Centre for Research on Social Interactions

Le CRIS est désormais INACTIF.

The Centre for Research on Social Interactions (CRSI) was born of long-standing interdisciplinary and inter-faculty collaborations in the University, around the study of interpersonal interaction processes

You will find below a general presentation of the CRSI and an overview of the transversal topics studied by the institutes affiliated to the centre.

Research fields of the CRSI

  • General presentation of the CRSI
    The Centre for Research on Social Interactions (CRSI) was born of long-standing interdisciplinary and inter-faculty collaborations in the University, around the study of interpersonal interaction processes. The CRSI is one of the nine “centres of competence” supported by the University of Neuchâtel.
    The Centre aims to produce and promote interdisciplinary research on social interactions and to contribute to the training of young scientists. The projects undertaken by the 6 research groups in the Centre target key social issues:
    • Trajectories of young people (education and professional insertion);
    • Work processes (group coordination, hierarchy management, and task resolution using collaborative processes);
    • Effectiveness of institutional functioning (performance, conflicts and negotiations);
    • Relationships between individuals and institutions.
    These issues are analyzed in a variety of empirical fields (business, school, health care institutions, courts, and public institutions in general) whose complexity requires interdisciplinary investigations based on combined research methodologies.
    The researchers gathered at the center share a common view on social interaction that highlights three transversal scientific concerns:
    • Social interactions constitute a locus where knowledge, symbolic references, interpersonal relationships, and the functioning of institutions and social traditions are constructed, negotiated and reproduced;
    • Relationships between individuals and institutions (are negotiated and) evolve through empirically observable social practices;
    • Interactional competence as social capital.
    These concerns meet current questions of fundamental and applied research on the relationship between inter-individual social practices and institutional frameworks, and the construction and circulation of knowledge.
  • Social interaction and educational settings
    This line of research focuses on communicational issues in educational settings, from fine-grained analyses of interactional resources that participants mobilize in classroom interactions (e.g. students' claims of non-knowledge) to studies on how knowledge is built and displayed in instructed and non-instructed learning contexts (e.g. the role of collaborative tasks on children' cognitive development in class). These different lines of research jointly work to a better understanding of how the organization of talk-in-interaction impacts educational conducts and learning opportunities.
    Here are some examples of works by CRIS' members:
    • Apprendre et raisonner : approche développementale et socio-cognitive du rôle des situations collectives et individuelles d'apprentissage (Romain Boissonnade, post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Psychology and Education, http://doc.rero.ch/record/30374)


    • Cultures épistémiques à l’école : La gestion interactionnelle des manifestations de non-savoir dans la parole scolaire (Virginie Degoumois, doctoral student at the Center for applied linguistics, http://www2.unine.ch/islc/page-34889_fr.html)


    • Children’s acquisition of oral argumentation skills (Martin Luginbühl & Vera Mundwiler, Department for German Studies)


  • Social interaction and transition from school to the workplace

    Several institutes affiliated to the CRSI currently work on transition from school to the workplace, for instance by focusing on the institutional expectations about young people's interactional competences at key moments of their path towards the world of work and adulthood, the role of social networks in the transition from school to the workplace, and also the institutional devices that support (or not) the transitions of young people who encounter difficulties in their path towards the world of work.  

    Here are some examples of projects led by CRIS' members:





  • Social interaction and the new technologies of communication
    The interactional dimension of communication via new technologies is one of the main concerns of the CRSI's researchers. Some of these studies focus on the interactional conducts through which participants manage asynchronous communication (e.g. SMS, WhatsApp conversations, e-mail, chatting) and display expertise concerning the use of new technologies. Other studies deal with the impact of new communicational technologies on teaching, vocational training, and, in a more general way, on the complexification of human conducts.  
    Here are some examples of works by CRIS' members:
    • L’alternance codique dans la communication par SMS en Suisse (Etienne Morel, PhD thesis achieved at the Center for Applied Linguistics, affiliated to the project SMS4Science http://www.sms4science.org/)



  • Social interaction, pathologies and clinical settings
    The CRSI supports research on the links between social interactions, pathologies and clinical settings, gathering various perspectives like psycholinguistics, speech and language therapy, psychology of work, sociology and applied linguistics. Some studies focus on how disorders like schizophrenia, pathologic aging, or speech impairments impact linguistic and communicational skills of both adults and children. Other works provide insight into the organization of medical interactions (face-to-face interactions between physicians, but also between physicians and patients). This set of studies consider social interactions as a key to better understand patients' disorders (in cognitive and social terms), but also how these disorders impact the progressivity of interaction and the management of interpersonal relationships in medical and non-medical settings. 
    Here are some examples of works led by CRIS' members:


    • Research project Studying realistic social interactions using fMRI : a pilot project (Center in Speech and Language Therapy, in collaboration with the Université Laval, http://www2.unine.ch/islc/page-36910.html)



    • PhD thesis by Sandra Keller, Noise, distractors and communication during surgeries : Impact on patient outcome and intra-operative team processes (Sandra Keller, post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Work and Organizational Psychology)


  • Social interaction, conflict and mediation

    Interpersonal conflicts (in particular in legal and professional contexts), as well as their management, are intrinsically linked with the interactional practices through which participants display, negotiate and resolve disagreements. Some of CRSI’s members thus work on how the analysis of interactional organization allows to better understand conciliation processes between judge and justiciable. Other studies deal with disagreement in instructed language classroom interactions, focusing on how second-language speakers develop an interactional competence that allows them to manage disagreements and to minimize their impact on the progressivity of classroom activities. More generally, this research line is also linked to one of the most important concerns of the CRSI: interpersonal interactions in professional settings. 

    Here are some examples of works by CRIS' members:
    • La conciliation judiciaire civile en tension entre règlement judiciaire et règlement amiable du litige (Jonathan Jenny, doctoral student at the Research Center on Alternative and Judicial Dispute Resolution Methods)


  • A focus on mixed-method approach to analyze social interactions

    The CRSI takes part in the current debate on the hybridation of different theoretical and methodological approaches applied to the analysis of social interactions. The CRSI brings together resarchers affiliated to both qualitative and quantitative approaches, which allows to investigate the advantages, the limits and the challenges of combining these two perspectives. The CRSI thus contributes to develop an interdisciplinary apparatus for the study of social interactions.

For more details concerning the studies proposed by the institutes affiliated to the CRSI, please consult their websites (section “Institutes affiliated to the CRSI”, in the menu at the top left of the page).