Eric Laurier

Image courtesy of Ryan Hamill

Image courtesy of Ryan Hamill

My research is on how people do things together and the accountability they hold for their actions, or, in short, on joint action and practical reasoning. As often as not, persons talking with one another is central to the production and recognition of joint action and to those persons (and others besides) calling one another to account for what they have done.

My approach originates in ethnomethodology (EM) and conversation analysis (CA) and uses video recordings of naturally-organised, ordinary activities for further analysis. My video studies have been of service encounters in cafes, travelling together in the car, film editing, haggling over goods, walking in the countryside, wayfinding amongst other social practices.

The comic strip form lends itself to presenting video recorded practices in books and journal articles. For several years I have been poaching from the basic forms of comic strips to create “graphic transcripts” of video recordings. Compared to the many forms of purely textual transcription in the social sciences, transcripts based on comics register the visual aspects of action in an accessible fashion. And yet it needs to be kept in mind that comics have an array of forms and these have not been built by earlier generations of comic artists for the purposes of transcription.

Having struggled to learn the basic features of how comics work in creating graphic transcripts, I have been keen to learn more of the craft from professional comic artists.