Abstract for Confirming Allusions: Toward an Empirical Account of Action
Emanuel A. Schegloff: "Confirming Allusions:
Toward an Empirical Account of Action," American
Journal of Sociology, 102:1, 1996, 161-216.
As part of a larger effort to develop an
empirically grounded theory of action, this
article describes a previously undescribed action
that occurs in talk-in-interaction. The practice
of agreeing with another by repeating what they
have said is shown to constitute the action of
confirming an allusion-that is, confirming both
its "content" and its prior inexplicit conveyance.
The author reviews the past treatment of "action"
in sociology and the key constraints on
undertaking an empirically grounded account. The
account of "confirming allusions" is offered to
exemplify what this undertaking will involve;
several instances of an unremarkable usage in
conversation are displayed and used to formulate
a puzzle, a database is developed for the
exploration of the target usage, and a candidate
solution to the puzzle is formulated, exemplified,
and defended through a range of analytic
techniques. The linkage between the practice and
the action that it implements is analytically
sketched by examining other uses of repetition in
talk-in-interaction. In conclusion, the
significance of both the theme and the analysis
for studies of interaction and culture and for
sociological theory is discussed.