Michael Forrester is a Reader in Psychology at the University of Kent, Canterbury. His primary research interests are in child development and language, with secondary interests in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. The conceptual framework which informs his work derives primarily from pragmatics and in particular conversation analysis. Books published by Forrester include Early Social Interaction (2015), Psychology of the Image (2002), and Doing Qualitative Research in Psychology: A Practical Guide (2010)
During interaction participants seek to establish intersubjectivity and make explicit displays of their understanding of relevant cultural meanings through talk-in-interaction. In seeking to understand how children gradually learn what is involved in recognising and maintaining intersubjectivity, conversation analysts do not view intersubjectivity in quite the same way as developmental psychologists or cognitive scientists. Rather than addressing cognitive, representational and emotional dimensions of intersubjectivity, child-CA researchers focus instead on highlighting the fine-detail of the local discursive context. In order to highlight what a conversation analytic version of intersubjectivity constitutes this presentation considers a number of boundary conditions or limits. Through an examination of short sequences of parent-child interaction certain key features of what might constitute ‘CA-intersubjectivity’ are first described (the recordings are taken from a longitudinal study of the presenter's child between the ages of one and three years, interacting with members of her family during mealtimes). Consideration then turns to an example where the boundaries between intersubjectivity and communicative musicality appear somewhat blurred. The presentation will conclude with an examination of child-toy play and then an instance of sense-making engagement that may help clarify what is meant by intersubjectivity in conversation analysis.