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Event: Workshop: Direct interaction: methods of research, epistemology, and conceptualization

Event date June 02, 2022 - June 04, 2022
Location Romania
Host(s) Center for Applied Philosophy, Babeş-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca 
Event website/information For more information, contact Ion Copoeru,

Direct interaction

methods of research, epistemology, and conceptualization





The interactions constituted a topic of investigation in social sciences and philosophy starting with the beginning of the 20th century. Initially, the study of interactions was associated with the investigation of human experience. Georg Simmel and Erving Goffman have shifted the understanding of social phenomena by reversing their traditional framing as means-end and cause-effect chain models.

For Simmel, the phenomena of face-to-face interaction were central to the sociological investigation. Through Cooley and Mead, social interactionism emphasized the importance of interaction in social psychology. In developmental psychology, Vygotsky was among the first to speak about the role of interpersonal interactions for cognitive development. The interrelations of people’s behaviors in each other’s immediate presence became the focus of interest for many researchers in the first half of the century. Therefore, the method of measuring and analyzing the behavior of persons in face-to-face interactions received a greater attention. However, the investigation of interactions was not the primary object of study, but rather a means for explaining social institutions and human relationships. Linguistics, ethnology and anthropology largely contributed in the last decades of the century to bring about the structure of the interactions and to describe accurately the entirety of elements involved in them. In linguistics, three major fields of research were opened: the conversation analysis (Goffman, Kerbrat-Orecchioni), the politeness theory (Brown and Levinson) and speech acts theory (Austin, Searle). The “action” as unite of the behavior have been identified and measured (Chapple), paving their way for quantitative research on social organization structure. Studies on body motion (the Birdwhistell’s kinesics, for example), and the recent surge of gesture studies field of visible bodily action (driven by authors such as Kendon, McNeill,), that plays a central role in understanding language and more broadly the communication process in human interaction, in various culture and social context, nowadays have many applications areas. Goldin-Meadow even shows that gestures have an important role in cognition in general. On the other hand, joint attention, i.e. attention to an object or situation that is shared with another person, plays an important role in language development (Yu & Smith).

Another parallel approach focused on the classification of the content of what people communicate. Bales’ system of categories, for example, is based on a theory of the interactive process as problem-solving situation.

In the first two decades of the 21st century a larger quantity of research has been directed towards direct interaction, in which participants are standing in direct contact and are wholly engaged or immersed in interaction. As a consequence, researchers considered new aspects of the interrelation between the body, the surroundings, and the interaction itself when actors are coming together.

The theoretical and methodological advances in studying interactions, particularly face-to-face interactions, both required and prompted a series of conceptual (philosophical) clarifications:

  • the definition and the structure of the situation; emerging traits in situation;
  • the definition of action and interaction; typology of interactions; verbal and co-verbal aspects; taking-turns; multimodality;
  • the role of subjectivity in interactions; children and adults in interaction;
  • the potential impact of an interactive theory of various field of research and human activity
  • the types of theories which are fit to capture the nature and the complexity of interactions; the theoretical models subjacent to the measuring and analyzing of interactions; the validity of the theoretical

Workshop’s Aim 

The aim of this workshop is to investigate in a collaborative way which research methods, which types of investigation and which underlying epistemological models are able to capture interaction with its specificities. We wish to cross different conceptualizations and methodologies, in the study of diverse interactions that go beyond human interaction: human-animal, human-machine, etc.

One of the ambitions of this joint research work is also to philosophically legitimize the field of interactions as a distinct field of investigation.

We invite researchers who work on interaction in different fields (philosophy, linguistics, psychology, conversational analysis, etc.) to submit their work and thoughts in progress for consideration during the workshop.

The following questions may guide your proposal, within your own discipline:

– What is interaction? How do you define it? Is it a concept? A simple notion?

– How do you analyze it? With what tools?

– Which interaction model(s) do you use in your field of knowledge? How theoretical models are constructed and applied to empirical situations?

You are invited to present a work in progress, a first draft to be reworked after the workshop.  

After a review process, the final version of your papers may be sent for publication for a Supplement to Issue of STUDIA UNIVERSITATIS BABES-BOLYAI – PHILOSOPHIA. The articles will be indexed in WoS-ESCI and are open access.



Long Abstract Submission (max. 600 words): December 15th, 2021  

Notification of acceptance: February 1st, 2022

Registration: from the 1st to 30th of March 2022.

Extended Paper (which can be reviewed at the end of the workshop):  15th April

In preparation for the 6 workshop sessions, 6 chairs are each working on the synthesis of three documents:  15th April – 15th May  


Workshop Languages 

English and French 


Workshop Location 

Center for Applied Philosophy, Babeş-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca

Str. M. Kogalniceanu, 1, Cluj-Napoca



Attendance and online access are free, but registration is required. We will send links to online guests.



Center for Applied Philosophy, Babeş-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca

Ion Copoeru, 

Laboratoire de linguistique et didactique des langues étrangères et maternelles (LiDiLEM) EA 609, Université Grenoble Alpes. 

Anda Fournel, 

Jean -Pascal Simon, 

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