‘Are These Ones to Taste?’: Critical Moments in Persian Shops in Sydney

  • Dariush Izadi


Service encounters are ubiquitous in everyday life whereby commodities and information are exchanged between service providers and customers. A service encounter is by nature a goal-oriented speech event. However, goals at service encounters are not simply limited to achieving business transactions. Rather, they incorporate a range of social and discursive practices. This study investigates potential and actual critical moments that occurred in a Persian shop in Sydney which impacted upon the participants’ social interactions. Using Mediated Discourse Analysis, the study provides theoretically informed explanations of the nature of the conflicts demonstrating how these conflicts between the shop-owners and their customers are variously magnified and what strategies the participants have employed to resolve them.


Critical moment Site of engagement Mediated discourse analysis Mediational tools Semiotic resources 



First and foremost, the author would like to acknowledge and express his gratitude to his late Principal Supervisor, Professor Christopher N. Candlin, who provided the support, encouragement and inspiration which enabled him to carry out this article. The author also wishes to extend his thanks to the shop-owners and their customers for their participation. This research forms part of the author’s doctoral thesis, which was conducted at Macquarie University. It was partially supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship.


  1. Agar, M. (1997). Ethnography: An overview. Substance Use and Misuse, 32(9), 1155–1173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aston, G. (Ed.). (1988). Negotiating service: Studies in the discourse of bookshop encounters. Bologna: Cooperativa Libraria Universitaria Editrice.Google Scholar
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2011). Retrieved October 20, 2014, from
  4. Bailey, B. (2000). Communicative behavior and conflict between African-American customers and Korean immigrant retailers in Los Angeles. Discourse & Society, 11(1), 86–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barton, D., & Hamilton, M. (1998). Local literacies. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Beeman, W. O. (1976a). Status, style and strategy in Iranian interaction. Anthropological Linguistics, 18(7), 305–322.Google Scholar
  7. Beeman, W. O. (1976b). What is (Iranian) national character? A Sociolinguistic Approach. Iranian Studies, 9(1), 22–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Beeman, W. O. (1986). Language, status, and power in Iran. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Beeman, W. O. (2001). Emotion and sincerity in Persian discourse: Accomplishing the representation of inner states. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 148(2), 31–57.Google Scholar
  10. Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Candlin, C. N. (1987). Explaining moments of conflict in discourse. In R. Steele & T. Threadgold (Eds.), Essays in honour of Michael Halliday (pp. 413–430). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  12. Candlin, C. N. (2000). Reinventing the patient/client: New challenges to healthcare communication. The Cardiff Lecture.Google Scholar
  13. Candlin, C. N. (2001). Medical discourse as professional and institutional action: Challenges to teaching and researching languages for special purposes. In M. Bax & J.-W. Zwart (Eds.), Reflections on language and language learning: In honour of Arthur van Essen. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  14. Candlin, C. N., & Maley, Y. (1997). Intertextuality and interdiscursivity in the discourse of alternative dispute resolution. In B.-L. Gunnarsson, P. Linell, & B. Nordberg (Eds.), The construction of professional discourse (pp. 201–222). New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  15. Candlin, S., & Candlin, C. N. (2014). Presencing in the context of enhancing patient well-being in nursing care. In H. E. Hamilton & W.-Y. S. Chou (Eds.), Routledge handbook of language and health communication (pp. 259–278). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Chouliaraki, L., & Fairclough, N. (1999). Discourse in late modernity: Rethinking critical discourse analysis. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Cicourel, A. (1992). The interpenetration of communicative contexts: Examples from medical encounters. In A. Duranti & C. Goodwin (Eds.), Rethinking context: Language as an interactive phenomenon (pp. 291–310). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Cicourel, A. V. (2007). A personal, retrospective view of ecological validity. Text & Talk, 27(5–6), 735–752.
  19. Duranti, A. (1997). Linguistic anthropology. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fairclough, N. (1992). Discourse and social change. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  21. Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (2015). The language of service encounters: A pragmatic-discursive approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Filliettaz, L. (2004). The multimodal negotiation of service encounters. In P. LeVine & R. Scollon (Eds.), Discourse and technology: Multimodal discourse analysis. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Filliettaz, L. (2005). Mediated actions, social practices, and contextualization: A case study from service encounters. In S. Norris & R. H. Jones (Eds.), Discourse in action: Introducing mediated discourse analysis. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis: An essay on the organisation of experience. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  25. Goffman, E. (1981). Forms of talk. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  26. Halliday, M. A. (1978). Language as a social semiotic: The social interpretation of language and meaning. London: Edward Arnold.Google Scholar
  27. Halliday, M. A., & Hasan, R. (1994). An introduction to functional grammar (2nd ed.). London: Edward Arnold.Google Scholar
  28. Hannerz, U. (1992). Cultural complexity: Studies in the social organization of meaning. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Izadi, D. (2015). Spatial engagement in Persian ethnic shops in Sydney. Multimodal Communication, 4(1), 61–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Izadi, D. (2017). Semiotic resources and mediational tools in Merrylands, Sydney, Australia: The case of Persian and Afghan shops. Social Semiotics, 27(4), 495–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jefferson, G. (1973). A case of precision timing in ordinary conversation: Overlapped tag-positioned address terms in closing sequences. Semiotica, 9(1), 47–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jewitt, C. (2010). The Routledge handbook of multimodal analysis. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Jones, R. (2005). Sites of engagement as sites of attention: Time, space and culture in electronic discourse. In S. Norris & R. H. Jones (Eds.), Discourse in action: Introducing mediated discourse analysis. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Kotthoff, H. (1993). Disagreement and concession in disputes: On the context sensitivity of preference structures. Language in Society, 22(2), 193–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Koutlaki, S. A. (2002). Offers and expressions of thanks as face enhancing acts: Tæ’arof in Persian. Journal of Pragmatics, 34(12), 1733–1756.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Koutlaki, S. A. (2010). Among the Iranians: A guide to Iran’s cultural and customs. Boston: Intercultural Press.Google Scholar
  37. Levinson, S. C. (1983). Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Malinowski, B. (1922). Argonauts of the western Pacific. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  39. Merritt, M. (1976). On questions following questions in service encounters. Language in Society, 5(3), 315–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Norris, S. (2004). Analyzing multimodal interaction: A methodological framework. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Norris, S. (2011). Identity in (inter)action: Introducing multimodal (inter)action analysis. Berlin and New York: De Gruyter Mouton.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Norris, S., & Jones, R. H. (Eds.). (2005). Discourse in action: Introducing mediated discourse analysis. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  43. Placencia, M. E. (2004). Rapport-building activities in corner shop interactions. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 8(2), 215–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Pomerantz, A. (1984). Agreeing and disagreeing with assessments: Some features of preferred/dispreferred turn shapes. In M. Atkinson & J. Heritage (Eds.), Structures of social action: Studies in conversation analysis (pp. 57–102). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Ryoo, H.-K. (2005). Achieving friendly interactions: A study of service encounters between Korean shopkeepers and African-American customers. Discourse & Society, 16(1), 79–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Scollon, R. (2001a). Mediated discourse: The nexus of practice. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  47. Scollon, R. (2001b). Action and text: Towards an integrated understanding of the place of text in social (inter)action, mediated discourse analysis and the problem of social action. In R. Wodak & M. Meyer (Eds.), Methods of critical discourse analysis. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  48. Scollon, R. (2008). Discourse itineraries: Nine processes of resemiotization. In V. Bhatia, J. Flowerdew, & R. Jones (Eds.), Advances in discourse studies (pp. 233–244). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  49. Scollon, R., & Scollon, S. (2004). Nexus analysis: Discourse and the emerging internet. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Stoeltje, M. F. (2009, August 22). Muslims fast and feast as Ramadan begins. San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved from
  51. Streeck, J., & Kallmeyer, W. (2001). Interaction by inscription. Journal of Pragmatics, 33(4), 465–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Strömmer, M. (2016). Material scaffolding: Supporting the comprehension of migrant cleaners at work. The European Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(2), 239–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dariush Izadi
    • 1
  1. 1.Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations