Family displays in child–parent interaction

The contribution of interactional practice to social meaning in display work


  • Stina Ericsson University of Gothenburg



children, social interaction, family display, normativity


This article engages with the sociological concept of ‘display’, that is, the process by which families show that they are family. The article argues for the need to include considerations of how displays are done at the local interactional level. In conversations between children, parents, and an interactive app, this study identifies two distinct patterns regarding how children develop their answers to the question Who are the people in your family?: the nuclear family display and the family of choice display. Each pattern is characterized by both a specific content and specific interactional, structural properties. Such matches between content and structure show that how something is displayed, as revealed by minute details of interaction, form part of participants’ display work.

Author Biography

Stina Ericsson, University of Gothenburg

Stina Ericsson is Professor of Swedish at the University of Gothenburg. Her research interests include gender and sexuality normativities in spoken and multimodal interaction, particularly children’s interactions. She has led the project ‘Daddy, Daddy, Child: Linguistic Negotiation of Family, Parenthood and Relations in Child–Parent Conversations’, and is currently working on categorizations in relation to Universal Design. She is the co-editor of Sociolingvistik i praktiken (Sociolinguistics in Practice), a book on sociolinguistic methods in a Scandinavian context.


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How to Cite

Ericsson, S. . (2021). Family displays in child–parent interaction: The contribution of interactional practice to social meaning in display work. Research on Children and Social Interaction, 4(2), 243–266.