Conversation analytic research on “preference organization” investigates recorded episodes of naturally occurring social interaction to elucidate how people systematically design their actions to either support or undermine social solidarity. This line of work examines public forms of conduct that are highly generalized and institutionalized, not the private desires, subjective feelings or psychological preferences of individuals. This article provides a detailed and accessible overview of classic and contemporary conversation analytic findings about preference, which collectively demonstrate that human interaction is organized to favor actions that promote social affiliation (through face-preservation) at the expense of conflict (resulting from face-threat). While other overviews on this topic exist, the present article is the first to synthesize findings about the preference organization of responding and initiating actions, elucidating key preference principles distilled from over 45 years of conversation analytic work, including the preferences for: (i) recipient design, (ii) contiguity and agreement, (iii) progressivity, (iv) offers over requests, (v) recognition over self-identification, (vi) self-correction over other-correction, (vii) self-criticism over other-criticism (avoiding other-criticism), and (viii) other-praise over self-praise (avoiding self-praise).
Communication, Education, Family Studies, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Psychology, Sociology
The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication
Oxford University Press
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Pillet-Shore, Danielle. (2017). Preference organization. In Jon Nussbaum (Editor), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. New York: Oxford University Press, (published online March 31). DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.132
Discourse and Text Linguistics Commons, Educational Sociology Commons, Elementary Education Commons, Interpersonal and Small Group Communication Commons, Social Psychology Commons, Social Psychology and Interaction Commons