Edited by Jannis Androutsopoulos
[Pragmatics and Society 12:5] 2021
► pp. 707–724
This Special Issue on “Polymedia in interaction” theorizes and empirically investigates practices and ideologies of digitally mediated interaction under conditions of polymedia. We argue that the proliferation of mobile interpersonal communication in the 2010s calls for, and is reflected in, conceptual and methodological shifts in empirical research on digital language and communication in pragmatics and sociocultural linguistics. In this introduction, these shifts are crystallized in five interrelated themes: (1) a turn from ‘computer-mediated communication’ to ‘digitally mediated interaction’ as a bracket category; (2) a move beyond the on/offline divide and focus on the integration of mediated interaction in everyday communication in micro-units of social structure (e.g. transnational families, business or academic communication); (3) an empirical downscaling towards private and small-scale public data; (4) a shift from the study of single modes of digital communication to polymedia; and (5) a focus on semiotic repertoires and registers of digital mediation. Research that orients to (some or all of) these focal points is compared with other trends in digital language research, including computational methods. The papers in this issue flesh out these five dimensions with findings from qualitative research, based on multi-sited linguistic and digital ethnographies in various sociolinguistic settings.