Making Way and Making Sense: Including Newcomers in Interaction


In our everyday interactions as they unfold in real time, how do we do including? This article examines a specific set of interactional moments when the potential to be included (or not) recurs: when a newcomer arrives to some social scene where two or more already-present per- sons are actively engaged in some activity and that newcomer displays interest in joining into their activity. I show how arriving newcomers bodily display that they want to join into the pre- present party’s interaction, and I analyze a key utterance-based practice that pre-present speakers use to include newcomers into their interaction—the practice of previous activity for- mulating. Through this practice, speakers summarize the activities or conversational topics in which they were engaged before establishing copresence with arrivers, thereby making way and making sense for them so they can join into their interaction. By showing that participants treat pre-present speakers’ offers of formulations as preferred over arrivers’ requests for for- mulations, I demonstrate that how speakers come to deliver these formulations implicates social solidarity between pre-present and arriving parties.


Communication, Sociology

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Social Psychology Quarterly

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