Emotionography studies emotion:

  1. at it occurs naturally in display, reception, attribution, and avowal;
  2. within and across diverse stretches of interaction and varied institutional contexts;
  3. grounded purposefully in the perspectives of the interactants as those perspectives are displayed in real-time through unfolding talk, gesture and text;
  4. using materials that are recorded and transcribed in sufficient precision to capture the granularity consequential for the interactants. 

Building on existing work in conversation analysis and discursive psychology, it populates a space that orthodox social science and psychological emotion research largely fails to occupy.  The distinctiveness of the approach will be dramatized by considering the ways ‘mixed emotion’ is characterized in orthodox research and contrasting this with analysis of occasions where laughing and crying occur together in calls to a child protection helpline.  In these examples we see that the ‘mixture’ is public and pragmatic, displaying different things and dealing with different issues; all in the service of action. 


Jonathan Potter is Distinguished Professor in the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University, New Jersey, and Honorary Professor in the School of Social Science and Humanities at Loughborough University, UK. He has worked on basic theoretical and methodological issues in social science for more than 40 years. He has engaged with, and developed, post-structuralism (in Social Texts and Context, with Margaret Wetherell and Peter Stringer, 1984), discourse analysis (in Discourse and Social Psychology with Margaret Wetherell, 1987), discursive approaches to racism (in Mapping the Language of Racism, with Margaret Wetherell, 1992), discursive psychology (in Discursive Psychology, with Derek Edwards, 1992), and constructionism (systematically reworked in Representing Reality, 1996). Since then he coedited a collection on cognition in interaction research (Conversation and Cognition, with Hedwig te Molder, 2005) and coauthored an introduction to conversation analysis aimed at psychologists (Essentials of Conversation Analysis, with Alexa Hepburn, 2021). He is currently working on a book with Alexa Hepburn for American Psychological Association: Emotionography: A Method for Analyzing Emotion in Psychology and the Social Sciences.

Alexa Hepburn is a Research Professor in the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University, and Honorary Professor in the School of Social Science and Humanities at Loughborough University. She has published widely regarding methodological, practical, theoretical, and meta-theoretical frameworks in the social sciences, and on the use and development of conversation analytic methods, particularly regarding emotional expressions such as upset, anger, and laughter, parents’ strategies for managing children's behaviour, techniques for giving advice, and practitioners’ empathic responses in clinical encounters. A major focus is to develop new insights into profound issues related to emotion, socialization, and influence, and to develop innovative and effective applied research
techniques for interaction research. This is reflected in her four books – An Introduction to Critical Social Psychology (2003), Discursive Research in Practice: New Approaches to Psychology and Interaction (2007, edited with Sally Wiggins), Transcribing for Social Research (2017, with Galina Bolden) and Essentials of Conversation Analysis (2021, with Jonathan Potter). She has delivered over 40 invited seminars, plenaries, and keynotes, and over 30 specialist workshops on interaction analysis in 12 different countries around the world. She is currently working closely with video materials of family mealtimes, clinical encounters, and various types of telephone interaction.

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