Kids, counselors and troubles-telling : morality-in-action in talk on an Australian children’s helpline

Danby, Susan J. & Emmison, Michael (2014) Kids, counselors and troubles-telling : morality-in-action in talk on an Australian children’s helpline. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 9(2), pp. 263-285.

PDF (69kB)

View at publisher


This article begins with the premise that morality is an intrinsic, although often invisible, aspect of everyday social action. Drawn from a corpus of fifty audiorecorded telephone calls to Kids Helpline, an Australian helpline for children and young people, we examine one call to show how the young caller and counsellor co-construct ‘morality-in-action’. Ethnomethodological understandings and, in particular, Sacks’ (1992) description of ‘Class 2’ rules and infractions show how an adolescent caller and counsellor collaboratively assemble moral versions of the caller. In puzzling out possible motives, the caller and counsellor can be seen to be attending to the implications of different moral versions of the caller. This attribution of motives is moral work in action, with motives contingently assembled, displayed and evaluated, with such work understood as displays of moral reasoning. The counselling call makes visible the counsellor’s interactional work to support and empower the client. Analysis such as this offers counsellors ways of understanding and making visible their interactional and moral work within helpline call interactions.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

54 since deposited on 16 Feb 2015
18 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 81829
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: helplines, children, young people, morality, ethnomethodology, counselling, counsellors, Australia
DOI: 10.1558/japl.v9i2.99
ISSN: 2040–3666
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Educational Counselling (130305)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > LINGUISTICS (200400) > Discourse and Pragmatics (200403)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Children & Youth Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Equinox Publishing Ltd
Deposited On: 16 Feb 2015 23:27
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2015 02:42

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page