PeaceTalk: Talk and Interaction in Multinational Crisis Management Training
Multinational crisis management operations aim to create a safe operating environment in a conflict area, help civilians and protect their lives in order to help rebuild a safe society. Fulfilling this aim in highly complex, unstable and multidimensional crisis situations requires efficient and successful communication.
PeaceTalk is funded by the Academy of Finland (2019-2023) and University of Oulu (2022-2025) to study talk and interaction in multinational crisis management training.
Crisis management training has a crucial role in educating and preparing staff to work in high-pressure and high-stress conflict situations. Among the core learning objectives in these exercises are to practice communication skills in multilingual, multinational situations, and to promote mutual understanding, interoperability and co-operation in multinational peace operations. Talk and interaction are part and parcel of this objective and crisis management.
PeaceTalk studies talk and interaction in crisis management exercises, which simulate real-life conflicts. The language used is English. The project relies on video recordings collected in exercises and uses conversation analysis as the method. The project describes efficient interactional practices and challenges in crisis communication. It focuses on situation awareness, information flow, team work and interaction across institutional communities (e.g. between civilians and military staff). The project collaborates with key organizers of crisis management training. The results will be used to inform crisis management training.
PeaceTalk collaborates with The Finnish Defence Forces International Centre (FINCENT), National Defence University (NDU) and Crisis Management Centre Finland (CMC Finland).
The PeaceTalk project focuses on talk and interactional in multinational crisis management training. In actual operations, military and civilian workers are required to have good communication skills.
PeaceTalk asks questions that respond to recognised challenges in crisis management interaction:
1. How can team building, team cohesion and team work be strengthened through interaction in multinational teams (in tactical operation centres and smaller teams)?
2. What features of talk and interaction enhance communication across institutional, cultural and social boundaries (e.g. military–civilian, military–police, military–non-governmental organisation)?
3. What verbal and interactional practices successfully establish situation awareness and initiate action in ad hoc disturbances (e.g. explosions, road blocks) that require quick responses and decisions?
Method and Data
Our research focuses on what participants in crisis management training do and how they do it. The analysis targets specifically the participants’ real-time talk and bodily conduct, and it aims to show how their talk and actions communicate their personal perspective and understanding of a situation, how they communicate that perspective to others, and, finally how the participants as pairs and teams build on joint understanding of a situation by talking and interacting with each other.
Our main research materials are audio-video recordings, which are essential for forming a realistic and truthful perspective to the real-time activities in the exercises. Additionally, we participate in the exercises. The aim is to make observations and write notes; we talk to the trainees and the instructors, without, however, disrupting the exercises themselves. The discussions and written notes help us build on general understanding of the studied setting and to remember contextual details that are not visible in the video recordings.
The method we use to analyse the research materials is called conversation analysis. In the analytic process, researchers view the recordings repeatedly. The analysis focuses on the details of participants’ talk and bodily actions, showing how trainees, moment by moment, build on a joint understanding of a situation with each other. The analysis shows
- how an event or action is followed, made relevant, or may require another action in response;
- how possible problems emerge and are solved step-by-step;
- how trainees visibly and audibly make sense of what happens around them, and how they collaborate through talk and interaction; and
- what people really do, in contrast to what they say they do, revealing details of which the trainees are not necessarily aware or to which they do not necessarily pay attention.
The analysis is supported by carefully written transcriptions that include various details of the participants’ talk and bodily action. The clear benefit of this analytic process is that it can be used to analyse and capture the participants' live communication as it occurs in real-time.
The video recordings, the transcriptions and the observations help us to understand the practical issues and problems crisis management trainees encounter in the exercises. They help form a realistic and truthful understanding of the participants’ real-time conduct when practicing for crisis situations.
Pentti Haddington, Professor of English, is interested in verbal and embodied practices in social interaction. He has studied interaction in various mobile settings and multitasking as an interactional activity. In the PeaceTalk project, he has studied code-switching practices, UN military observers' first noticings, and the way in which noticings develop into the activity of observing.
Antti Kamunen (2019-2022), PhD, studies various multimodal practices in social interaction. In the PeaceTalk project, he has studied language selection in a multinational military staff exercise and decision-making during car patrolling in UN military observer training. His current interest lies in how trainees in multinational crisis management training display, share, and build their knowledge and expertise.
Tuire Oittinen (2020-2023), PhD, studies multimodal and multilingual practices in institutional and work settings. She is also interested in technology-mediated interaction, and in the PeaceTalk project, her focus areas are team building and decision-making in remote crisis management training.
Iira Rautiainen (2018-2022), PhD, uses ethnography and interaction analytic methods. Her primary data consist of audio-video recordings and ethnographic field notes from United Nations military observer training courses. She is interested in both the use of English as a lingua franca and collaborative practices and team work in the course.
Heidi Puputti (2022-2026), MA, is interested in team building, participation, and the use of objects in various task-related settings. Her data focuses on civilian crisis management training courses.
Participation in crisis management courses and training exercises
Combined Joint Staff Exercise (CJSE17) 22.–26.4.2017 (as observers)
VIKING18 Exercise 16.4.–26.4.2018 (data collection)
European Union Integrated Crisis Management Course (EUICMC), 2.-7.9.2019 (as course participant)
United Nations Military Experts on Mission Course (UNMEM 3/18), 7.–8.11.2018 and 13.–14.11.2018 (as observers)
United Nations Military Experts on Mission Course (UNMEM 1/19), 11.–27.3.2019 (data collection)
Combined Joint Staff Exercise (CJSE18) 6.–10.4.2019 (as an observer)
United Nations Military Experts on Mission Course (UNMEM 2/19), 19.8.–4.9.2019 (data collection)
Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT), 11/2022 (data collection)
Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT), 04/2023 (data collection)
United Nations Peace Operations Security Management Course (UNPOSMC) 2023 (data collection)
Meetings and seminars with the crisis management training community
Meeting with Finnish Defence University, FINCENT and CMC Finland, 21.8.2019 (Santahamina, Helsinki)
Meeting with FINCENT leadership and UNMEM instructors, 30.10.2019 (Santahamina, Helsinki)
UNMEM workshop, presenting findings, 4.11.2020 (Santahamina, Helsinki)
FINCENT 's Instructor pool meeting 11.1.2023 (Santahamina, Helsinki)
UNMOC workshop for teachers and instructors, 19.5.2022 (Santahamina, Helsinki)
Facilitation of (inter)action in crisis management training: video based research and observations, FINCENT Systems Approach to Training Workshop, 4.11.2022 (Santahamina, Helsinki)
Interaction workshops during the United Nations Military Observer course:
- Reflection on patrol team interaction, UNMOC 1/23, 8.6.2023
- Reflection on patrol team interaction, UNMOC 2/23, 7.9.2023
Scientific seminars, workshops and conferences
COACT pre-conference workshop, Oulu 16.4.2019
- Pentti Haddington, Antti Kamunen, Iira Rautiainen & Antti Siipo: Talk, interaction and discourse in multinational crisis management training – The complexity of collecting audio, video and other research materials
COACT conference, Oulu 24.–26.4.2019
- Iira Rautiainen: Interactions across organisations in multinational crisis management training (talk)
- Antti Kamunen & Pentti Haddington: Studying a complex interactional stting – Interaction in multinational crisis management training (talk)
IIEMCA, Mannheim, Germany 2.–5.7.2019
- Antti Kamunen, Pentti Haddington & Iira Rautiainen: Studying a complex interactional setting – Interaction in multinational crisis management training (talk)
AILA-Europe Junior researcher meeting in applied linguistics, Sarajevo 26.–28.9.2019
- Iira Rautiainen: Staying safe. Interactional practices in military observer training
AFinLA symposium, Oulu, Finland 15.–16.11.2019
- Iira Rautiainen and Pentti Haddington: “Do you know where Victor seven is now?” Navigating as a team in UN military observer course
CA Day, Loughborough 16.12. 2019
- Antti Kamunen: Noticing threats and verbalising action in UN Military Observers' training
- Iira Rautiainen & Pentti Haddington: Team navigation in car patrols in UN military observer course
Conversation Research Days, Helsinki 6.–7.2.2020
- Iira Rautiainen, Antti Kamunen & Pentti Haddington: Puhe ja vuorovaikutus monikansallisessa YK:n sotilastarkkailijakoulutuksessa)
MOBSIN, online seminar 4.–8.5.2020 (data sessions)
European Conference on Conversation Analysis (ECCA), online, 29.6.-2.7.2020
- Iira Rautiainen, Displaying uncertainty in car patrols on a multinational Military Observer course (data session)
Crisis Talk mini online seminar 5.–6.11.2020
- Iira Rautiainen: "Say again”: a formulaic repair-initiator in radio communication on a multinational military observer course
- Antti Kamunen: Joint sense-making in categorising possible threats in UN Military Observer training
- Pentti Haddington: From first noticings to observation activity in UN military observer training
The World Congress of Applied Linguistics, Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée (AILA), online, 15.-21.8.2021
- Rautiainen, I. & Oittinen, T. Negotiating differential language expertise and intersubjectivity in crisis management training.
The Annual Sociological Conference, online, 11.-12.3.2021
- Rautiainen, I., Kamunen, A. & Haddington, P. Talk and interaction in multinational crisis management training
The Annual Conference for European Association of Peace Operations Training Centres (EAPTC), online, 19.-20.5.2021
- Haddington, P., Kamunen, A., Oittinen, T. & Rautiainen, I. Conversation analysis as a tool for training team communication practices in crisis management training (workshop)
NORDEFCO Language Teaching Seminar, online, 15.-16.6.2021
- Keynote: Haddington, P., Kamunen, A., Oittinen, T., & Rautiainen, I.: Studying Talk and Interaction in Crisis Management Training: Introducing PeaceTalk.
The 17th International Pragmatics Conference of International Pragmatics Association (IPrA), online, 27.6.-2.7.2021
- Haddington, P., Kamunen, A. Oittinen, T. & Rautiainen, I.: “Stop” or “STOP, STOP, STOP!”: Directives during car patrols orienting to threats, urgency, and parallel activities in UN military observer training.
The Annual Conference for European Association of Peace Operations Training Centres (EAPTC), Schlaining, Austria, 10.-12.5.2022
- Haddington, P., Kamunen, A., Oittinen, T. & Rautiainen, I.: Talk and interaction in multinational crisis management training: Overview of the results in the PeaceTalk project and benefits for training. (poster)
The 12th International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice (ALAPP), Jyväskylä, 15.-17.9. 2022
- Kamunen, A., Oittinen, T., Rautiainen, I. & Haddington, P. Inductive approach in EMCA: The role of accumulated ethnographic and video-based observations in studying the professional setting of crisis management training.
Interactional Competences and Practices in a Second Language (ICOP-L2), Barcelona, 8.-9.9.2022
- Rautiainen, I. & Oittinen, T.: Developing collaborative practices ‘in situ’: The case of language-related difficulties in multinational crisis management training.
Digital meeting in CA (DMCA), online, 31.10.-4.11.2022
- Rautiainen, I.: Developing collaborative practices ‘in situ’: Solving interactional troubles in military observer training.
The Autumn Symposium of the Finnish Association for Applied Linguistics, Association Finlandaise de Linguistique Appliquée (AfinLA), Jyväskylä, 11.-13.11.2021
- Rautiainen, I. & Oittinen, T.: Co-constructing mutual expertise and intersubjectivity during interactional troubles in crisis management training.
Conversation Research Days, Turku 3.-4.2.2023
- Antti Kamunen: ”If we see any navy ships, I can help with those.” – Asiantuntijuuden korostaminen osana kurssilaisten vuorovaikutusta ja toimintaa YK:n sotilastarkkailijakoulutuksessa
- Tuire Oittinen & Pentti Haddington: Kouluttajan fasilitoinnin käytänteet kriisinhallinnan etäkoulutusympäristössä: mukaantulot ja yhteisen toiminnan eteneminen
- Iira Rautiainen & Tuire Oittinen: Ongelmien ja vuorovaikutuskäytänteiden neuvottelu osana autopartiointia monikansallisessa kriisinhallintakoulutuksessa
- Heidi Puputti: Kokemuksia ja havaintoja aineistonkeruusta monikansallisella siviilikriisinhallintakurssilla
Finnish Conference of Linguistics, Oulu, 24-26.5.2023
- Heidi Puputti: Handling objects and learning through touch in civilian crisis management training
International Conference on Conversation Analysis, Brisbane, 26.6-2.7.2023
- Iira Rautiainen & Tuire Oittinen: Developing (good) interactional practices for teamwork and collaboration in crisis management training
- Iira Rautiainen: Interactional practices in and as part of advancing an overall project in multinational military observer training
- Tuire Oittinen: Embodied interactional competence in video-mediated and hybrid learning situations: the role of spatial configuration(s)
- Antti Kamunen: The use of bodily-spatial resources in the management of linguistic asymmetry: advancing a joint line of action and maintaining social solidarity
- Pentti Haddington, Antti Kamunen, Tuire Oittinen & Iira Rautiainen: Change in joint and interactional seeing: Noticing episodes in UN military observer training
- Pentti Haddington, Antti Kamunen, Tuire Oittinen, Iira Rautiainen & Heidi Puputti: Using conversation analysis to study talk and interaction in multinational crisis management training: Introducing PeaceTalk
Embodied Syntax Network Conference, Linköping, Sweden, 7.-8.9.2023
- Rautiainen, I.: Embodiment in radio communication: Multimodal structures in the context of radio mediated communication in military observer training.
Sotatieteiden päivät 2021, 3.-4.11.2021, online
- Antti Kamunen & Pentti Haddington: Huomaamiset ja ryhmän tilannekuvan rakentuminen YK:n sotilastarkkailijakurssilla
- Tuire Oittinen & Iira Rautiainen: Tiimityöskentely ja yhteistyö monikansallisessa kriisinhallintakoulutuksessa
The Annual Conference of the Finnish Political Science Association 2021, 10.-12.5.2021, online
- Antti Kamunen, Iira Rautiainen & Pentti Haddington: Puheen ja vuorovaikutuksen tutkimus monikansallisessa YK:n sotilastarkkailijakoulutuksessa
XLVIII Finnish Conference of Linguistics, 12.-14.5.2022, Turku
- Antti Kamunen: (Työ)elämä filminauhana: Vuorovaikutusaineistot tutkijanuran tienviittoina (Keynote)
Finnish National Defence University (Antti Kamunen), 1.10.2020–31.3.2021