‘I see you on my radar’: displays of the confirmatory form in maritime technologically mediated interaction

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This article investigates how speakers in maritime technologically mediated interaction utilize pre-scripted interaction. The analysis uses micro-analytical methods that have not been used in the analysis of maritime interactions since the study by Bailey et al. (2006). In contrast to Bailey et al. (2006) who have analysed interactions between co-located speakers on board ships, this article analyses interactions between speakers who are not co-located. Micro-analytical methods can shed light on sense-making practices that speakers display in pre-scripted user-device interaction as pointed out by Arminen (2005). The article advances the observations of Bailey et al. (2006) regarding the ‘confirmatory form’ that they found predominant in co-located bridge team interaction. A ‘confirmatory form’ is a speaker display of the pre-script1 called a ‘readback’ (IMO SMCP, 2001), that speakers show when verifying information. The analysis shows that the structure of the ‘readback’ is used by speakers, is dependent on reflexive user-device interaction and involves a situated rule-following (Wittgenstein, 1958). The article then argues against the findings in The MARCOM Project (1999) that advocates that spoken interaction should be done away with completely as a way of promoting safe navigation, and concurs with studies in aviation research, that show how verbal interaction is an essential part of the situated understanding that takes place when performing institutional tasks (Sanne, 2003; Nevile, 2004a; Falzon, 2008, 2009).

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Sociological Review
Issue number3
Pages (from-to) 468-494
Publication statusPublished - 1. Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • pre-scripted interaction
  • maritime technologically mediated interaction
  • institutional interaction


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