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.

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