Academic Article


  • To complain is to express suffering or discontentedness as a result of experiencing some trouble. Complaining is one way of interactionally displaying a negative affective stance toward someone or something. What exactly constitutes a complaint and/or the action of complaining in recorded, naturally occurring talk-in-interaction, however, defies definition because it is a phenomenon that participants can manage implicitly or explicitly, concurrent with other activities, and over the course of an extended sequence of conversation. Rather than referring to complaints, LSI scholars refer to complainability to highlight the fact that the possibility of complaining can inform interaction without a complaint becoming manifest in participants’ conduct. Complaining is an important practice through which participants manage their social relationships: parties observably exercise care in determining who to complain to, what kinds of complaints to make to which kinds of recipient, and how to co-construct the complaining activity, including how recipients respond. Through complaining sequences, parties can enact morality as a potent mechanism of social control.
  • Authors

  • Pillet-Shore, Danielle
  • Pillet‐Shore, Danielle
  • Publication Date

  • May 20, 2015
  • Keywords

  • cohesion
  • complaints
  • solidarity
  • stance-taking
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 7