6 August 2011

Interactivity: Distributed Cognition and Language Dynamics

PhD course: Interactivity: Distributed Cognition and Language Dynamics

When: October 24-25

Where: Odense, Denmark


Since the mid 1990s, a different understanding of cognition has emerged emphasising that cognition is not only an individual, cerebral activity but arises as people engage both with each other and material artefacts. Cog-nition is thus, in this view, socially, materially and historically distributed. Applying this Distributed Cognition perspective to interaction has given rise to a Distributed Language and Cognition movement. This is a naturali-sed approach to ecologically situated human co-ordination which empha-sises interactivity in problem-solving activities in, for example, workplace settings: How do humans, as biodynamic agents, do things together and make things happen drawing upon their bodies, semiotic and material artefacts, the lived environment, social normativity, and cultural values and patterns?


This Ph.D. course introduces Distributed Cognition and its application to interactional phenomena. We will focus on language dynamics in various time-scales, inter-bodily dynamics (e.g. prosody and gesture), the material environment and social and symbolic constraints in interaction. Having introduced these notions, we will demonstrate various methods for investigating interactivity, distributed cognition and language in inter-actional encounters. Examples will primarily come from health interaction, but may also include other forms of organizational life. We will foster the development of a hands-on tool-box of analytical approaches that can help practitioners and theorists of human interactivity and cognition to better understand (and intervene in) workplace practices and problem-solving activities, seen as embedded in and contributing to the functioning of a distinctively human ecology.

Analysis sessions

The course includes analysis sessions using students’ own data. Partici-pants wanting to work on their own interactional data are required to pro-vide a fragment of these data. Therefore, 2-5 minutes video and sound files, as well as a reliable transcript (including an English translation), can be placed in a Dropbox set up in relation to the course.


The course is designed for Ph.D. students in linguistics, interaction studies and organizational studies. Advanced Masters Students can participate in the course.


Stephen J. Cowley, Senior Lecturer, University of Hertfordshire

Sune V. Steffensen, Associate Professor, University of Southern Denmark


1.5 ECTS (0.5 ECTS option submitting a 2-3 pages analysis of a data fragment after the course).


The Doctoral Programme in Language and Communication


University of Southern Denmark, Odense Campus

Campusvej 55

DK-5230 Odense


Costs Participation is free of charge. Expenses for meals, lodging and travel have to be covered by the participants themselves.

Accommodation www.dkhotellist.com/hotels-odense.html


By mail to Jeanet Dal (course administrator): dal@sdu.dk

NB! There is a limited number of participants!

Further information

Sune Vork Steffensen (course teacher): vork@language.sdu.dk

Jeanet Dal (course administrator): dal@sdu.dk

Dennis Day (doctoral programme leader): dennis.day@language.sdu.dk

No comments: