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Communication Spaces

  • Patrick G. T. Healey
  • Graham White
  • Arash Eshghi
  • Ahmad J. Reeves
  • Ann Light
Article

Abstract

Concepts of space are fundamental to our understanding of human action and interaction. The common sense concept of uniform, metric, physical space is inadequate for design. It fails to capture features of social norms and practices that can be critical to the success of a technology. The concept of ‘place’ addresses these limitations by taking account of the different ways a space may be understood and used. This paper argues for the importance of a third concept: communication space. Motivated by Heidegger’s discussion of ‘being-with’ this concept addresses differences in interpersonal ‘closeness’ or mutual-involvement that are a constitutive feature of human interaction. We apply the concepts of space, place and communication space to the analysis of a corpus of interactions from an online community, ‘Walford’, which has a rich communicative ecology. A novel measure of sequential integration of conversational turns is proposed as an index of mutal-involvement. We demonstrate systematic differences in mutual-involvement that cannot be accounted for in terms of space or place and conclude that a concept of communication space is needed to address the organisation of human encounters in this community.

Key words

human interaction online communities communication phenomenology 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to Ivan Leudar, Greg Mills and Chrystie Myketiak and the anonymous referees for their comments on earlier drafts. We are also grateful to the residents of Walford for giving us access to their community.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick G. T. Healey
    • 1
  • Graham White
    • 1
  • Arash Eshghi
    • 1
  • Ahmad J. Reeves
    • 1
  • Ann Light
    • 1
  1. 1.Interaction, Media and Communication Research Group, Department of Computer ScienceQueen Mary, University of LondonLondonUK

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