Maurice Nevile

MNAssociate Professor
Department of Design and Communication
(2014 – present)


Within the project I am mainly involved in examining objects and social interaction across three settings: collaboration for design and making; instruction for forklift truck driver training; instruction for pilot flight training.

My background is in the systematic study of language and embodied conduct, especially as used in natural situations of social interaction and activity. I began working within ethnomethodology and conversation analysis (CA) for my PhD (2001, Australian National University), collecting cockpit video recordings from passenger flights to examine pilots’ collaborative work to fly their aircraft. The findings focussed on language and grammatical matters like and-prefaced turns, pronominal use, and instructions, as well as the body and materiality e.g. pointing, gaze, body positioning. This interest extended to human error in aviation incidents and accidents (commercial and military), including so-called ‘black box’ recordings. It later shifted towards road transport, considering driver-passenger interaction in cars, and driver activity and distraction, and then mobility more generally. I have also taught and published on the nature and development of academic learning, especially writing (e.g. citation practices).

I have been broadly interested in how people see and identify, and touch and manipulate objects, to accomplish and develop shared understandings of what they’re doing and what’s going on. Objects have featured throughout my research. For example, in the airline cockpit pilots act with technological objects (e.g. displays, buttons), or non-technological objects like pens and paper. In cars, the objects used by drivers and passengers include phones, food, makeup, handbags, toys. Planes and cars are also themselves physical objects which operators control, relative to features of the material surrounding environment and to other participants within it. I have examined also objects used by gamblers, such as electronic gaming machines, and objects associated with playing them (money and credit cards, furniture, food and drink).

My most significant or more recent publications include the book Beyond the black box: Talk-in-interaction in the airline cockpit (2004), three co-edited books, Interacting with objects: Language, materiality, and social activity (2014, as lead editor), Multiactivity in social interaction: Beyond multitasking (2014) and Interaction and mobility: Language and the body in motion (2013), and a co-edited special issue on Meaning in motion: Interaction in cars, for the journal Semiotica (2012). In the journal Research on Language and Social Interaction (2015) I published a major review paper on the development of research interest in embodiment in social interaction, considering over 500 texts. For the review I also compiled a full bibliography of that journal, covering 26 years, which is now publicly available. In other activity, as contributions to the broader research community: I transcribed a 1977 conference talk by Gail Jefferson on the poetics of ordinary talk; I compiled a list of terminology used by researchers to capture the character of embodiment, including over 200 forms of wording; and I have written three guest blogs for the journal Research on Language and Social Interaction.


In preparation and submitted

  • Using conversation analysis in data-driven aviation training with large-scale qualitative datasets  – Tuccio, W.A. & Nevile M. (accepted, in press).  Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education and Research.
    Objects of agreement: Placing a pin to progress collaborative activity in custom dressmaking.
    – Nevile, M. (in preparation) Journal paper.



  • The embodied turn in research on language and social interaction. – Nevile, M. (2015). Research on Language and Social Interaction, 48(2): 121-151.
  • Transcription of Gail Jefferson, Boston talk: Boston University Conference on Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis, 9 June 1977. – Nevile, M. (2015)


  • Interacting with objects: Language, materiality, and social activity.Nevile, M., Haddington, P., Heinemann, T., & Rauniomaa, M. (eds.) (2014) Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins
  • Multiactivity in social interaction: Beyond multitasking.Haddington, P., Keisanen, T., Mondada, L. , & Nevile, M. (eds.) (2014)  Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins
  • On the interactional ecology of objects. – Nevile, M., Haddington, P., Heinemann, T., & Rauniomaa, M. (2014). In Nevile, M., Haddington, P., Heinemann, T., & Rauniomaa, M. (eds.) Interacting with objects: Language, materiality, and social activity. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. pp:3-26.
  • Towards multiactivity as a social and interactional phenomenon. – Haddington, P., Keisanen, T., Mondada, L., & Nevile, M. (2014). In Haddington, P., Keisanen, T., Mondada, L. , & Nevile, M. (eds.) Multiactivity in social interactionBeyond multitasking. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. pp:3-32.


  • Interaction and mobility: Language and the body in motion.Haddington, P., Mondada, L. & Nevile, M. (eds.) (2013)  Berlin and New York: De Gruyter
  • Being mobile: Interaction on the move. – Haddington, P., Mondada, L. & Nevile, M. (2013) In Haddington, P., Mondada, L. & M. Nevile (eds.) Interaction and mobilityLanguage and the body in motion. Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter. pp:3-61.
  • Seeing on the move: Mobile collaboration on the battlefield. – Nevile, M. (2013) In Haddington, P., Mondada, L. & M. Nevile (eds.) Interaction and mobility: Language and the body in motion. Berlin: De Gruyter. pp:153-176.
  • Collaboration in crisis: Pursuing perception through multiple descriptions (how friendly vehicles became damn rocket launchers). – Nevile, M. (2013) In De Rycker, A. & Mohd Don, Z. (eds.), Discourse and crisisCritical perspectives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. pp:159-183.
  • Making sequentiality salient: and-prefacing in the talk of airline pilots. – Nevile, M. (2013) In Drew, P. and J. Heritage (eds.) Contemporary Studies in Conversation Analysis. Volume Four. Series: SAGE Benchmarks in Social Research Methods. Sage. [[Reprinting. Originally published 2006 in Discourse Studies]]
  • Conversation analysis and cockpit communication. – Nevile, M. (2013) In K. Mortensen & J. Wagner (eds.),Conversation Analysis, in Carol A. Chapelle (general ed.). The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Driving and distractions. In Humanities in the Societal Challenges: 12 Compelling Cases for Policymakers – Nevile, M. and Haddington, P. (2013), Science Europe Scientific Committee for the Humanities. Brussels. pp:20-21.
  • SPIRE Research Summary 2008-2013. Centre Evaluation Report. (2013) Contributing author and coordinating editor. Sønderborg Participatory Innovation Research Centre, University of Southern Denmark. 29 pages


  • Meaning in motion: Interaction in cars. – Haddington, P., Keisanen, T. & Nevile, M. (eds.) (2012) Special Issue forSemiotica, 191, 1/4.
  • Meaning in motion: Sharing the car, sharing the drive. – Haddington, P., Nevile, M., & T. Keisanen (2012) Semiotica, 191, 1/4:101-116. In Haddington, P., Keisanen, T. & M. Nevile (eds.), Special Issue on Meaning in motion: interaction in cars
  • Interaction as distraction in driving: A body of evidence. – Nevile, M. (2012) Semiotica, 191, 1/4:169-196. In Haddington, P., Keisanen, T. & M. Nevile (eds.), Special Issue on Meaning in motion: interaction in cars.


  • Making sense of “things”: Developing new practices and methods for using tangible materials in collaborative processes. – Heinemann, T., Boess, S., Landgrebe, J., Mitchell, R., & Nevile, M. (2011) Proceedings of DESIRE ’11, 2nd Desire Conference on Creativity and Innovation in Design, Eindhoven, pp.221-225.
  • Book review, Fitzgerald, R. & W Housley (eds.) Media, Policy and Interaction. – Nevile, M. (2011) UK: Ashgate. Qualitative Research 11: 457-458.
  • L2 learning as social practice: conversation-analytic perspectives – Nevile, M. & Wagner, J. (2011 In G.Pallotti & J.Wagner (eds.)  pp.211-236. Pragmatics and Interaction series, National Foreign Language Resource Center, University of Hawai’i at Manoa.
  • The real thing: Artifacts, action and authenticity in a student-led stakeholder session. – Nevile, M. (2011) In J. Burr (ed.), Participatory Innovation Conference Proceedings, pp.84-90. University of Southern Denmark, Sønderborg. Available at


  • In-car distractions and their impact on driving activities. – Nevile, M. & P. Haddington (2010)  Canberra: Department of Transport and Infrastructure, Australian Commonwealth Government. pp.155. ISBN 978-1-921769-15-3
  • Looking for action: Talk and gaze home position in the airline cockpit. – Nevile, M. (2010)  Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 33(1), p.3.1-p.3.21.
  • 黑匣子背后-飞机驾驶舱互动对话 (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate). Chinese translation of Nevile (2004), Beyond the black box: Talk-in-interaction in the airline cockpit. – Nevile, M. (2010)  (UK: Ashgate)


  • A conversation analysis view of communication as jointly accomplished social interaction: An unsuccessful proposal for a social visit. – Nevile, M. & Rendle-Short, J. (2009) Australian Journal of Linguistics, 29,1:75-89.
  • “You are well clear of friendlies”: Diagnostic error and cooperative work in an Iraq War friendly fire incident. – Nevile, M. (2009) Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 18:147-173. p.



  • Participated in research methodology workshop, Advanced Topics in Conversation Analysis, Loughborough University, UK
  • Data session, MOVIN meeting, April, University of Copenhagen
  • Guest blog, journal Research on Language and Social Interaction: 200 terms for ‘embodied activity’


  • Local organizing committee, IIEMCA2015 conference
  • Scientific committee: Conference Revisiting Participation, Basel, Switzerland
  • Paper presentation, conference Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, Milan: ‘‘‘Hello! I’m behind you’: Warnings at trouble moments in forklift driving’
  • Paper presentation, IIEMCA2015 Conference, Kolding: ‘Embodying an object: Negotiating varying perspectives to fit a professional dance dress’
  • Teacher: EMCA Bootcamp, 4-day graduate research methodology course
  • Guest blog, journal Research on Language and Social Interaction: How I compiled a bibliography for ROLSI
  • Guest blog, journal Research on Language and Social Interaction: Transcribing Gail Jefferson: The 1977 Boston talk as it actually was.

Journal and other reviewing (2015)

  • Academic Quarter
  • Communication and Medicine
  • Discourse Studies
  • Dutch Council for the Humanities (research grant proposal)
    Research on Language and Social Interaction