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How very young children use gaze avoidance to resist caregiver interventions in their acts of misconduct
Unformatted Document Text:  How very young children use gaze avoidance to resist caregiver interventions in their acts of misconduct Introduction Social interaction relies in a most basic way on the abilities of participants to coordinate their attention with one another. That is, for participants to pursue a course of action with another requires at the very least that they are able to establish, and sustain, some minimum level of mutual orientation, toward one another, and some third entity: e.g., their talk, and/or an activity or object with which they are involved. Conversation analytic research demonstrates that participants show attention to another’s talk through the use of continuers, eye gaze, and body orientation ( cf. Goodwin, 1981; also Schegloff 1982), and that when attention apparently lapses, for example when a recipient is not looking at a speaker, the speaker may make operations on the talk in the form of speech perturbations which serve to draw the recipient’s gaze back to the speaker (Goodwin, 1981). Indeed, speakers may even go so far as to rebuke a recipient whose attentions have wandered, as, for instance, in the case in which a mother reprimands a child for not paying attention (Goodwin, 1984: 92 ). In other words, participants treat another’s ongoing attention to their activities as an accountable matter, and subject one another to procedures to ensure, and restore, a co- participant’s attention to a matter. In this paper, I examine how participants may designedly disattend another in interaction, and the import of this for subsequent action by participants. Specifically, I demonstrate that very young children, who are between the ages of 1 and 2 ½ years, may avoid, and even outright resist, the gaze of their adult caregivers as part of a general strategy of resistance of caregivers’ efforts to intervene in their activities, specifically their acts of misconduct toward other children. When children hit, bite, push, or take toys away from others, caregivers routinely seek to halt their activities. As part of a course of intervention that usually

Authors: Kidwell, Mardi.
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How very young children use gaze avoidance to resist
caregiver interventions in their acts of misconduct
Introduction
Social interaction relies in a most basic way on the abilities of participants to coordinate their attention
with one another. That is, for participants to pursue a course of action with another requires at the very least
that they are able to establish, and sustain, some minimum level of mutual orientation, toward one another,
and some third entity: e.g., their talk, and/or an activity or object with which they are involved.
Conversation analytic research demonstrates that participants show attention to another’s talk through
the use of continuers, eye gaze, and body orientation ( cf. Goodwin, 1981; also Schegloff 1982), and that
when attention apparently lapses, for example when a recipient is not looking at a speaker, the speaker may
make operations on the talk in the form of speech perturbations which serve to draw the recipient’s gaze
back to the speaker (Goodwin, 1981). Indeed, speakers may even go so far as to rebuke a recipient whose
attentions have wandered, as, for instance, in the case in which a mother reprimands a child for not paying
attention (Goodwin, 1984: 92 ). In other words, participants treat another’s ongoing attention to their
activities as an accountable matter, and subject one another to procedures to ensure, and restore, a co-
participant’s attention to a matter.
In this paper, I examine how participants may designedly disattend another in interaction, and the
import of this for subsequent action by participants. Specifically, I demonstrate that very young children,
who are between the ages of 1 and 2 ½ years, may avoid, and even outright resist, the gaze of their adult
caregivers as part of a general strategy of resistance of caregivers’ efforts to intervene in their activities,
specifically their acts of misconduct toward other children. When children hit, bite, push, or take toys away
from others, caregivers routinely seek to halt their activities. As part of a course of intervention that usually


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