Not Being Bound by What You Can See Now. Charles Goodwin in Conversation with René Salomon




co-operative action, embodiment, distributed cognition, materiality, video analysis, conversation analysis, ethnography of science, ethnomethodology


In this interview Charles (Chuck) GOODWIN not only reflects on his academic career, but also gives a fascinating and profound insight into the genesis of his own theoretical approach. On the one hand it becomes apparent that he and his spouse, Marjorie Harness GOODWIN, are among the few people who have contributed to the development of several approaches that now belong to the established canon of sociology. On the other hand GOODWIN allows a deep insight into the formation and background of a social-theoretical movement, more diverse and networked than currently visible. At the same time, he manages to introduce the more complex assumptions of his research results and theoretical conclusions. He thereby draws a line from his early work in the 1970s to this day—starting in the context of people like Gregory BATESON; working with people like Erving GOFFMAN, Gail JEFFERSON, Harvey SACKS, William LABOV and many more. It shows the creativity and openness, with which Charles GOODWIN was able to overcome the divide between theoretical schools and to thereby develop a genuine approach. In the early 1970s he already had succeeded in illuminating areas that could hardly be more topical today.


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Author Biographies

Charles Goodwin, University of California, Los Angeles

Charles GOODWIN (October 9, 1943 – March 31, 2018) studies of English literature, one year at the New York University School of Law (1965-1966). GOODWIN worked as a social worker in Harlem, New York City (1966-1967). In 1969 he transferred to Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, California, for the assistant position under Klaus KRIPPENDORF. He worked as a research associate and filmmaker at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic from 1971-1974 and transferred to the Developmental Center for Autistic Children in Philadelphia for a position as a video director, where he studied video-guided family therapy sessions. GOODWIN completed his dissertation entitled "Some Aspects of the Interaction of Speaker and Hearer in the Construction of the Turn at Talk in Natural Conversation" in 1977 at the Annenberg School of Communication. From 1976-1990 and from 1991-1996, GOODWIN taught anthropology at the University of South Carolina. From 1989-1991 he was a research consultant at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and from 1996 until his retirement, he worked as a distinguished research professor of communication at the Department of Communication at UCLA, California. In 2018 Charles GOODWIN received the Garfinkel-Sacks Award for Distinguished Scholarship from the American Sociological Association and the Lifetime Achievement Award conferred by the International Society of Conversation Analysis.

René Salomon, University of Würzburg

René SALOMON, born 1976, Member of faculty and researcher at the Chair for General Sociology at the Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg. Research interests: practice and systems theories; qualitative methodology; sociology of knowledge.




How to Cite

Goodwin, C., & Salomon, R. (2019). Not Being Bound by What You Can See Now. Charles Goodwin in Conversation with René Salomon. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 20(2).

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