Interviews as situated practices: places, contexts, and experiences 
Sophie Elixhauser (University of Augsburg)
Franz Krause (University of Cologne)
Stranmillis Conference Hall
Start time:
15 April, 2010 at 14:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

This panel will discuss the situated character of an interview, and will direct attention to the varying contexts it is embedded in. We invite papers exploring the role of an interview's location and the impact of certain artefacts, media or experiences on the creation of knowledge in an interview.

Long Abstract

This panel discusses the importance of an interview's context. Interviews always happen somewhere, at certain places, amongst people, and including artefacts and experiences. These contexts fundamentally shape their outcome, and their success or sometimes failure. An interview is not a dialogue of merely an interviewer and a respondent, but must be regarded as a situated practice more broadly.

The presence or absence of things, persons, views, smells or sounds, greatly influences both what persons communicate to the interviewer and how this happens. Conjointly passing through particular landscapes may prompt stories, memories of the past, or outlooks on the future. Holding an interview at a home or office, next to a framed picture, or whilst watching a video, may evoke associations of a different kind and suggest different ways of communication. Rather than a methodological tool focussed on speech only and transposable to any fieldwork situation, the interview must be conceptualised as a multi-dimensional evocation of "knowledge" prompted by interviewer, respondent and the context of their encounter.

Questions discussed may include: What is the difference between speaking about something present or absent in the interview situation? How are 'interview' and 'non-interview' situations differentiated, and what devices are used to signal beginning or end? How can the interplay of context and interview be better accounted for in research preparation, practice, and analysis? How do we have to re-evaluate this method in order to account for its situated character? How can the interview be made receptive to inherently different forms of communication?

Accepted papers: