In my research I employ conversation analysis to explore how people interact in a variety of settings: support groups, medical consultations, research interviews and the kindergarten. A recurrent interest for me has been how people talk about sensitive matters such as violations of institutional norms and expectations, socially inappropriate behaviours (which sometimes attract complaints or apologies) and very delicate topics such as someone’s identity as a disabled person or thoughts and feelings associated with the prospect of dying. How do people establish what is a delicate matter in interaction? What interactional objectives do they pursue by construing an event as atypical or out of the ordinary (or vice versa as ordinary, normal, etc.)? What does this tell us about how people shape their social worlds in everyday interaction? These questions fascinate me. My research contributes to the understanding of social interaction but also has practical implications. In my current project I will be developing training resources to raise professionals’ interactional awareness in the sector of drug addiction rehabilitation.
I obtained my PhD in Education at the University of Verona with a dissertation on communication between staff and clients within Therapeutic Community programs (rehabilitation programs for people with mental health issues and/or substance misuse problems). I have done post-doctoral research at the University of Verona and the University of Nottingham in two main topic areas: dyslexia and communication in end of life care. I am currently based at the Loughborough University, Department of Social Sciences. I have delivered more than 30 conference presentations and invited talks. I have published 15 journal articles and book chapters to date. In my research I employ conversation analysis to examine audio and video recorded episodes of naturally occurring interaction. I also have experience in other qualitative approaches (ethnography, phenomenology) and methods (interview, systematic review).
INTERACT (Interaction in Therapeutic Communities) is a two years research project funded by an Intra-European Marie Curie Fellowship (FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IEF, Grant Agreement Number 626893). The focus is on communication between professionals and clients within Therapeutic Communities for drug and alcohol rehabilitation. I will mainly be looking at professionals’ actions that foster client participation, but I will also be exploring how clients share their experiences and support each other within group meetings. I will be studying the challenges that professionals face in interaction with Therapeutic Community clients (ranging from overt resistance to lack of participation) and I will be designing a training resource to raise professional awareness of how such challenges can be managed in interaction. More broadly, I am interested in how Therapeutic Community professionals’ actions are shaped by the concomitant presence of two sets of constraints: therapeutic relevance (supporting the clients, enabling them to reflect and to make choices) and social control (monitoring clients’ actions and enforcing norms and expectations about socially acceptable conduct).