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Abstract Hougaard

Fused Bodies: Sense-making as a phenomenon of interacting knowledgeable social human beings

This programmatic paper presents the philosophical, theoretical and methodological basis of a new approach to sense-making in interaction, an approach which we, in accordance with its scope and focus, have called Fused Bodies (Hougaard & Hougaard, forth.). The approach takes as its empirical basis the face-to-face interaction between knowledgeable human beings and it employs ethnomethodological (EM, Garfinkel 1967) and conversation analytic (CA, Sacks 1992) methods for studying how the members in interactional situations achieve shared sense making. Yet, the Fused Bodies approach goes beyond traditional CA in expanding the scope of inquiry to include not only the faces and actions of the participants who produce them in interaction, but their entire bodies, including as a natural extension, their physiology, neurology and plausible interactional psychology and cognition. Still, the otherwise anti-mentalist object of CA is taken seriously in that the Fused Bodies approach focuses only on resources for sense-making that are interactionally set. Hence, issues of neurology, psychology and cognition are reached through the backdoor, so to speak.

In this talk we will attempt in a brief fashion to clarify the positions, motivations, foci, and constraints of the Fused Bodies approach and we will relate it to discussions of embodiment, meaning construction, the status of cognition and language and the social aspects of these within current Cognitive Linguistics. With this we hope to contribute to the essential theoretical, methodological and philosophical discussions that follow from the rapid expansion of Cognitive Linguistics these years, into discourse, pragmatics, social science and related fields as well as to the rethinking of classic Cognitive Linguistics tenets, for instance embodiment. The talk will be organized around illustrative empirical cases or human interaction



Garfinkel, H. (1967) Studies in ehtnomethodolog. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Hougaard, Gitte R. & Anders R. Hougaard. (Forthcoming) Fused Bodies: Sense-making as a phenomenon of interacting knowledgeable social human beings

Sacks, H. (1992) Lectures on Conversation. Massachusetts: Blackwel