Situated accomplishment of well-being in interaction: A conversation-analytic study of instructor intervention, driver reflection and displays of (dis)comfort in voluntary post-licence training

Mirka Rauniomaa, Esko Lehtonen, Heikki Summala


Private car travel constitutes an important means of transportation for senior members of society: having access to a car is often key to gaining access to various services and activities. Among the retired population, many couples have adopted practices that promote driving performed by the husband while demoting driving performed by the wife. If the husband then ceases driving, the wife may be faced with the dilemma of having a need to drive, owning a car and holding a valid driving licence – but not having the skills and confidence to drive. Post-licence training offers a solution to such situations in providing a safe, supportive environment to practice. Nevertheless, as part of any training, drivers have to deal with various settings and situations, some of which may be emotionally intense and have adverse effects on the willingness to drive. This study takes a look at one such case, where an instructor treats a trainee driver’s conduct so problematic as to stop the dual-control car at a junction. The study examines how the participants attempt to establish, maintain and update their mutual understanding of the unfolding situation, how they produce and respond to displays of emotion, (dis)comfort in particular, and how those displays contribute to the course of the training, the ultimate goal of which is independent driving. The study thus explores how participants accomplish well-being in situ in interaction with one another. The study employs ethnomethodological conversation analysis and draws on video recordings from on-road post-licence training for older women drivers.


car driving; conversation analysis; ethnomethodology; displays of emotion; instruction; intersubjectivity; mobility; older drivers; post-licence training; social interaction

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