Investigating interactions from the children’s perspective

Introduction to a special issue on young children’s interactive competence, participation and engagement in social activities


  • Yumei Gan Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • Susan Danby Queensland University of Technology




Author Biographies

Yumei Gan, Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Yumei Gan is an assistant professor at the School of Media and Communication at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China). Her research interests include parent–child interaction, video-mediated communication and video analysis. She was the primary organizer of the ‘EMCA studies of children’ panel at the Conference of International Institution for Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis (IIECMA) in Mannheim, Germany, 2019. Her work has been published in Journal of Pragmatics, Discourse Studies and Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ‘20).

Susan Danby, Queensland University of Technology

Susan Danby is a professor in the School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education, and director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child, at the Queensland University of Technology, Australia. Her research applies ethnomethodological and conversation analysis perspectives to investigating social interaction in children’s peer groups as well as between children and adults in institutional settings such as classrooms and helplines. Her edited books include Disputes in Everyday Life (2012), Digital Childhoods (2018) and Children and Mental Health Talk: Perspectives on Social Competence (2020). She is on the editorial boards of Research on Children and Social Interaction and Classroom Discourse.


Almeida, D. (2011). Revisiting children’s studies through the lens of sociology of childhood. UNISUL, 4(8), 473–484. DOI:

Aries, P. (1973). Centuries of Childhood. London: Penguin.

Baker, C. D. (1982). The adolescent as theorist: An interpretive view. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 11(3), 167–181. DOI:

Bateman, A. (2015). Conversation Analysis and Early Childhood Education: The Co-Production of Knowledge and Relationships. Farnham: Ashgate. DOI:

Black, A. L. & Busch, G. (2016). Understanding and influencing research with children. In B. Harreveld, M. Danaher, C. Lawson, B. A. Knight & G. Busch (eds), Constructing Methodology for Qualitative Research (pp. 219–235). New York: Springer. DOI:

Bluebond-Langner, M. (1978). The Private Worlds of Dying Children. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. DOI:

Cekaite, A. (2010). Shepherding the child: Embodied directive sequences in parent–child interactions. Text & Talk, 30(1), 1–25. DOI:

Cekaite, A. & Holm, M. (2017). The comforting touch: tactile intimacy and talk in managing children’s distress. Research on Language & Social Interaction, 50(2), 109–127. DOI:

Church, A. (2009). Preference Organisation and Peer Disputes: How Young Children Resolve Conflict. Ashgate.

Cobb-Moore, C., Danby, S. & Farrell, A. (2009). Young children as rule makers. Journal of Pragmatics, 41(8), 1477–1492. DOI:

Cook-Gumperz, J. & Kyratzis, A., (2001). Child discourse. In D. Schiffrin et al. (eds), The Handbook of Discourse Analysis (pp. 590–611). Oxford: Basil Blackwell. DOI:

Corsaro, W., (1985). Friendship and Peer Culture in the Early Years. Norwood: Ablex.

Corsaro, W., (1997). The Sociology of Childhood. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

Cromdal, J. (2001). Can I be with? Negotiating play entry in a bilingual school. Journal of Pragmatics, 33(4), 515–543. DOI:

Cromdal, J. (2006). Socialization. In K. Brown (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language & Linguistics, 2nd edition, vol. 11 (pp. 462–465). Oxford: Elsevier. DOI:

Danby, S. (2002). The communicative competence of young children. Australian Journal of Early Childhood, 27(3), 25–30. DOI:

Danby, S. & Baker, C. (1998). How to be masculine in the block area. Childhood, 5(2), 151–175. DOI:

Danby, S. & Baker, C. (2000). Unravelling the fabric of social order in block area. In S. Hester & D. Francis (eds), Local Educational Order: Ethnomethodological Studies of Knowledge in Action (pp. 91–140). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. DOI:

Danby, S. & Farrell, A. (2004). Accounting for young children’s competence in educational research: New perspectives on research ethics. The Australian Educational Researcher, 31(3), 35–49. DOI:

Erikson, E. H. (1963). Childhood and Society. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Evaldsson, A.-C. & Corsaro, W. A. (1998). Play and games in the peer cultures of preschool and preadolescent children: An interpretative approach. Childhood, 5(4), 377–402. DOI:

Filipi, A. (2009). Toddler and Parent Interaction: The Organisation of Gaze, Pointing and Vocalisation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing. DOI:

Forrester, M. (2010). Ethnomethodology and adult–child conversation: Whose development? In Gardner, H. & Forrester, M. (eds.), Analysing Interactions in Childhood: Insights from Conversation Analysis (pp. 42–58). Chichester: John Wiley. DOI:

Gardner, H. & Forrester, M. (eds). (2010). Analysing Interactions in Childhood: Insights from Conversation Analysis. Chichester: John Wiley.

Garfinkel, H. (1967). Studies in Ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Garfinkel, H., Girton, G., Livingston, E. and Sacks H. (1982). Studies of kids’ culture and kids’ talk. Unpublished research project, University of California, Los Angeles, CA.

Goodwin, M. H. (1990). He-Said-She-Said: Talk as Social Organization among Black Children. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

Goodwin, M. H. (2002). Building power asymmetries in girls’ interaction. Discourse & Society, 13(6), 715–730. DOI:

Goodwin, M. H. & Kyratzis, A. (2007). Children socializing children: Practices for negotiating the social order among peers. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 40(4), 279–289. DOI:

Hutchby, I. & Moran-Ellis, J. (1998). Situating Children’s Social Competence. In I. Hutchby & J. Moran-Ellis (eds), Children and Social Competence: Arenas of Action. London: Falmer Press.

James, A. & Prout, A., (1997). Constructing and Reconstructing Childhood: Con­temporary Issues in the Sociological Study of Childhood. London: Falmer Press.

Jenks, C. (1996). Childhood. London: Routledge. DOI:

Keel, S. (2016). Socialization: Parent–Child Interaction in Everyday Life. London: Routledge. DOI:

Lamerichs, J., Danby, S., Bateman, A. & Ekberg, S. (eds). (2020). Children and Mental Health Talk: Perspectives on Social Competence. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI:

Mackay, R. W. (1974). Conceptions of children and models of socialization. In R. Turner (ed.), Ethnomethodology (pp. 180–193). Harmondsworth: Penguin Education.

Piaget, J. (1932). The Moral Judgement of the Child. New York: The Free Press.

Qvortrup, J., Bardy, M., Sgritta, G. and Wintersberger, H. (eds). (1994). Childhood Matters: Social Theory, Practice and Politics. Aldershot: Avebury.

Sacks, H. (1972). On the analyzability of stories by children. In J. Gumperz & D. Hymes (eds), Directions in Sociolinguistics (pp. 325–345). New York: Rinehart & Winston.

Sacks, H. (1982). Button button who’s got the button. Sociological Inquiry, 50(3–4), 318–327. DOI:

Sacks, H. (1992). Lectures on Conversation. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Schegloff, E. A. (2007). Sequence Organization in Interaction: A Primer in Con­versation Analysis (Vol. 1). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. DOI:

Schegloff, E. A., Jefferson, G. & Sacks, H. (1977). The preference for self-correction in the organization of repair in conversation. Language, 53(2), 361–382. DOI:

Speier, M. (1971). The everyday world of the child. In J. D. Douglas (ed.), Under­standing Everyday Life (pp. 188–217). London: Routledge. DOI:

Speier, M. (1973). How to Observe Face-to-Face Communication: A Sociological Introduction. Santa Monica, CA: Goodyear Publishing Company.

Speier, M. (1976). The child as conversationalist: some culture contact features of conversational interactions between adults and children. In M. Hammersley & P. Woods (eds), The Process of Schooling: a Sociological Reader (pp. 98–103). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Theobald, M. (2013). Ideas as ‘possessitives’: Claims and counter claims in a playground dispute. Journal of Pragmatics, 45(1), 1–12. DOI:

Tomasello, M. and Farrar, M. J. (1986). Joint attention and early language. Child Development, 57(6), 1454–1463. DOI:

Vygotsky, L. (1962). Thought and Language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. DOI:

Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind and Society: The Development of Higher Mental Processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Waksler, F. C. (ed.). (1991). Studying the Social Worlds of Children: Sociological Readings. Basingstoke: Falmer Press.




How to Cite

Gan, Y. ., & Danby, S. . (2021). Investigating interactions from the children’s perspective: Introduction to a special issue on young children’s interactive competence, participation and engagement in social activities. Research on Children and Social Interaction, 5(1), 1–11.