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“Ordering and serving coffee in an Italian café: How customers obtain ‘their’ coffee” (Vortrag)

DateWednesday, 24th January 2018
LocationFRIAS, 2. OG, Konferenzraum im Nordflügel

veranstalter: Prof. Dr. Elwys De Stefani
institution: HPSL
language: Englisch
location institution: Freiburg
date_raw: Mittwoch 24.01.2018, 8.30-10.00 Uhr
date_sort: 24.01.2018, 00:00:00


In this presentation I examine how customers and baristas
collaboratively produce and transform what ends up being the ordered
item, thereby offering a detailed analysis of interactions taking place
in a public café in Italy. In this setting, persons enter the café and
immediately order a coffee at the counter, which is also the place
where they will later consume the requested beverage. The focus will be
on the product that customers order and baristas prepare in a rapid and
seemingly effortless way. What at first sight might appear as a
straightforward request-compliance sequence is actually a complex
interactional accomplishment. The talk addresses language resources
that participants use when placing an order. These are sensitive to the
spatio-temporal organization of the service encounter – i.e. to the
converging movement of the customer’s and barista’s bodies in the
initial phases of the interaction. They are also practices of naming
and categorizing the product to be prepared. Reaching agreement about
which kind of coffee the customer is requesting is a fundamental
achievement of the initial phase of the encounter, since it allows
baristas to proceed with the preparation of the ordered item. It is the
barista’s job to materially assemble the requested product and to
reorganize the spatiality of the counter in a way to create a temporary
space of consumption for each customer, typically by placing a saucer
in proximity to where a customer is standing. What ends up as
apparently being an ordinary cup of coffee is in fact a product that
customers and baristas collaboratively shape for the consumption of
‘that’ customer, on ‘that’ occasion, in ‘that’ particular space of
consumption. The analysis is based on 2.5 hours of continuous recording
in a public café located in Southern Italy and offers further insight
into research about the categorization of material objects (De Stefani,
2014; Koschmann & Zemel, 2014), the openings of face-to-face service
encounters (Sorjonen & Raevaara, 2014; Mondada & Sorjonen, 2016; Auer,
2017; Mondada, 2017), and café sociality (Laurier, 2008a, 2008b, 2013).