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Constituting Interaction and Phenomena in Geological Practice: A study in the interactive organization of talk, bodies, and phenomenal landscapes and their public revealing as consequential worlds in geological fieldwork

  • Author(s): Smith, Michael Sean
  • Advisor(s): Goodwin, Charles
  • et al.

The present research analyzes interactants as they work and interact within naturally occurring, heterogenous landscapes in wilderness settings. The analytical focus is on how interactants cultivate understandings about a) the landscapes within which they are currently interacting and b) the locales and/or objects situated therein, and importantly, how these landscapes, objects, locales are integrated in the practitioner’s embodied and discursive practices as interactional, sequential, and turn-constructional resources and achievements. In the end, the analysis illustrate how the participants' interactional practices reveal a consequential, knowable world. Using field geology as a perspicuous settings, this study will investigate these practices in the work that field geologists produce in constructing geological objects and locales in the form of rocks, layers, faults, folds, locales, and landscapes, and how these are the product of the participants' coordination between talk-in-interaction and other modalities, including gesture, embodied action, mobility, and visual forms of representation. The findings will contribute to our understanding of other domains of scientific practice, e.g., how language, embodied action, and diagrammatic reasoning facilitate scientific pursuits. The study involves observing both novice and senior practitioners work in wilderness settings. Analyses will focus on how practitioners' knowledge is acquired, deployed, and transformed in interaction not only with one another but in engagement with the dense materiality of their phenomenal world, and how the products of these interactions and engagement contribute to discourse in the geosciences as a community of practice and body of knowledge.

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