Hide menu

Communicating emotions, embodying morality

A sociocultural perspective on affective and moral socialization in families and in early education


Asta Cekaite, VR, 2014-2020. 18 mlj. (grant to distinguished young scholars)


The generative interest of the project is to study how children are socialized and develop affective, moral and communicative skills at the intersection of educational, and private spheres characterizing young children’s lives. Socializing children into emotionally appropriate and normatively/morally valued conduct is a significant part of adults’ (teachers’ and parents’) tasks responsibilities, reflecting the wider societal notions of sociality and personhood. Important to our understanding how these tasks can be accomplished is the social perspective on emotions and morality, according to which emotions not only have a physiological basis, but are also shaped by cultural norms, and involve a cluster of rights, and obligations by reference to social and moral standards of particular sociocultural settings. In this project, we adopt the socioculturally inspired theoretical framework, i.e., language socialization perspective (Ochs, 1988) that views socialization to use language and body as socialization into the cultural forms of life, achieved through participation in meaningful interactions.

The overall goal of the interdisciplinary program is, by taking into account the different sets of contexts and relationships involved (Swedish families, early education, peer group), provide a holistic, multi-faceted analysis of affective, moral, and communicative socialization of young children, including

  1. a systematic account of verbal and embodied practices for children’s affective socialization by examining how children, through participation in everyday interactions, learn to convey and interpret particular emotions;
  2. examination of situated practices for children’s moral socialization and moral personhood, uncovering the notions of morally valued personhood (vs. deviation from cultural norms);
  3. examination of children’s communicative development necessary for becoming a competent participant in various contexts of social interaction.

The project group will include researchers with expertise in a range of disciplines and research fields (social interaction, language, education, cultural psychology, anthropology). It also develops the ongoing collaboration with researchers from US and Japan.


Project group at Linköping University: prof. Asta Cekaite (principal investigator); Mats Andrén, Disa Bergnéhr, P. Björk-Willén, Malva Holm Kvist.

Research associates: prof. M. Burdelski (Osaka University), prof. M. H. Goodwin (UCLA); prof. B. LeMaster (California State University, Long Beach); E. Moore (Portland State University).


Cekaite, A. (2016). Touch as social control: Haptic organization of attention in adult-child interactions. Journal of Pragmatics, 92, 30-42.

Cekaite, A. (2015). Coordination of talk and touch in adult-child directives. Touch and social control. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 48, 152-175.

Goodwin, M. & Cekaite, A. (2014). Orchestrating directive trajectories in communicative projects in family interaction. In P. Drew & E. Couper-Kuhlen (Eds.) Requesting in social interaction (pp. 181-210). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Andrén, M. & Cekaite, A. (forthcoming/2016). Don’t laugh! Socialization of laughter and smiling in pre-school and school settings. In A. Bateman & A. Church (eds.). Children and knowledge. Springer.

Cekaite, A. (forthcoming/2016). Emotional stances and interactional competence. In Kasper, G. & M. Prior (Eds.) Talking emotion in multilingual settings. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Goodwin, M. H. & Cekaite, A. (submitted). Arms. In M. Bucholz & K. Hall (eds.). Parsing the Body: Language and the Social Life of Embodiment.


Workshop ’Touching moments: Touch in social interaction’, April 26-28 2016, Linköping. Participants L. Mondada, C. Meyer, P. Linell, M. Burdelski, L. Keevallik, J. Rusuvuori, L. Tainio, M. Lakso, N. Norén etc.

Workshop with associate professor M. Burdelski (Osaka University). September 5-6th, 2015. Linköping. Data sessions (M. Burdelski, A. Cekaite, M. Holm Kvist)

Workshop ’Touching moments: Touch in social interaction’. 22-23 March, 2015. Linköping. Organizers A. Cekaite, M. Andrén, D. Bergnehr, P. Björk-Willén. Participants from LIU, GU, Loughborough University, Helsinki University, Tampere University. 17 participants.

Workshop ”Touch as social action’. 11th June, 2015. Helsinki University. 25 participants. Organizer prof. L. Tainio (in cooperation with prof. M. & C. Goodwin (UCLA) & A. Cekaite).

Workshop ’Affect in child-adult interactions. Cross-cultural perspectives’. IPrA, 25th July, Antwerpen. Participants: M. Burdelski (Osaka Univ.), K. Aronsson, A-C Evaldsson (UU), A. Takada, L. De Leon (Mexico) and prof. Akira Takada’s group.

Roundtable with assoc. Prof. F. Rossano (Max Planck, Leipzig/UCSD). Sept. 2015.



Project duration: 2014-2020

Funder: VR

Contact person:
Asta Cekaite
+46 13 28 26 74




Related links

Page manager: asta.cekaite@liu.se
Last updated: Fri Feb 19 11:11:36 CET 2016