to personify 'topics'. Without denying that we are dealing here with a situation where 'normal' speaker's rights are not suspended with respect to their questions getting answers, there do seem to be c grounds for considering the difference between the notions that 'ques-tions get answers' and 'questioners get answered'; particularly where the 'meeting' character of that occasion is available to lend perhaps a special status to 'topics on the floor'. Furthermore, in seeking a way of describing the source of this status, we would find i t preferable to avoid such causal glosses as 'the demands of the occasion' or 'the occasioned moral order', in favor of some description which preserves our commitment to the study of 'actors' as 'speaker-hearers'. 59 For these reasons we would argue that some form of 'collec-tive hearer's rights' are operative here, in the management of topics on the floor and speaker participation. Thus, for conversationalists at multi-person gatherings constituted as 'meetings', there may be the feature: (to offer a tenative formulation) for 'meeting talk', 'the floor' is available for no more than one topic at a time as an enforceable matter. Invoking unfinished business then raises as a practical problem that there i s more than one topic on the floor at a time, albeit a problem constituted i n i t s very mention. From the point of view of control over the talk then, this focus on 'topic' appears to be 'respectful' of speakers: by setting up competing topics, i t does not pit one speaker's interests against another's. Mert's use of "we" ("before we go into that") also works to de-emphasize her interruption of Dan by formulating 'going into i t ' as a collective action. A similar de-emphasis on particular speakers is accomplished in her representation of "the original ques-tion" as a collective concern: "what are our aims?". Thus, again, we are not simply dealing with a de-emphasis of 'speakers' and an emphasis on 'the topic', but a characterization of the topic as a collective matter in a way which works with the invocation of unfin-ished business to legitimate the priority of that "question". While Mert is clearly doing topic control work here, she does not appear to be in a 'special position' to do that; she is not, for example, 'chairing' the meeting. Rather, she is using resources which we must presume are available to any participant for doing simi 60 lar work. We are therefore warranted in asking what Mert, or anyone, could be accomplishing in re-raising a topic as she does. Consider-ing that everyone knows that Mik asked the "original question", i t i s not 'her' question, and we may speak of her as 'merely' raising i t . But given a question like "what are our aims", had i t not been raised again as unfinished business, i t could then be seen as having been adequately answered, or perhaps re-assigned a lower priority by i t s asker and other interested participants. It is therefore available to be seen that Mert's action reflects some interest in that question. Notwithstanding her characterization of the question of "our aims" as a collective concern then, we may move on to ask what may be involved in her displaying an interest in someone else's question. Raising i t again, particularly since i t was not 'origin-a l l y ' her question, lends i t a quality of a question worth asking; or, at least, i t is now not only the original asker who can be seen to have some interest in that question. This 'interest' i s also discoverable in how Mert seems to have found that the question 'needed' to be raised-again. Specifically, I take i t that her suggestion that the meeting "get back to the original question" is based upon her monitoring of the talk following the "question", wherein she has been unable to find anything that would stand as an adequate answer; this finding is in turn predicated upon some notion on her part of what an adequate answer would look li k e , for which she could only consult her own interest in that question. 61 Her interest is not just evinced by virtue of her re-raising "the question", but more forcefully, by promoting i t s discus-sion " f i r s t " . In considering why i t might matter what is discussed " f i r s t " , there is for participants the temporal constraint of the inevitable termination of the meeting and the attendant possibility that there may not be sufficient time to discuss everything. Further, the way topics are being raised in an ad hoc fashion, i f no one pushes for the discussion of "our aims", i t may not get discussed. I take i t then, that there may be some significance for participants in hearing the question re-raised by someone other than the original asker, who, in observing that the talk had 'strayed', may have found that possibly no one else was interested in discussing i t . Hence, to the extent that Mert can be regarded as acting in support of Mik by again raising the question of "our aims", we have what is available for participants to see as a coalition of interests; that i s , with respect to ah interest in having that question discussed as a collec-tive concern. However, our warrant for hearing this congruence of interests does not derive from a comparison of Mert's formulation of the "original question" with what Mik 'actually said' several minutes earlier: we are relying f u l l y upon our view of the structure of Mert's formulation wherein "what are our aims" is presented as_ "the original question", and accordingly, as a 'repeated question'. 62 II Looking now at Mary's next action (63/16), we may argue that i t is the status of "what are our aims" as a 'repeat' of someone else's question which permits her to bypass Mert as having 'merely' re-raised i t ; and in attending directly to the 'original asker', Mary i s , accord-ingly, not attending to the 'interest' that Mert can be seen to have in that question. While we shall not attempt to specifically explain why Mary attends to 'the person who originally asked the question', rather than 'the person who subsequently repeated i t ' , we cannot locate her grounds for doing so in any differential 'power' based on their res-pective sequential placement in the talk; that i s , one would not expect: 'since Mert re-raised the question, have Mert answer i t ' , to be any less forceful on sequential grounds than: "since Mik raised the question have Mik answer i t " . Let i t suffice to suggest at this point in the analysis then that Mary's 'choice' may be based more on 'organization' grounds — particularly with respect to 'membership' considerations — which are displayed in the body of her utterance, and which we shall examine later. Were i t not for Mary's 63/16, as hearers we may not have 'noticed' that Mert made no mention of who raised the original ques-tion. Even though participant-hearers may recall very well who raised the original question, we now hear Mert's repetition formulation con-structed around the view that i t does not matter who originally raised the question so long as the topic is adopted for discussion as a collec 63 tive concern. Since Mik is not the incum-ent of any special position as asker of questions, or controller of the talk, i t is d i f f i c u l t to see how the tagging of the question as 'his' would in any way add force to the re-enstatement of the "original question" as the current topic, or better ensure that i t would then get an answer. While participation i n a meeting may obligate one to keep track of what is said, i t may not be an issue, apart from someone making i t an issue, exactly who said what. Thus, Mary's subsequent reminder that Mik originally asked the question— keeping track of who said what — may be making an issue of Mik's expressed interest in that topic. In contrast to the apparent inconsequentiality of Mert's hypothetical mention of Mik then, Mary's actual invocation of author-ship points to what we shall argue is a central feature of her 63/16. However, any further observations on how Mary employs the invocabil-i t y of authorship as a resource must rest upon a more thorough exam-ination of this somewhat complex utterance. We direct our analysis then toward the development of some appreciation for what Mary is doing in 63/16, with the intention of subsequently returning to con-sider the implications that invoking authorship may have for the structure of the utterance as a whole. We shall f i r s t attend to the character of "the question" as Mary formulates i t : 63/16 Mary Okay what I would like to do about that then is since Mik raised the question have Mik answer i t , I mean Mik' been a Co-op member and one of the f i r s t Co-op members and presumably you didn't pay your money for no reason at a l l so I'd like to hear you say why you joined the 64 Co-op,,,1 mean don't ask me why I've joined/the Co-op or why Nan or anybody else has/ The identification of "so I'd like to hear you say why you joined the Co-op" as Mik's question provides for our hearing i t as, at least, a reformulation of the question Mik presumably raised. Re-calling that Mert's "what are our aims" is similarly presented as a reformulation of "the original question", the matter of their relative status vis-a-vis Mik's "original" formulation of his question arises. At this point we may tentatively consider that for participant hear-ers, i t i s findable that as reformulations, Mert's version and Mary's version stand in the same relationship to Mik's so-called "original question" on the following grounds: i f ' one takes Mary to be a compe-tent participant hearer who was present with Mert for Mik's notorious question, then we would expect her to rely on her own hearing of Mik's "original question" and not take Mert's version as her primary resource, such that Mary would tend not to defend her version with something l i k e : 'But that's what I thought Mert said that. Mik said'. On the basis of their co-presehce then, there is no reason to suspect that Mert's version is produced on any more authoritative a hearing than Mary's. However, while we do not, in this sense, consider Mary's "why you joined the Co-op" to have been produced 'essentially' out of an analysis of Mert's "what are our aims", there are features of Mary's 63/16 which do seem to reflect an analysis of Mert's 63/13-15. In: "Okay what I would like to do about, that then", I hear "that" as re-65 ferring to 'what Mert i s doing'; that i s , 'bringing the question back on the floor'. In 'doing something about that', Mary begins: "since Mik raised the question have Mik answer i t " , wherein she reconstitutes the character of the question on the floor via i t s answerability. Thus, while Mert's version of the original question i s presented as a 'repetition' of i t , Mary's version stands as a 'transformation' of the "original question" as i t i s re-raised by Mert. ('Transformation' i s used here i n a technical sense to refer to members 'recognition practices' as displayed in the interaction and i s not essentially an analyst's construct.) A closer examination of what i s involved in that 'transformation' then, leads us to tentatively consider that at work here i s a procedure involving the return of a question to i t s asker, where, to tie into our main theme, the invocation of authorship is clearly implicated. However, the 'transformation' does not just involve the straight-forward return of a question: that i s , i t i s notable that Mary does not simply ask: 'What do you think our aims are Mik, since you asked the question'. Now, intuitively, i t would seem that for any speaker attempting to return the question of another, any concomitant transfor-mation of that question carries the risk of rendering i t unrecognizable to the orignal asker as_ his question. It i s thus available for p a r t i -cipants to monitor and decide upon such occurrences according to 're-semblance c r i t e r i a ' wherein any such returned question may be discovered to be 'essentially similar' or, 'essentially different' for the purposes of a hearing — the members finding of an essential difference consti-tuting what we are calling a 'transformation'. 66 If we understand Mary's intentions in terms of a desire to have Mik answer "the question", then we can see that by including a transformation of his question in her request, she makes i t available for Mik to take 'her version' of his question as his reference point, and not what he may re c a l l as his "original question". That i s , he is now warranted in attending to 'what Mary says he said' instead of some commonly understood "original question", thereby permitting him to avoid 'answering' by 'returning' Mary's question as 'her' question or, as he does in 63/17, by disowning the question: " i t ' s not the question I asked". The work involved in Mary's "I mean don't ask me why I've joined the Co-op or why Nan or anybody else has" can therefore be seen to be generated by the status of "why you joined the Co-op" as a transformation of the "original question", where what is oriented to (in part) in the subsequent "don't ask me..." is the possibility of a 'returned question' response from Mik, which could be problematic for Mary given "what [she] would l i k e to do about that", which is to "have Mik answer i t " . Having suggested how the transformation-return of a ques-tion may carry the risk of receiving a returned question, or a dis-owning of the question, instead of an answer, we must also contend with the possibility that the manner of asking certain kinds" of ques-tions may place the asker in a precarious position in the f i r s t place Now, we know that there are some kinds of setting questions which typically are not returnable in this way and some kinds that are. A telephone operator's: 'What number did you c a l l please?', i s an 67 example of the former, while the latter type may be found in casual exchanges of views between friends, such as: A: 'Tell me what you think'; B: 'Why not t e l l me what you think'. In this light, Mert's ''what are our aims" is hearable as a question inviting an 'exchange of views' of the matter of "our aims"; in response to which we may have a procedure whereby each participant in turn offers a 'comment', and then passes the question on to a next "speaker. Given the arrange-ment for transference of turns set up in such an invitation, anything resembling a 'returned question' might be seen as a routine event, where, having had the question presented as a collective concern, everyone might be expected to speak to i t at some time during the discussion, perhaps more than once. Hence, while any co-participant may be en-t i t l e d to 'return the question' or, 'pass i t on' without an accompanying answer or comment once under such an arrangement, i t may be seen as a different matter when the question comes by again, to repeat that move before f i r s t offering a response. Judging from Mary's 63/16 action, we are faced with the pos-s i b i l i t y that Mik and Mert are raising a sensitive question. It would seem to be a different order of affairs to raise a question l i k e : 'what should our aims be?', in projecting the establishment of an Association, and raising the question: "what are our aims" three months after i t s establishment. I take i t that for participant hearers, Mert's question i s not equivalent to: 'what do we do now', in a way that would permit, for example: 'Let's have a pottery workshop', to be heard as an 'answer' to "what are our aims". Since there may be 68 some d i f f i c u l t y then with what an answer to such a question would look like at this stage in the development of the organization, in spite of a likelihood that any Co-op member might be expected to have thoughts on the matter, i t may be the kind of question to which one would prefer not to speak f i r s t . Hence, i t would appear that for Mary, Mert's re-raising of the question poses the problem of who w i l l speak f i r s t , about what may be a d i f f i c u l t question. Although Mary's selection of Mik to answer his own question attends to the problem of where to start with an undirected question lik e "what are our aims", i t i s not designed as a way of beginning discussion on the matter. We do not hear Mik being given the chance to demonstrate what an answer would look like so that others may then offer their views. As we have pointed out, Mary does not appear to return the question with the expectation that i t w i l l in time come back for her attention and response: she i s not present-ing her version of Mik's question for general discussion as Mert i s doing with her version, and yet, from our hearing of the two questions, there i s no difference with respect to their answerability for Co-op members. Much of Mary's 63/16 work then may be viewed as attempting to pin Mik down to what she takes to be 'his' question. In this light, we may consider that what Mary makes of the issue i s perhaps too 'ser-ious' to characterize i n terms of an exchange of views; which points to another feature of Mary's transformation of the question on the floor: given the specific transformation of the question in such a way that i t i s only answerable by Mik — as recipient of the question — the question is no longer available for general discussion at that point in talk. 70 III Rather than leave i t up to any next self-selected speaker to offer an 'answer' to Mert's question, Mary takes i t up as a 'moral' concern, as though Mik 'ought to' answer the question. To the extent that our analysis to this point supports the suggestion that this i s the kind of question i t may have been presumptuous and evasive of him to ask without at the same time offering his thoughts on the matter as a candidate answer, we have touched upon the interpretive ground-work through which hearers are provided a way of finding that Mary is doing a 'put-down' by treating Mik as having raised a troublesome question in this way. However, while our above explication of a way of construing "the question" may be sufficient to warrant calling Mary's treatment of Mik a 'put-down', we must press further in our examination of 63/16 to recover the grounds on which Mary is attempt-ing to have Mik answer his own question. It i s simply not available in our repertory of conversational practices to assume that a l l questioners must answer their own questions such that i t could be em-ployed as a 'rule' in producing/hearing the proposition: "since Mik raised the question have Mik answer i t " . It would appear that Mary orients to this deficiency of her opening phrase in subsequently pro-viding 'grounds', and I further take i t that as hearers of "since Mik raised the question have Mik answer i t " , we are supposed to 'read in' , 'wait for', or 'search for', some 'logical' connection between the identification of Mik as original questioner and the selection of Mik as answerer of his own question. Our concern then i s with how Mary 71 provides for a hearer making that kind of connection. Keeping in mind our earlier discussion of the transforma-tion of questions with respect to their returnability, we may now consider that in attempting to extract a response from Mik, Mary i s faced with two related problems which give rise to the following cor-responding general queries: f i r s t , given Mary's action in returning Mik's question, what kind of arrangements provide for questions being returned to the questioner; and second, given Mary's intention to have Mik answer i t , what kind of arrangements provide for a question not being returned. With respect to the former problem, we have already shown, in our discussion of the organizationally situated character of "the original question", an aspect of i t s returnability. There are, how-ever, settings wherein 'special arrangements' permit and encourage the return of unanswered questions to the questioner. We may observe, for example, that non-directive group psychotherapy and perhaps some teaching-learning situations turn on this type of arrangement, where the questioner, a patient or student, anticipates the return of his questions as a constructive device, and expects, as an aspect of his reasons for attendance, that he w i l l ultimately find i t within himself to produce an answer. But we must consider that i t i s the unequal distribution of entitlements and obligations in such settings wherein the same arrangements which permit the return of some participants' questions by others, also provide immunity for other parties to the talk, namely, therapists and teachers. Thus, i t i s by virtue of such 72 arrangements as role sets — [therapist-patient]; [teacher-student]; [telephone operator-caller] — whereby speaker-hearers are provided differential access to resources for handling, among other things, 'returnable question' problems. However, to return to our data, the question "so I'd like to hear you say why you joined the Co-op" i s not organized around any differential entitlements or obligations between Mary and Mik as in any of these above instances. There i s in fact a distinct absence of any such 'situational' arrangements which would together secure a position of 'returner' for Mary, and at the same time establish an obligation on Mik's part to answer Mary's ver-sion of his question. Hence, i f "so I'd like to hear you say why you joined the Co-op" i s problematic at a l l for Mary, i t i s precisely be-cause her status as !fellow Co-op member equally qualifies her, Mik, and most other participants, as eligible answerers of that same ques-tion. Given that such a 'role relationship' i s not invoked, and is perhaps not available to be invoked on this occasion, we must seek to locate the grounds of Mary's action in another order of resource. As an indication of that order, I take i t that her reference to Mik as being "a Co-op member and one of the f i r s t Co-op members" i s not so much 'news' to those gathered as i t i s a provision to see how Mik might be expected to 'know' why he joined,and accordingly, to produce an ans-wer to the question by exploiting his 'founding member' status as a resource. 'Know', 'knowledge' and 'knowing' as used here point to the 'social distribution of knowledge' and has to do with knowledge of 73 methods for'produeing recognizably proper category-bound behaviour. Thus, when we talk of knowledge with respect to Mik's 'knowing why he joined', i t i s not in terms of possessing 'factual information' per se, but rather with being, able to display his competence through the construction of adequate accounts appropriate to the occasion. Hence, the expectation that Mik w i l l be able to produce an answer to the question is'rooted in notions of 'socialized membership' in general, rather than notions of 'obligations' to respond generated out of the incumbency of a particular role vis-a-vis a complementary one. On the other hand, Mik's obligation to respond derives from what we may c a l l 'putting him on the spot', wherein Mary employs the forceful arrange-ment of 'membership categorizations' which we hear as pressuring Mik for a response. Looking f i r s t at "Mik's been a Co-op member and one of the f i r s t Co-op members", we have a description of Mik that is not just a selection from a variety of ways of characterizing Mik, but one which is relevant to both that topic and the group-occasion. Employment of the. "Co-op member" includes Mik with the majority of meeting p a r t i c i -pants, while "one of the f i r s t Co-op members" designates his 'member-ship ' in an exclusive smaller group of 'founding members'. Mary is here invoking Mik's 'founding member' status as a way of displaying for hearers how Mik of a l l people should be sufficiently knowledgeable of "our aims" not to have to ask questions on the subject. I take i t that the use of this resource turns on a feature of the organization of 'becoming a member of the Co-op Association', where, for 'new' and 74. prospective members, such questions of group goals may be quite properly addressed to 'old' members who, after a l l , are in a better position to 'know'. From this point of view, there is nothing out of order about the question i t s e l f , but i t i s 'someone like Mik', raising a question lik e 'Mik's question as construed by Mary', that is being made out as somehow 'unbecoming'. That i s , the activity of 'raising the question' is juxtaposed to a categorization of Mik with which that behaviour is .incompatible: Mary makes out that Mik's asking the question could be heard as possibly indicating that he does not know why he joined and thereby 'behaving as though' he were not "one of the f i r s t Co-op members", when in fact i t is findable that Mik was indeed one of the founding members of the Co-op Association and therefore must be in a position to demonstrate such knowledge. Thus, we hear Mary putting Mik down for raising the question in the f i r s t place. In addition to her calling upon Mik's founding member status, Mary's characterization of Mik as having "joined": "so I'd li k e to hear you say why you joined the Co-op", also points to an intentioned, past, and completed activity about which a l l the information is in, so to speak, and therefore about which Mik should be knowledgeable. It i s against this characterization of Mik as having made a 'commitment' by 'joining' and 'paying his money' that "presumably you didn't pay your money for no reason at a l l " comes across as a forceful move to extract a response from Mik (in the form of his 'reasons for joining'). The force of this action seems to derive from the positing of two contrastive sets of membership categories with their respective bound 75 behaviours: we have on the one hand, a notion of the competent and knowledgeable founding member; and, on the other, a person for whom 'paying money' and 'joining' are not predicated upon an accountable 'reason'. The f i r s t category i s applied in a descriptive, matter of fact fashion while the second category i s introduced with the power-f u l "presumably you didn't", as i f to say: 'surely you're not one of those....'. Thus, Mary i s calling upon a rule of conduct here, against which the appropriateness of Mik's previous and subsequent actions on this matter may be judged; and in this way, provision is made for Mik to remedy the situation via an avoidance of a potentially devastating negative sanction (that i s , being considered rather incompetent and 'dumb' for a founding member): we hear Mary f i r s t placing Mik's com-petence in potential doubt . through retrospective rule-use in. a 'put-down'; and second, employing prospective rule-use in 'putting Mik on the spot' to produce a rational account of 'why he joined the Co-op', thereby constituting the put-down state of affairs as 'correctible' . Having attempted to recover the conceptual-normative struc-tures which provide for our hearing Mary's 63/16 as a forceful 'put-down' and 'putting on the spot', we shall now draw attention to some other interactionally relevant features in a way which complements our previous discussion of the directedness of the question to Mik. Taking the utterance 63/16 as a whole then, attending to sequential development allows us to see at least two possible termina-tion points within the utterance in addition to the actual termination. 76 (This i s based upon a close re-hearing of the tape and not simply upon a 'grammatical analysis'.) A look at the f i r s t segment: "Okay what I'd lik e to do about that then i s since Mik raised the question have Mik answer i t " , from this perspective allows us to see that given a termination at that point, 'enough' data i s available for Mik's analy-sis and action on 'the question' as he remembers i t . Alone, i t might stand as 'selecting a speaker for the topic on the floor'. The second segment: "I mean Mik's been a Co-op member and one of the f i r s t Co-op members and presumably you didn't pay your money for no reason at a l l so I'd like to hear you say why you joined the Co-op", is tied to and elaborates the f i r s t by way of another set of ac t i v i t i e s , ex-amined above, which are nevertheless s t i l l aimed at evoking a response from Mik, a response which, as in the f i r s t segment, could conceivably come at that point as a termination. The third: "I mean don't ask me..." i s similarly tied by way of elaborating the second. Thus at one level, each segment i s attending in different ways and on different grounds to the directedness of the question 'back' to Mik. What we see here i s a rather tight sequence of 'elaboration formulations' where the second is built on the f i r s t and the third on the second, with possible termination points preceding the "I mean". Accordingly, i t is an 'additive' construction rather than a 'developmental' one; that i s , while a next segment builds upon the previous segment, the previous segment does not anticipate, c a l l for, or'project a next segment. The f i r s t half of 63/16: "Okay what I'd like to do about that then is since Mik raised the question have Mik answer i t , I mean Mik's 77 been a Co-op member and one of the f i r s t Co-op members", i s 'about' Mik, and while Mik is clearly a co-present hearer, the gathering, ex-cluding Mik, is being expl i c i t l y addressed; whereas the second half: "and presumably you didn't pay your money for no reason at a l l so I'd li k e to hear you say why you joined the Co-op, I mean don't ask me why I joined the Co-op or why Nan or anybody else has/", is directed spe-' c i f i c a l l y to Mik in the presence of the gathering. This mid-utterance shift i n addressee — a conversational resource available in multi-person gatherings — seems to add force to focussing the gathering's attention on Mik. Such zeroing in on Mik via an addressee shift may make i t d i f f i c u l t for anyone other than Mik to take up the next slot without seeming to 'do rescuing' or, 'get Mik off the spot', and for Mik to f a i l to attend to 'the question' might be seen as avoiding the issue. Therefore while someone else certainly could take the next slot without being subject to 'Mik's constraints',the hearing of that next utterance would s t i l l be controlled by Mary's 63/16. While controlling a hearing of any next utterance, Mary's 63/16 ex p l i c i t l y provides for a way of hearing an 'answer' from Mik. By positioning herself as a hearer in: "I' to hear you say", she displays a monitoring strategy which is not based upon a primary interest in any informative-factual features in Mik's response, but rather, upon an interest in Mik's 'performance' — to see i f he can do i t — much as one would find in questions at an oral examination or a job interview. But here we must refine our earlier notions about the implications of Mik's response for deciding upon his competence. We 78 would be incorrect in concluding from these remarks that participant hearers are being set up to simply hear any response from Mik as an act of self-classification according to the categories which Mary posits in her putting him on the spot: in describing how the contras-tive arrangement of these membership categories supplies force to Mary's action, we do not intend that this stand as an explication of members' interpretive procedures for subsequently hearing Mik's res-ponse and deciding on his status, although we see i t available as a resource for such action. With the reminder that Mary i s after a l l pressuring him to produce an account of his reasons for joining the Co-op, i t becomes evident that such an account may then be monitored for 'how well' he performs, wherein the question of 'adequacy' emerges — not only the question of what would constitute an adequate account; but also, what apparatus would be employable in rendering the matter of adequacy de-cideable. Now, whether or not this question of 'reasons for joining' has ever come up before, participants may find from Mary's formulation that such reasons are something each of.them, as members, can be seen to have, and that the question 'why did you join the Co-op' i s answer-able. Thus, in context of the rationale for the organization as a whole, member hearers may be said to have access to resources for con-structing some sense of 'why anyone would want to join the Co-op', which would be available in monitoring Mik's answer for i t s i n t e l l i g i -b i l i t y as a 'possible and adequate reason'. In this way hearers may find that perhaps Mik 'joined for the wrong reasons', or, given those reasons, 'shouldn't have joined at a l l ' , and so on. Hence, the method 79 Mary employs in setting up a way of monitoring Mik's response for the possibility that there may be some deficiency in his formulation of his reasons for joining, i s part of what we might c a l l a diagnostic stra-tegy for locating Mik's problem'. However, i f Mik can give an ade-quate account of his reasons for joining, then under the terms of. our hearing to this point, he does not have a 'problem' after a l l , in the sense of being able to demonstrate his competence with respect to self-knowledge of his own conscious acts. In testing Mik on such self-knowledge with: "so I'd like to hear you say why you joined the Co-op", Mary is essentially calling for an autobiographical account. Mary is clearly not asking Mik for an historical account of the Association such as would seem to be l i -censed by Mert's question: "what are our aims"; but on the other hand, she is not asking for just any kind of autobiographical statement either, such as: 'Tell us about yourself Mik'. To be precise, in asking Mik as 'one of the f i r s t members' why he joined the Co-op, she is exploiting-constructing a 'factual resource' out of,the intersection of Mik's biography and Co-op history. We may now see how Mary's "...why you joined..." may be a transformation of Mert's "What are our aims", where the construction of the former relies for i t s sense upon the Co-op Association being the kind of organization i n which the i n -dividual member stands in a special relationship to the c o l l e c t i v i t y insofar as the correspondence between group and individual goals are concerned; particularly during the formative phase of development displayed at this F i r s t Annual General Meeting, where the collective 80 aims of the Association may be made up of individual member's reasons for joining. There are grounds for one to expect then that this corres-pondence between group and individual goals would be greatest for 'founding members' for whom there were no ,;aims" of the Association independent of their i n i t i a l reasons for establishing i t , thereby providing a warrant for Mary's argument that Mik should produce an autobiographical account. That being "one of the f i r s t members" may be taken as a voluntary act of self-commitment i s therefore useable in extracting an account of his 'personal reasons'. Thus, while cate-gorizing Mik as "one of the f i r s t members" may provide some support for the expectation that he w i l l indeed be able to handle the problem she i s putting before him, she also, in doing a biographical analysis of Mik, points to a past state of affairs as a 'reminder' which he now has available to consult in reconstructing a semblance of his original motives, goals, or reasons. To have invoked another categorial iden-t i f i e r such' as age, sex, etc., would not, in this case, display how he might be expected to produce such an account. This points to an underlying component of Mary's put-down which i s supplied by the logic of Mary's transformation of "the question": given Mik's possible lack of self-knowledge with respect to 'why he joined', 'what sense would i t make for a person like him to search for such 'knowledge' by con-sulting other person's reasons?'. To the extent.that Mary's c a l l for an autobiographical ac-count works as a probe to unearth a possible problem that Mik may have 81 regarding self-knowledge, her question "why you joined the Co-op" is . reminiscent of the group-psychotherapy talk generator — 'why are you/we here?' (Turner, 1972) which is regularly met with a patient's formulation of a problem. Since Mik is present a_s a Co-op member, i t is presumed that a question in the form of 'why are you here' would be interpretable with respect to category membership and not attendance or physical presence per se. (I take i t that we are not dealing with a 'why are you here' which calls for an account of someone's presence in a place, such as the police officer's interrogation of a person on a downtown alley at 2:00 a.m., or a security guard checking out a stranger at a 'closed meeting', where what that person must produce is some membership category for which his presence in that spot at that time can be seen as somehow proper; and where that may or may not lead to a line of talk about that person's 'reasons for membership'.) On this basis i t is argued that "why you joined the Co-op" may be de-signed for similar work in this setting as 'why are you/we here' in group psychotherapy, with respect to extracting an account of 'becoming a category member'. Thus,, given that "why you joined the Co-op" is that kind of 'why are you here' question, i t is relevant to the char-acter of the occasion at that point, as Mary constructs i t , that every-one i s not made out to be a necessary answerer: while i t is implied that everyone should be able to provide an answer to such a question, Mik is being asked to produce an answer.'on his own' so to speak, and not as merely the f i r s t of a number of participants who w i l l also be answering that same question — which one would expect in group therapy. 82 The above comparison, 'likening' the Co-op meeting to a group psychotherapy session, is not presented as merely a descriptive aid: the basis for any such comparison l i e s in the f i r s t instance v/ith those 'therapeutically relevant' setting features which are dis-played for participant hearers through Mary's.action i t s e l f . It would be in order at this point then, to c a l l upon additional background information which is considered consequential for a refined hearing of what Mary is doing. Approaching this additional information via the main theme of our analysis, we pose the following question: considering that in calling for an autobiographical account, 'personal' material be-comes topical, how then does such an account become relevant as an item of business at this meeting? Working from the proposition that topics derive their legitimacy as items of business from the context of organizational goals and purposes, we are led to a dominant feature of the Association's 'public' raison d'etre. In i t s formative stages, the Association was b i l l e d as a "human potential Co-op" where members could discover how to use one another as resources toward their own personal-emotional growth, lending a somewhat therapeutic flavor to the enterprise. Furthermore, several of the members had experienced various forms of psychotherapy, and i t was generally known that the Co-op head was himself conducting therapy on a small scale. Under the auspices of that ' b i l l i n g ' , which extends 'Co-op business' into the area of personal problems, we now hear Mary's 63/16 as a possible attempt to locate Mik's problem, in the face of which, participants may ,83 find, by consulting the appropriate 'reasons', that such a confronta-tion is f i t t i n g and.proper. Indeed, this may be one feature to which Mik orients in producing his 63/17 response: "It's a fair question." From this perspective then, and to the extent that we see a therapeutic aspect to her pressuring Mik to 'face' and recount his own motivations for joining, Mary is 'helping' him. Although we noted earlier that she does not invoke any special status to do so, i t is now available to add that she i s , in particular, relying on her equal status as co-member of an occasioned-group whose terms of reference provide for that kind of activity. 84 IV In the course of our study of the 63/16 exchange between Mert and Mary we have been afforded the opportunity to explore in some detail the nature of 'returnable questions', from which we have dev-eloped the view that Mary, in taking Mert's 'collective concern' ques-tion as a troublesome question and turning i t into a person-specific matter, i s essentially accomplishing a transformation of the problem. From our analysis of this transformation then, we are able to discern three principle structural features which are essentially 'biographi-cal' in character: invoking authorship, doing biographical analysis, and calling for an autobiographical account; a l l of which appear to be implicated i n the directedness of the question and topical attention toward Mik. But as interactionally relevant features they are tied in different ways to the course of the talk: Mary's invocation of authorship is expl i c i t l y tied to the sequential features of the fore-going meeting talk, while doing biographical analysis is situated in a more extended sequence of transituational Organization events; calling for an autobiographical account on the other hand implicates both authorship and biography: that i s , hearers would subsequently be dis-posed to keep track of 'who said what', not simply to follow suit with Mary's invocation of authorship, but because the import of whatever is said in such accounts is author-specific. Given this person-specific scheme of relevance which Mary imposes, the "original question" is now available for participant hearers to take as 'part o f any sub-85 sequent autobiographical accounting on Mik's part, in the sense that Mik can now be seen to be asking himself that "original question". For the organization of conversation then, these biographi-cally relevant features may be an integral part of the solution to topic choice and speaker selection problems; and as we have shown, i t i s the ava i l a b i l i t y of 'Organizational' resources in the form of 'reasons for the meeting' and 'reasons for joining' which provide for the solution of these interactional problems in particular ways — for example, permitting persons to become t o p i c s ' — ways which produce for participants the appearance of that occasioned-group as they know i t — the Firs t Annual General Meeting of their Co-operative Associa-tion. 86 CONCLUSIONS Two brief excerpts of transcribed talk from the Firs t Annual General Meeting of a Co-operative Association were taken as data for the study of participants' organization of that occasion through their conversational practices. In presenting a descriptive analysis of members' strategies for constructing this talk as socially organized activity, we have supplied additional 'ethnographic detail' only where that detail was considered to be displayed by participants for the purpose of doing that activity, and to provide for i t s recogniza-b i l i t y by hearers. While these same ethnographic 'facts' are also available for 'doing conventional ethnographic description', for ex-ample: 'The f i r s t A.G.M. of the Co-op began in a relatively informal fashion with Vern extending an open invitation for topics of general concern and interest.'; such a description would be a t r i v i a l gloss of the 'beginning' as we have come to understand i t . In our approach to ethnography as the study and explication of members' social practices, we are able to offer a descriptive analysis without divorcing the set-ting's 'factual' resources from members' practices, through which the relevance of• those features i s created and displayed. It i s consistent with this view that we do not commence the study with a 'definition' of 'meeting' as a form of social organization with distinguishable and stable characteristics, but instead find that the meeting character of that occasion i s constituted in and through such act i v i t i e s as: 'beginning', 'constructing a way of proceeding', 'constructing a f i r s t 87 item of business', and 'keeping track of topics and speakers'. Through the analysis of these a c t i v i t i e s , we are able to locate at least one fundamental aspect of that 'meeting character' in the topic-choice speaker-selection problems and.the particular manner of their solution. However, we also find that other aspects of the acti v i t i e s we have examined are situated with respect to that occasioned-group as a formally constituted 'organization', and do not turn on the 'meet-ing' character of the occasion — such as 'calling upon a person's founding member status in the organization', which would be just as comprehensible an action in a two party encounter; and yet other fea-tures, adjacency pairing for example, would seem to apply to the or-ganization of talk'in any setting. But to point to the boundedness of our analysis, none of our description purports to say anything about 'groups like co-operative associations'. In the course of our descriptive analysis then, we have employed a distinction approximat-ing Goffman's differentiation between 'situational' and 'merely situa-4 ted' aspects of situated activity (p. 22) . In retrospect, we are able to extract from our analysis, several main sets of issues for which we have located referents in the literature. With respect to the social organization of occasions, we have confronted in the 'beginning' sequence "...the kind of restructuring that can occur when-a situation i s transformed from one containing many encounters >— a multifocused situation — to one that i s exhausted 88 4 by a single all-encompassing engagement" (Goffman, p. 164) . Both 10 5 Turner (pp. 375-382) and Moerman (pp. 459-462) have examined actual instances of such transformations, and point out how a 'beginning' may be accomplished over an extended sequence of activities includ-ing the prior assembly of participants and their engagement in "pre-therapy talk" and 'pre-"hearing" talk' respectively, the distinctive character of which derives from their occurrence just prior to the commencement of the core activity. In the analysis of our data how-ever — in basing our characterizations of members' activity upon the methods and .resources which they employ in constructing those activi-, . ties — we "are required to attend to the multiple 'reasons' for the gathering which provide for the segmentation of events and core a c t i -v i t i e s on that occasion, such that what we described as 'sociable talk in the kitchen', is not, for participants, subordinated to the subsequent 'meeting talk': thus, we are not warranted in this instance i n referring to the occurrence of 'pre-meeting talk' as such. In confronting the social organization of talk (where our 6 descriptive vocabulary draws heavily upon the work of Harvey Sacks ) particular attention has been paid to 'the adequate formulation of ques tions' (Lu's A19 and Mert's 63/15); 'the transformation of questions' (Lu's A19 and Mary's 63/16); and the issue of 'returnable questions'. In addressing 'sequential features', we find participants not only en-gaged in the 'tight' sequencing of adjacency pairing for example, but also employing as a resource, the temporal structure of remembered past a c t i v i t i e s ; as we find at several points in the data where ' f i r s t -89 ness' is invoked in providing force for such actions as Mert's 63/13 ("the original question"); and Mary's 63/16 ("one of the f i r s t Co-op members") As part of our thematic concern with speaker involvement; particularly with respect to our analysis of Mary's 'invoking author-ship', 'doing biographical analysis', and 'calling for an autobio-graphical account'; our findings are suggestive of further work in the study of biography and social structure; and point toward an approach to the question posed by Schenkein: "what are the resources and means by which persons inhabiting a common culture go about assuring their integration within that culture while likewise assuring their indi-8 viduality?" (p. 122) . We did not set out to find organizational behaviour, as such, but to the extent that participants' actions are heard to turn on. their presence as_ members of the Co-op Association, and with res-pect to the resources for interaction that such membership provides on that occasion; our analysis touches on the kinds of phenomena 1 11 Bittner and Wieder examine in their study of 'organizationally' situated activity. Particularly, in our analysis of Mary's 63/16 construction of a 'factual resource' out of the intersection of Mik's biography and Co-op history, we demonstrate the useability of conver-sational materials in doing ethnographic studies of the sets of social practices which are constitutive of 'the organization' as members 'know' i t . The weight of our findings indicate then, that further study of 'the meeting' — as one of the more pervasive and accessible 90 arenas of social activity through which organizations manifest them-selves — promises a contribution to our understanding of the social organization of multi-person gatherings, and the 'situational' and 'merely situated' production of occasioned talk in natural settings. 91 BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Bittner, Egon. "The Concept of Organization", Social Research 32 (August), 1965. 2.. Garfinkel, Harold. Studies in Ethnomethodology, (Englewood C l i f f s , New Jersey: Prentice-Hall), 1967. 3. Garfinkel, Harold and Harvey Sacks. "On Formal Structures of Practical Actions" in Theoretical Sociology: Perspectives and Developments, ed. J.C. McKinney and E. Tiryakian (Appleton-Century-Crofts), L969. 4. Goffman, Erving. Behavior in Public Places, (New York: The Free Press of Glencoe), 1963. 5. Moerman, Michael. "A L i t t l e Knowledge", in Cognitive Anthropology, ed. S.A. Tyler, (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston), 1969. 6. Sacks, Harvey. Unpublished lectures 1967-1971; "On the Analyzabil-ity of Stories by Children", in Directions in Sociolinguistics, ed. J.J. Gumperz and D. Hymes, (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston), 1972; "An I n i t i a l Investigation of the Usability Of Conversational Data for Doing Sociology", in Studies in Social Interaction, ed. D. Sudnow (New York: The Free Press), 1972. 7. Schegloff, Emanuel A. "Sequencing in Conversational Openings", in Directions in Sociolinguistics, ed. J.J. Gumperz and D. Hymes, (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston), 1972. 8. Schenkein, James Norton. Some Methodological and Substantive Issues in the Analysis of ConversationalInteraction, Ph.D. Dissertation, Sociology, University of California, Irvine, 1971. 9. Turner, Roy. "Words, Utterances, and Ac t i v i t i e s " , in Understanding  Everyday Life , ed. J.D. Douglas, (Chicago: Aldine), 1970. 10. Turner, Roy. "Some Formal Properties of Therapy Talk", in Studies in Social Interaction, ed. D. Sudnow, (New York: The Free Press), 1972. 11. Wieder, Donald Lawrence. The Convict Code: A Study of a Moral Order as a Persuasive Activity, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, 1969. 12. Zimmerman, Don H. and Melvin Pollner. "The Everyday World as a Phe-nomenon", in Understanding Everyday Life, ed. J.D. Douglas, (Chicago: Aldine), 1970. 


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