I think an important aspect of studying anything is the ability to bring together research from a variety of disciplines. It enables us to look at all of the perspectives in order to gain a better understanding of the topic. DeJaegher explores this idea really well in relation to social interactions in her paper ‘Theco-creation of meaningful action: bridging enaction and interactional sociology’. She combines the insights from interactional sociology and enaction to conceptualise their organisation in terms of autonomy. She provides an overview of the different factors that have an influence on social interaction which include a structural perspective on coordination, co-presence, engagement, turn taking, sequentiality, emergent processual perspective on coordination, the temporality of coordination, origins of coordination and the interplays between interactional and individual autonomy in the co-creation of meaningful action. The need for an updated way to study social interactions is evident in the paper and so she provides interactive guidelines for studying the co-creation of meaning.
She states the three interacting systems that are involved in a social interaction are: first the individuals themselves, then there is the factor of societal and cultural contexts and finally there is the face-to-face interaction. The focus of the paper is to look at what happens at the intersections of these three factors to try to gain a better understanding of the co-creation of meaningful action. Previously research has ignored the face-to-face interactions when investigating social interactions. The face-to-face interactions can be influenced on the individual level and on the socio-cultural level which are both highly important features of social interaction. DeJaegher suggests that actions and meanings are collaboratively created in this interplay between the interactional self-organisation and the individual self-organisation. This idea is explained really well in her video on participatory sense making.
The enactivist view implies that ‘processes within the operational closure of an autonomout system can be linked to processes external to the system and conditions external to the system may well also be necessary for any within system processes’. Co-presence is a crucial part of social interactions. When co-presence is evident it allows for engagement to occur. It is a factor that everyone takes into account. It can have an influence on how you act in particular situations. Being in the presence of another individual can shape your thoughts and behaviours. Sequentiality involves the non-verbal communicative actions as they occur one after the other. Enaction views the individuals and the interactions as equally important. The meaning is developed between the individuals participating in the interactions and all of these factors are equally important.
She states that a social interaction can only occur if there is co-regulation at the level of interaction dynamics that takes on an autonomous organisation and if the autonomy of the individuals involved in the interaction is not destroyed in the process. The relationship between the person and the interaction is bidirectional in a way that they both influence each other. Research in the future should aim to take into account both factors. Techniques should be adapted to differentiate between levels of interactive and individual engagement. I believe it is highly beneficial to incorporate interdisciplinary approaches so that we can learn from one another and develop a more comprehensive understanding of social interactions.