Action and Intersubjectivity in the Digital Age


Digital technologies have transformed interactions in the domains of work, education, and everyday life. They can support interaction but can sometimes disrupt it and make it difficult. We do not know how and why interaction is or is not successful around them.

AIDA studies real-time interaction in digitally mediated and virtual environments. It shows how people interact with, around and inside them and provides knowledge about how and why social action may be difficult in digital and remote interactions. It produces findings that support the development of intuitive, trustworthy, and safe digital solutions.


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Project information

Project duration


Funded by

Research Council of Finland - Academy Project

Project funder

Research Council of Finland
University of Oulu, Faculty of Humanities

Funding amount

712 384 EUR

Project coordinator

University of Oulu

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Project leader

Other persons

Project description

Social interaction is vital in the digital age. Emerging digital technologies present new environments for real-time and multimodal interaction, such as videoconferencing systems and immersive virtual reality (VR). These environments feature dimensions that have a fundamental impact on how social actors build common ground in real-time digital interactions. We know that, for example, building common ground, organising turn-taking or building a joint focus on a referent is hard in digital interactions, but we do not know how and why.

AIDA asks the fundamental question: How is social action organized and common ground established in digital settings and interactions?

AIDA uses the analytic mentality of Conversation Analysis (CA), an influential research field in pragmatics. It will be used to study the sequential and temporal organisation of digital action and interactions in distributed digital settings. It will also explore how people change their interactional conduct in digital interactions, indicating learning or adaptation to use new digital communicative tools.

AIDA will initiate, underpin and provide a model for a digital turn in CA and pragmatics by building an extensive video corpus, creating ground-breaking video-based methods, and making a path-breaking theoretical and conceptual contribution to the research of intersubjective and digital social action. It will also have broader impact. By highlighting the overlooked social and interactionist features of meaning making in digital interactions, it can impact the existing individualistic and cognitivist theories and mindsets that currently underpin the development of digital technologies. AIDA will identify and describe problems that computer scientists are dealing with or cannot even imagine. Solving those problems will pave way for better digital communicative technologies (e.g., Social VR). Finally, AIDA will spearhead the digital transition in Europe by creating knowledge that can advance the building of more socially and ethically sustainable digital futures with stronger individuals and interactions.