Kids, counsellors and troubles-telling: Morality-in-action in talk on an Australian children’s helpline

Morality in Practice - Exploring Childhood, Parenthood and Schooling in Everyday Life - Jakob Cromdal

Susan Danby [+-]
Queensland University of Technology
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Professor Susan Danby’s areas of expertise are in early years language and social interaction, childhood studies, and early literacy. Her methodological expertise is in qualitative approaches, including ethnomethodology and conversation analysis. She has published in the following areas: qualitative research, classroom discourse, helpline talk, gender, classroom interaction, early childhood education pedagogy, talk and interaction, children’s work and play, teacher-student interactions.
Michael Emmison [+-]
University of Queensland
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Associate Professor Michael Emmison is an honorary faculty member in Sociology at the School of Social Sciences having recently retired after 39 years of service at the University of Queensland. His farewell address was titled ‘Sociology, Discovery and Progress: lessons from the study of naturally occurring talk-in-interaction’. His research interests and publications have spanned a number of fields but for the last decade he has primarily worked in two areas. First, the analysis of conversational interaction, particularly talk in institutional settings such as telephone helplines. Second the use of visual information for conducting social research. He serves on the editorial boards of Visual Communication and the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography and his most recent book is Researching the Visual (2nd ed) co-authored with Philip Smith and Margery Mayall. He was the Keynote speaker at the Australian Institute of Ethnomethodology and Conversational Analysis conference in November 2012.


Issues of morality and children have traditionally been investigated within the realm of developmental psychology, treating the human ability to adopt certain values as a matter of individual and cognitive growth. As an alternative, this book approaches the morality of young persons from a practice oriented perspective. In essence, such an approach adopts a view of morality as something participants jointly accomplish in going about their everyday social affairs. That is to say, rather than relying on developmental theory or moral philosophy in exploring the moral worlds of young persons, a practice oriented approach adopts a primarily empirical stance, leaning on qualitative analysis of naturally occurring social interaction as found in, for example, ethnomethodology, conversation analysis and discursive psychology. This collection brings together scholars from Australia, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States. Twelve empirical chapters focus on different aspects of everyday morality as practiced among children and youth as well as a range of participants who act in their role as adults, lay or professional, to foster, educate and in various ways support young people in daily life. The volume opens with an introductory chapter by the editors, who briefly present a practice based perspective on morality, situating at the same time the individual chapters within the fields of discursive research on children and youth in society.

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Danby, Susan; Emmison, Michael. Kids, counsellors and troubles-telling: Morality-in-action in talk on an Australian children’s helpline. Morality in Practice - Exploring Childhood, Parenthood and Schooling in Everyday Life. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Nov 2022. ISBN 9781845539306. Date accessed: 27 Oct 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.25152. Nov 2022

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