Seeing the point: attention and participation in the airline cockpit

Maurice Nevile

    Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


    This paper studies pointing in naturally occurring interaction in a sociotechnical work setting: the airline cockpit. To conduct their work, airline pilots do not actually have to point to anything. However, pilots do routinely point to things. Pointing in the cockpit is a means for embodying varied forms of attention and participation. How a point is produced, and specifically where a point is produced in surrounding space relative to its target and to the other pilot’s field of vision, can make a point more or less witnessable, and so make more or less visually salient its target’s status as a source of visual evidence for a task-related action or event. Varying a point’s witnessability allows pilots to vary the nature and immediacy for how a location in the cockpit should be attended for collaborative action for work. Some gesture researchers have suggested that systematic variations in the manner of pointing can relate to the kind of action being undertaken and the speaker’s expectations of how what is said is to be dealt with by an interlocutor. This paper addresses this possibility from an interest in ethnomethodology and conversation analysis for uncovering the practices and processes of reasoning by which people accomplish social actions and produce the intelligible orderliness of everyday life, including the everyday life of institutions and workplaces. The paper adds to studies of gestures as embedded in practices and as occurring and made intelligible within spaces in a physical environment that participants organise, create and treat as relevant and meaningful for what they are doing.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationConference Proceedings of Interacting Bodies 2007: Gestures and the Organisation of Social Interaction: Ethnomethodological and Conversational Perspectives
    EditorsL Mondada
    Place of PublicationFrance
    PublisherICAR Ecole Normale Suierieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    Event2nd Conference of the International Society for Gesture Studies - Lyon, France
    Duration: 15 Jun 200518 Jun 2005


    Conference2nd Conference of the International Society for Gesture Studies


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