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'Put the Cheetos Down': Camouflaging the Institutionality of an Interaction
Unformatted Document Text:  12 Tom: (I’m-I’m-I’m coming out in a little bit 6 [ ) 7 Tim: [nice little chocolate chip muffin 8 (6.4) 9 Jim: (>t’s set up here<) (1.2) little chocolate 10 chip muffin (1.0) little chocolate chip 11 muffin action 12 (2.7) 13 In this moment of pre-meeting talk, participants are being persuasively “playful” (line 4-5). At a first glance, this interaction resembles one that would be likely to occur in a variety of settings (e.g., friends having coffee together). In fact, there is no indication that the participants orient to institutional goals. What is displayed though is first and foremost an audible orientation to the physical environment (line 2 & 10). In line 2, in particular, Tim makes audible his orientation to the muffins and makes an evaluative judgment about them (i.e., don’t those look good). Evidently then, this interaction doesn’t seem to display features of talk that are institutional in character. However, given the participants’ orientation to their physical environment, the interaction can arguably be conceived as institutional; it is first made relevant by the context within which it is produced. To a large extent, given the inherent relationship between pre-meeting talk and meeting talk, the two talk types cannot be completely separated. Meetings hold a specific place within the organization; they are organizationally purposeful and make relevant particular discussions to take place. On this basis, it is the meeting itself that makes possible pre-meeting talk. Part of considering this moment of interaction, then, means taking into account its place in the life of this organization. As was noted earlier, the business of this

Authors: Mirivel, Julien. and Tracy, Karen.
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background image
12
Tom:
(I’m-I’m-I’m coming out in a little bit
6
[
)
7
Tim:
[nice little chocolate chip muffin
8
(6.4)
9
Jim:
(>t’s set up here<) (1.2) little chocolate
10
chip muffin (1.0) little chocolate chip
11
muffin action
12
(2.7)
13
In this moment of pre-meeting talk, participants are being persuasively
“playful” (line 4-5). At a first glance, this interaction resembles one that would be
likely to occur in a variety of settings (e.g., friends having coffee together). In fact,
there is no indication that the participants orient to institutional goals. What is displayed
though is first and foremost an audible orientation to the physical environment (line 2
& 10). In line 2, in particular, Tim makes audible his orientation to the muffins and
makes an evaluative judgment about them (i.e., don’t those look good). Evidently then,
this interaction doesn’t seem to display features of talk that are institutional in
character.
However, given the participants’ orientation to their physical environment, the
interaction can arguably be conceived as institutional; it is first made relevant by the
context within which it is produced. To a large extent, given the inherent relationship
between pre-meeting talk and meeting talk, the two talk types cannot be completely
separated. Meetings hold a specific place within the organization; they are
organizationally purposeful and make relevant particular discussions to take place. On
this basis, it is the meeting itself that makes possible pre-meeting talk.
Part of considering this moment of interaction, then, means taking into account
its place in the life of this organization. As was noted earlier, the business of this


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