LINGUIST List 31.2932

Mon Sep 28 2020

Calls: Pragmatics/Switzerland

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 26-Sep-2020
From: Pentti Haddington <>
Subject: Social Interaction in High Stakes Crisis Communication
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Full Title: Social Interaction in High Stakes Crisis Communication

Date: 27-Jun-2021 - 02-Jul-2021
Location: Winterthur, Switzerland
Contact Person: Pentti Haddington
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics

Call Deadline: 25-Oct-2020

Meeting Description:

This panel brings together empirical papers that investigate low frequency but high stakes communication between crisis negotiators, emergency services, and related professionals – and sometimes with members of the public who are service users – using conversation analysis. By low frequency, we refer to the fact that our datasets comprise recurrent (for the professionals involved) but low-occurrence events (e.g., from the perspective of service users who call a suicide helpline) relative to, say, police interviews with arrested suspects, or as a subset of all calls to emergency services. By high stakes crisis, we refer to the matters being dealt with by interacting parties, which involve threat to life, to social order or, potentially, death. The institutional settings investigated constitute hard-to-access sites involving extensive negotiation with relevant stakeholders, often leading to the co-production of knowledge with those professionals whose job is to communicate with people in crisis of various kinds – and even the training of those professionals.

The panel focuses on crisis communication settings that remain unstudied or understudied in conversation analysis, in contrast to, for example, medical settings. It invites studies from live crisis situations (e.g. police negotiations with suicidal persons, suicide helplines, police-lay people interactions, call/dispatch centres), training simulations (e.g. mass casualty exercises, crisis management training), and telephone calls to complex multimodal events. The contributions may examine a range of topics, from preparing and training for crisis before it has happened to ongoing live crisis; and from how decision-making happens in time-limited environments which are also uncertain or ambiguous in nature. The studies show how professionals deal with unpredictable external challenges (e.g., technology failure) and how the management of extraordinary events may nevertheless be routinized.

The panel will apply the theoretical background and methodological rigour of EMCA. From its very beginnings, EMCA research has examined institutional and organizational settings. However, this work has not typically focused on moments of crisis where there is an immediate threat to life for at least one of the parties to that interaction. This is in part because such encounters are hard to access, requiring lengthy negotiations with the partner organizations whose work is under empirical scrutiny. The papers augment an emerging body of EMCA work on acute crisis, which is proving impactful on the organizations themselves (e.g., via research-based training) as well on our fundamental understanding of the organization of talk. As early work (e.g. Stokoe et al. 2019) shows, interaction in crisis and conflict settings has begun to interrogate established understandings of core concepts in CA. Each of the papers in the panel will make visible core aspects of the social organization of crisis communication, contributing not just to what we know about those settings, but also the fundamentals of our discipline (Kevoe-Feldman, 2019).

Call for Papers:

Membership & webpage for abstract submission (
- you need to be a member in IPrA in order to access the website and submit an abstract:
- the registration and membership fee is paid online here:
- more information about the CFP and submitting:

Deadline for abstract submission online: October 25, 2020
- Remember to select the right panel when you submit: Social Interaction in High Stakes Crisis Communication
- One author can be first author in only one submission. It is possible to be a co-author in other papers.
- Abstract length is 250-500 words (including possible references)
- Please adjust your abstract to panel theme (see panel abstract): the research should be on-going or completed, the abstract should include a research question and an account of the used data and the method

We plan to reserve 30 minutes for each presentation (20 min talk + 10 mins for discussion).

Panel organisers: Pentti Haddington and Elizabeth Stokoe

Page Updated: 28-Sep-2020