INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION AND DIVERSITY Method workshop “Membership categorization analysis”

Date(s) - 17/05/2019
1:00 pm - 5:30 pm


Method workshop: “At home, I have chores. I am Polish” – Membership categorization analysis as a method to analyze interaction in culturally diverse settings

Membership categorization analysis (MCA) has been established by the early Harvey Sacks (Sacks 1965; Sacks and Jefferson 1967a, 1967b) and further developed within the field of ethnomethodology (Francis and Hart 1997; Stephen Hester and Eglin 1997). Sacks has been interested in the mundane categories people use in order to describe themselves and their fellow human beings because he wanted to understand, as Schegloff (2007, 472) puts it, “how a person comes to grasp and formulate a scene, specifically with respect to the characterization of the actors or participants in it”. A person can be categorized in a myriad of ways. The important question for participants in interactions as well as observers is which categories become relevant, why they are made relevant, and why at this very moment. Furthermore, the analysis of categories, relations between categories, and conclusions people draw from these categories elucidate a huge part of mundane sense-making, yet also moral reasoning. Today, membership categorization analysis is often combined with conversation analysis, yet not exclusively so (Sally Hester and Hester 2012; Fitzgerald and Housley 2002; Housley and Fitzgerald 2009). It is a valuable approach for researchers focusing on discourse in culturally diverse settings as it provides insights into how individuals are positioned in social interaction, how groups are generated, and how thereby specific moral orders are established (Rellstab 2015; Roca-Cuberes and Rafael 2016).

The workshop will consist of three parts. First, Dr. Daniel Rellstab will present membership categorization analysis and how it can be applied in interactional research in different culturally diverse settings. In the second part of the workshop, we will apply membership categorization analysis in a data session in order to “put it to the test.”

In the last part of this method workshop, doctoral students working on the broad topic of social identities are invited to present their work in a 3-minute / 2 slide-presentation.

Keynote speaker: Dr. Daniel Rellstab, Professor for Intercultural German Studies and Multilingualism, University of Education, Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany

The event is free for NeFCA members and PhD students (10€ fee for non-members) and includes tea/coffee. Please register for the event by sending an email to:

When signing-up for the event, please provide your name, institution, and the method you use most in your work. Doctoral students who wish to present should include a brief description of their topic and method (max. 150 words).

This event is organized with the financial support of NeFCA by NeFCA temporary working group on Intercultural Communication & Diversity, and in collaboration with the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture (ERMeCC).