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'Put the Cheetos Down': Camouflaging the Institutionality of an Interaction
Unformatted Document Text:  22 how well you know them characterizes and perhaps defines your social prestige, doing greetings one way rather than another is a key way to enact institutional statuses. Conclusions In this paper we unpacked four moments of interaction that occurred during pre- meeting exchanges at a nutritional organization. Although the first excerpt displayed a lexical choice ("sugar substitute") that made visible its institutionality (Drew & Sorjonen, 1997), the other three did not. From a conversation analytic perspective that would distinguish ordinary conversation from institutional talk (Drew & Heritage, 1992), the other three might be seen as simply instances of ordinary conversation that happened to have occurred in an institutional site. In each excerpt’s unfolding turn format, the topic about which the exchange focused and the selected lexical choices, each exchange would seem to be just a spate of ordinary conversation. Yet as we sought to show, each was also deeply institutional. That exchanges can simultaneously be ordinary conversation and institutional talk suggests the problematicity of this researcher categorization device. Sacks (1992) showed how the membership categorization device (MCD) a speaker employs, as well as the membership terms within it, will generate all kinds of associations and inferences. Referring to another in terms of his or her gender, age or race does different things than referencing a person by organizational role. Each descriptor calls forth different dimensions of comparison and argues, albeit implicitly, for the exclusivity of any act as being only one category term. So too is this the case with the researcher categories of ordinary conversation and institutional talk. These

Authors: Mirivel, Julien. and Tracy, Karen.
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how well you know them characterizes and perhaps defines your social prestige, doing
greetings one way rather than another is a key way to enact institutional statuses.
Conclusions
In this paper we unpacked four moments of interaction that occurred during pre-
meeting exchanges at a nutritional organization. Although the first excerpt displayed a
lexical choice ("sugar substitute") that made visible its institutionality (Drew &
Sorjonen, 1997), the other three did not. From a conversation analytic perspective that
would distinguish ordinary conversation from institutional talk (Drew & Heritage,
1992), the other three might be seen as simply instances of ordinary conversation that
happened to have occurred in an institutional site. In each excerpt’s unfolding turn
format, the topic about which the exchange focused and the selected lexical choices,
each exchange would seem to be just a spate of ordinary conversation. Yet as we
sought to show, each was also deeply institutional. That exchanges can simultaneously
be ordinary conversation and institutional talk suggests the problematicity of this
researcher categorization device.
Sacks (1992) showed how the membership categorization device (MCD) a
speaker employs, as well as the membership terms within it, will generate all kinds of
associations and inferences. Referring to another in terms of his or her gender, age or
race does different things than referencing a person by organizational role. Each
descriptor calls forth different dimensions of comparison and argues, albeit implicitly,
for the exclusivity of any act as being only one category term. So too is this the case
with the researcher categories of ordinary conversation and institutional talk. These


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