Organization of Participation in the Meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous
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Issues in Applied Linguistics

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Organization of Participation in the Meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous


AA meetings are an arena of mutual help for recovering substance abusers. They are characteristically formal interactions in which turns are pre-allocated to parties. Through the analysis of audio-recordings of interactions, I have shown that the formality of interaction is members' collaborative achievement. The opening rituals of a meeting are members' method to mark the boundary between muruiane talk and the specific institutional sphere so that parties may move from conversational turn-taking to formally arranged turn-taking. As a collaborative achievement, the format of meeting interaction is an enabling structure that allows parties to design their turns so that they may talk into being the institution of mutual help. Participants orient to the pre-allocated time-slots as cm aspect of the format of AA meeting interaction that allows them to construct their turns in collaboration with recipients. AA members use the specific format of their meeting interaction to share their experiences and to establish egalitarian relationships with each other.

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