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Emotion in Interaction$
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Anssi Perakyla and Marja-Leena Sorjonen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199730735

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730735.001.0001

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Crying and Crying Responses

Crying and Crying Responses

(p.195) Chapter 9 Crying and Crying Responses
Emotion in Interaction

Alexa Hepburn

Jonathan Potter

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on crying as an interactional phenomenon. It overviews traditional work on crying, highlighting its limitations, and contrasts an interactional approach illustrated with material from both mundane and institutional telephone calls. Crying on the telephone is characterised in terms of a collection of loosely associated and sometimes escalating practices: silences, sniffs, elevated pitch, tremulous or creaky delivery, reduced volume, increased aspiration and sobbing. This chapter documents the delicate interactional challenges involved in recognizing and responding to crying, and how these are fitted to the ongoing projects of the participants. The use of sympathy tokens, sympathetically inflected news receipts and turns that normalize the actions of the person crying are common. The complex practice of displaying empathy is discussed and its procedural and epistemic aspects highlighted.

Keywords:   crying, upset, sobbing, emotion, empathy, sympathy, discursive psychology, helplines

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