Japanese Family via Webcam: An Ethnographic Study of Cross-Spatial Interactions

  • Chiho Sunakawa
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7258)


This paper investigates an ethnographic understanding of family relationships across spaces and the management of discursive practices using a webcam. Through turn-by-turn analyses of video-recorded webcam-mediated conversations between Japanese families who live in the United States and their extended family members in Japan, I analyze how the reciprocal expectations of showing and watching each other’s spaces are woven into unfolding processes in webcam-mediated interactions. I specifically focus on the organizational features of a ‘show-and-narrate’ activity in which and through which aspects of everyday lives are introduced. I examine how show-and-narrate activities are discursively marked, how children’s interactional behaviors are structured, and how participants are socialized into this technologically mediated family space.


Japan family ethnography video-mediated communication socialization multimodal interaction 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Kondo, D.: Crafting Selves: Power, Gender, and Discourses of Identity in a Japanese Workplace. University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1990)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Duranti, A.: Linguistic Anthropology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hanks, W.F.: Referential Practice: Language and Lived Space among the Maya. University of Chicago Press, Chicago (1990)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hanks, W.F.: Explorations in the deictic field. Current Anthropology 46(2), 191–220 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Duranti, A.: Language and bodies in social space: Samoan ceremonial greetings. American Anthropologist 94(3), 657–691 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Duranti, A.: Universal and culture-specific properties of greetings. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 7(1), 63–97 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Keating, E.: Power Sharing. Oxford University Press, New York (1998)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    LeBaron, C., Streeck, J.: Gestures, Knowledge, and the World. In: McNeill, D. (ed.) Language and Gesture: Windown into Thought and Action, pp. 118–138. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2000)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Suchman, L.: Technologies of accountability: Of lizards and aeroplanes. In: Button, G. (ed.) Technology in Working Order: Studies of Work, Interaction, and Technology, pp. 113–126. Routledge, London (1992)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mondada, L.: Working with Video: How Surgeons Produce Video Records of Their Actions. Visual Studies 18, 58–73 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Stivers, T., Sidnell, J.: Introduction: Multimodal Interaction. Semiotica 156, 1–20 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Goodwin, M.H.: The Hidden Life of Girls: Games of Stance, Status, and Exclusion. Blackwell Publishing, Malden (2006)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Keating, E.: Space shifting: New technologies, new opportunities. In: Proceedings of the Symposium about Language and Society, Austin, TX (2008)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Streeck, J., Goodwin, C., LeBaron, C. (eds.): Embodied Interaction: Language and Body in the Material World. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2011)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hutchins, E.: The distributed cognition perspective on human interaction. In: Enfield, N., Levinson, S. (eds.) Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition and Interaction, pp. 375–398. Berg, Oxford (2006)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Vygotsky, L.S.: Mind in Society: The Developoment of Hihger Psychological Processes. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1978)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Keating, E.: Homo prostheticus: problematizing the notions of activity and computer-mediated interaction. Discourse Studies 7(4-5), 517–545 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wittgenstein, L.: Philosophical investigations. Blackwell Publishing, Malden (1953/2001)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hine, C.: Virtual Ethnography. Sage Publications Ltd., London (2000)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ochs, E., Capps, L.: Living Narrative: Creating Lives in Everyday Storytelling. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (2001)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Bourdieu, P.: Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1977)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Martin, S.: Speech levels in Japan and Korea. In: Hymes, D. (ed.) Language in Culture and Society, pp. 407–415. Harper and Row, New York (1964)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Comrie, B.: Linguistic politeness axes: Speaker-addressee, speaker-referent, speaker-bystander. Pragmatics Microfiche 1(7), 1–12 (1976)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Sukle, R.: Uchi/Soto: Choices in directive speech acts in Japanese. In: Jane, J., Bachnik, M., Quinn, C.J. (eds.) Situated Meaning: Inside and Outside in Japanese Self, Society, and Language, pp. 113–142. Princeton University Press, Princeton (1994)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Maynard, S.: Discourse Modality: Subjectivity, Emotion and Voice in the Japanese Language. Benjamins, Amsterdam (1993)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Cook, H.M.: The role of the Japanese masu form in caregiver-child conversation. Journal of Pragmatics 28, 695–718 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Cook, H.M.: Socializing Identities through Speech Style: Learners of Japanese as a Foreign Language. Multilingual Matters Ltd., Bristol (2008)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Schieffelin, B.: The Give and Take of Everyday Life: Language Socialization of Kaluli Children. Fenestra Books, Tuscon (1990/2005)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Goodwin, C.: Professional vision. American Anthropologist 96(3), 606–633 (1994)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Scollon, R., Scollon, S.: Narrative, Literacy, and Face in Interethnic Communication. Ablex, Norwood (1981)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Scollon, S.: Reality Set, Socialization and Linguistic Convergence, Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Hawaii, Hawaii (1982)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Keating, E., Sunakawa, C.: Participation cues: Coordinated activity and collaboration in complex online gaming worlds. Language in Society 39(3), 331–356 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chiho Sunakawa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

Personalised recommendations