Early Alignment in Police Traffic Stops

Academic Article


  • This article examines the “reason for the stop” in police traffic stops as an important site of alignment that connects pre-beginning events to ratified interaction. Getting citizens on board with the business of what is an incipiently coercive encounter is important police work, especially in the early moments of interaction but later in the interaction as well. As I demonstrate, officers’ and citizens’ orientations to pre-beginning events, and how these are displayed with respect to the reason for the stop, serve as an omnirelevant resource for alignment, and sometimes contestation, throughout the course of the encounter. Data are in American English.
  • Authors

    Publication Date

  • 2018
  • Has Subject Area


  • alignment
  • conversation analysis
  • language and social interaction
  • openings
  • police
  • traffic stop
  • Start Page

  • 292
  • End Page

  • 312
  • Volume

  • 51
  • Issue

  • 3