5.13 Trajectories, travel, passage and other aspects of mobility

What we have considered so far in analysing the video is the movements of one another’s bodies that are visible to J and S. These gestures are available to the original participants and are made sense of by the original participants in relation to what is being said and the unfolding events of their car moving forward up the road, toward the end of their journey.

A further central elements of the situation that video recordings offer us, in relation to how participants analyse what is happening, is the trajectories and movement of the participants themselves in the space. In other settings, such as at a family home, this might be someone walking into the room, or leaving the dinner table, or in a shop scenario from the earlier in this section of the module it was the cafe customers arriving at the counter and equally the waitress walking away from them to the till to ring up their order. In our recording here it is the movement of the car itself on the road. The transcript follows but it is much easier to appreciate what is happening by playing the video recording.

While, in our earlier transcript, the car’s movement was relevant in its steady progression toward the end of their route here it takes on a greater significance.

Q: What driving-action is happening here that makes it so significant and what does this action do to J and S? Try and link what is being said to the movement of the vehicle. Consider also whether there is any change in the setting-categories.

Before initiating the change of lanes, S provides a definite epistemic statement ‘no right turn’ and on that basis initiating a departure from the route he had been directed along by J as the navigator. The movement of the car is a significant act here because it abandons a previous longer course of action (e.g. following J’s directions). In terms of the categories changing: S has usurped J as navigator by doing the navigation himself. If we roll back through the lead up to this departure we can now realise he had given plenty of earlier justification for stepping in to take control of situation. He had alerted J to the absence of the right turn, he had warned her that they were facing immediate trouble in their course of action. But, of course, as we all know from fraught car journeys this does not mean that this might all end in a rather nasty family argument and either J or/and S falling out with one another while remaining trapped in the suddenly much smaller space of the car.

If we also replay the video and look at the details we can see that J (and thus us) can see such a move beginning to emerge before it actually happens. We see S craning his neck to be able to see further up the middle of the road and make visible he is doing so. We see S hitting the indicator too just before he shifts the car between lanes. It all happens at a noticeably fast pace (and pace may well be relevant to the participants) but this is also of course because he has spotted a gap in the traffic to his left that means they can still change lanes. If he left it any longer they would be boxed in, unable to change lanes, though quite what his solution to their problem is he hasn’t revealed yet. We won’t examine that but will instead shift on to a few exchanges later.