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Mobilising recipiency: child participation and 'rights to speak' in multi-party family interaction

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-10-10, 15:00 authored by Carly Butler, Ray Wilkinson
This paper discusses a child's participation in multi-party family interaction. Drawing from video-recordings of a family Christmas event, we examine instances where a child produces an initiating action that is unsuccessful at first in gaining the recipiency of the addressee(s). We show how for the child a regular issue might be not simply pursuing a response, but more generally mobilising the adult addressee's recipiency and engagement. The analysis describes the methods by which the child attempts to mobilise recipiency, how these attempts are responded to by the adults in the interaction, and how the child pursues recipiency when it is not gained in the first instance. Drawing on these empirical findings we examine the notion of children's ‘rights to speak’ in interaction, in particular reconceptualising it the along the lines of ‘rights to engage’. The paper contributes to understandings about children's communicative competence, as well as identifying more generic aspects of the management of multi-party interaction.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


BUTLER, C. and WILKINSON, R., 2013. Mobilising recipiency: child participation and 'rights to speak' in multi-party family interaction. Journal of Pragmatics, 50 (1), pp. 37 - 51.


© Elsevier B.V.


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publication date



This article wa published in the Journal of Pragmatics [© Elsevier B.V.] and the definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2013.01.012




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