Memory in interaction: An analysis of repeat calls to a home birth helpline

Rebecca Shaw, Celia Kitzinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on a corpus of 80 calls to a Home Birth helpline, we use conversation analysis to analyze how callers and call takers display to one another that they are talking for a second or subsequent time. We focus in particular on the role of memory in these interactions. We show how caller and call taker are oriented to remembering at the beginning of calls as displayed in what we call the recognition-solicit presequence, how participants are oriented to issues of forgetting and remembering during the course of repeat calls, and how remembering and forgetting are made manifest in interaction. Our analysis shows how the human capacity to remember and propensity to forget have reverberating implications in calling for help.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-144
Number of pages28
JournalResearch on Language and Social Interaction
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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