Every naturally occurring activity has its own specific sets of available resources for action. For example, spoken language is often a central communicative resource in human interaction. However, in most situations talk is not the only resource at hand. When we speak to each other, we often have the possibility also to see each other. This makes it possible to use the body and its relation to the material surround for communicative purposes. Therefore, when we communicate in real time we usually mobilise a number of mutually dependent and simultaneous behaviours. One example is when we point. The pointing hand often needs a verbal utterance for the recipient to understand, and, reflexively, the verbal utterance needs the pointing hand to be fully understood. The scientific approach that takes a particular interest in communication and interaction by means of several communicative resources is called multimodal interaction analysis, or multimodal conversation analysis, and this is where my own work is mainly situated.
Based on detailed analyses of video recordings of a range of situations – where people speak French, Swedish or English – I have identified a number of everyday and professional ways of accomplishing particular actions, and showed their practical relevance in different activities. How people close down conversational sequences, theatre goers laugh together, television production crews live-edit studio interviews, and learn to drive in driving schools are some of the things that I have so far studied. Currently, I study distributed new production processes at a Swedish media house, that publishes news in print and for the web.
I teach courses in interaction analysis, linguistics and French at the Department of Culture and Communication (IKK). Previously the head of Modern Languages at IKK, I am now the vice dean for research and research training at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.