Taking turns and taking sides: Opening scenes from two jury deliberations.

Manzo, J. F. (1996). Taking turns and taking sides: Opening scenes from two jury deliberations. Social Psychology Quarterly, 59, 107-125.

This study concerns the organization of the turn taking in the opening rounds of two actual deliberations, one civil and one criminal. Like all interactants, jurors accomplish their tasks thourhg sequential and collaborative ordering of their activities, including determination of who can, and who will, assume speakership. The organization of turn taking is important because through this organization jurors discursively accomplish what they must. Analysis of transcript and videotapes of the deliberations demonstrates that in the opening round, during which jurors state their preliminary views on the case at hand, participants adopt a pattern of turn taking different from that in ordinary conversation; it more closely resembles turn taking during provision of what Boden has labeled “position statements” in meetings in formal organizations. Although a jury is a unique kind of meeting because of jurors’ mutual lack of acquaintance and the centrality of their decision as a goal for its own sake, past work on meetings provides a conceptual and analytic anchor for this study. Empirical analysis centers on minute inspection of those opening rounds to describe their subtly distinct organizations, and also to address how the organization of turn taking and the shape of the turns themselves are consequential for the formation of “sides” in each jury, for each foreperson’s degree of authority, and for the jurors’ larger institutional task.

Early parts of both deliberations highly structured and democratic (i.e., participative). Speaking (i.e., turns and duration) influenced by foreperson, implicit norms, and nonverbal gestures.