University of Oulu

Pauliina Siitonen, Maarit Siromaa, Accounting for leaving the break room: Work obligations as a resource in transitions from one activity to another at the workplace, Journal of Pragmatics, Volume 171, 2021, Pages 178-199, ISSN 0378-2166,

Accounting for leaving the break room : work obligations as a resource in transitions from one activity to another at the workplace

Saved in:
Author: Siitonen, Pauliina1; Siromaa, Maarit1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Research Unit for Languages and Literature, P.O. Box 1000, FI-90014 University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-11-25


We approach break taking at work as social activity and examine break closings as a type of transition from one activity to another. Using conversation analysis, we draw on video data from five work communities in Finnish institutions of higher education and focus on a linguistic practice that the participants frequently utilize in the break closings: accounts to end the break citing work obligations. Our data show that in addition to multimodally adjusting their leaving to the ongoing break activity, the participants may present the resumption of work as a necessary obligation and use this conventionalized practice to leave the company of others legitimately. Thus, they display their orientation to the significance of co-presence and social solidarity between colleagues and to the leave taking as a somewhat accountable action.

see all

Series: Journal of pragmatics
ISSN: 0378-2166
ISSN-E: 1879-1387
ISSN-L: 0378-2166
Volume: 171
Pages: 178 - 199
DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2020.09.032
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 6121 Languages
Funding: This work was supported by the Academy of Finland [grant number 285393]; the Focus Institute Eudaimonia, University of Oulu; the Finnish Cultural Foundation, Central Fund and North Ostrobothnia Regional Fund; and the Finnish Work Environment Fund.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 285393
Detailed Information: 285393 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2021. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license