Rules at Play: Correcting Projectable Violations of Who Plays Next

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Svensson H., Tekin B. S.

Human Studies, vol.44, no.4, pp.791-819, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 44 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10746-021-09591-6
  • Title of Journal : Human Studies
  • Page Numbers: pp.791-819
  • Keywords: Correction, Ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, Games, Projectability, Rules, Social interaction


© 2021, The Author(s).This study examines the situated use of rules and the social practices people deploy to correct projectable rule violations in pétanque playing activities. Drawing on Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis, and using naturally occurring video recordings, this article investigates socially organized occasions of rule use, and more particularly how rules for turn-taking at play are reflexively established in and through interaction. The alternation of players in pétanque is dependent on and consequential for the progressivity of the game and it is a practical problem for the players when a participant projects to break a rule of “who plays next”. The empirical analysis shows that formulating rules is a practice for indicating and correcting incipient violations of who plays next, which retrospectively invoke and establish the situated expectations that constitute the game as that particular game. Focusing on the anticipative corrections of projectable violations of turn-taking rules, this study revisits the concept of rules, as they are played into being, from a social and interactional perspective. We argue and demonstrate that rules are not prescriptions of game conduct, but resources that reflexively render the players’ conducts intelligible as playing the game they are engaging in.