Calling for Help: Language and Social Interaction in Telephone Helplines

Hardback
Telephone helplines have become one of the most pervasive sites of expert-lay interaction in modern societies throughout the world. Yet surprisingly little is known of the in situ, language-based processes of help-seeking and help-giving behavior that occurs within them. This collection of original studies by both internationally renowned and emerging scholars seeks to improve upon this state of affairs. It does so by offering some of the first systematic investigations of naturally-occurring spoken interaction in telephone helplines. Using the methods of Conversation Analysis, each of the contributors offers a detailed investigation into the skills and competencies that callers and call-takers routinely draw upon when engaging one another within a range of helplines. Helplines in the US, the UK, Australia, Scandinavia, The Netherlands, and Ireland, dealing with the provision of healthcare, emotional support and counselling, technical assistance and consumer rights, tourism and finance, make up the studies in the volume. Collectively and individually, the research provides fascinating insight into an under-researched area of modern living and demonstrates the relevance and potential of helplines for the growing field of institutional interaction. This book will be of interest to students of communication, applied linguistics, discourse and conversation, sociology, counselling, technology and work, social psychology and anthropology.