Distant but Present: Rebuilding intersubjectivity in video-mediated interaction

Tutkimustuotos: VäitöskirjaCollection of Articles


During the last few decades, video mediation has become ubiquitous in our social lives. This is due to accessible equipment and internet connections and societal changes that support the adoption of technologically mediated interaction. Research and theorising on video mediation have concentrated on measuring task performance and explaining it with the features of video mediation, often described as cold or poor compared to face-to-face interaction. Less is known about how interaction unfolds in video-mediated settings and how, despite the different possibilities for action compared to face-to-face settings, people are able to maintain and rebuild shared understandings in video mediation. In this doctoral dissertation, which is comprised of four empirical articles and an integrative chapter, I examine how the processes of intersubjectivity – that is, forming, maintaining and repairing a shared understanding of the ongoing action – are managed in interaction and how video mediation becomes consequential in these processes. I use ethnomethodological conversation analysis to examine how interactants recognise technology-generated ruptures of intersubjectivity, how they repair these ruptures, and how technical mediation becomes consequential for these practices in video-mediated interaction.

I use data from three different settings: 1) video-mediated health counselling groups simultaneously video-recorded from both the group and the leader perspectives, 2) video-mediated tele-homecare visits between single home-dwelling older adults and professionals recorded in either the home environment or the professional’s office, and 3) hybrid tele-consultations recorded in a general practitioner’s office. The varied nature of the data in terms of institutional context, number of participants, technological settings and perspectives recorded enable analysing two recurring phenomena that have been recognised in ethnomethodological research on video-mediated interaction: a) how transmission delays produce non-mutual interactional realities where the timing of actions differ from different perspectives of action, and b) how limited video frames produce fractured ecologies which hinder the co-ordination of body movements and the use of artefacts.

Based on the analyses of the data, I argue that as in face-to-face interactions, participants recognise the ruptures of intersubjectivity against the sequential relevance of actions. Whether or not the interactants recognise something as potential trouble for intersubjectivity is contingent on the distant participant’s ability to participate in an appropriate way in a given situation; that is, to produce sequentially relevant next actions. When resolving the ruptures of intersubjectivity, interactants need to make their perspectives available to others and have those others’ perspectives available to themselves. The interactants achieve this by two intertwined practices: verbal explications and physical demonstrations. When employing these practices, individuals orient themselves to the technological mediation as relevant by fitting their conduct to the media available to the other participants. Video mediation shapes the conditions of both evaluating sequential relevance and making perspectives salient, as it distorts both the timing of turns and the space in which bodily interactions are produced and received. Thus, when repairing intersubjectivity, interactants fit their repair practices to the affordances of the technological medium and the nature of a given misunderstanding.

The study contributes to conversation analytic research on video-mediated interaction by examining the relationship of verbal explications and physical demonstrations with the more general topic of repairing intersubjectivity in video-mediated interaction. Based on these analyses, I suggest that the broader field of computer-mediated communication would benefit from the action-centred and context-sensitive mode of analysis offered by ethnomethodological conversation analysis, as this would highlight creative and diverse ways of using communication technologies and offer a more robust theoretical understanding of the relationship between human conduct and communication media.
ISBN (elektroninen)978-952-03-2631-9
TilaJulkaistu - 2022
OKM-julkaisutyyppiG5 Artikkeliväitöskirja


NimiTampere University Dissertations - Tampereen yliopiston väitöskirjat
ISSN (painettu)2489-9860
ISSN (elektroninen)2490-0028


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