Steven E. Clayman

Professor of Sociology

University of California, Los Angeles


My primary research concerns the intersection of language, interaction, and mass communication.  To this end, I integrate conversation analysis with quantitative methods to examine forms of broadcast talk such as news interviews and presidential news conferences.  Since news and public affairs information is increasingly organized around spontaneous interactions rather than scripted narratives, I am interested in what the study of interaction can reveal about journalism, press-state relations, and the sociopolitical landscape.

Beyond the domain of news media, I explore how interaction works in various institutional and occupational settings ranging from medicine and law to public safety and commerce.  More broadly still, I am interested in ordinary conversation and the organization of interaction per se — what Erving Goffman termed the interaction order — as an elementary social form and an institution in its own right.

Current projects include:

  1. *Political positioning and sociopolitical legitimacy

  2. *Early 20th century press conferences and presidential accountability

  3. *Address terms as a resource for turn design, turn extension, and action formation