Rethinking Bodies and Objects in Social Interaction: A Multimodal and Multisensorial Approach to Tasting

  • Lorenza MondadaEmail author


This chapter reflects on the contributions of ethnomethodology and multimodal conversation analysis to current debates about materiality, including both bodies and objects as they are mobilized, made accountable, seen and interpreted by participants within social interaction. Video studies have enabled a new detailed analytical gaze on multimodality – including language, the body, and the manipulation of objects. In this chapter, I show that multimodality can be farther developed by taking into account how sensoriality is intersubjectively achieved in social interaction. The chapter discusses the conceptual, analytical, and methodological challenges that this constitutes for the approach of materialities in human action. Using the video recording of a tasting session as an exemplary empirical case, the analysis shows how participants orchestrate their bodies as both communicating bodies and sensing bodies. Moreover, it shows how the multimodally organized activity of tasting manipulates different types of objects, materials to be tasted, and artifacts supporting tasting. Taking into account not only the multimodality of interactional exchanges (in which embodied and linguistic resources secure a form of intersubjectivity based on the mutual understanding of the participants), but also their multisensoriality (in which the bodies access, feel, and experience the world) invites thinking about a different form of intersubjectivity, in which bodies sense other bodies sensing, and align with other objects within various spatial and material configurations.


Social interaction Ethnomethodology Conversation analysis Body Materiality Language Multimodality Multisensoriality Tasting Video 


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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