The fundamental importance of face-to-face interaction has become increasingly explicit due to the rapid growth of new technology-based forms of interaction. The recent COVID-19 pandemic that has secluded people in their homes has further crystallized people’s innate tendency and need for embodied social contacts. With the overwhelming speed of the development of technologies, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and new software for social media, understanding the basic dynamics of face-to-face embodied social interaction becomes vital. In order to develop new interactive technologies that take into account the multifarious aspects of human social interaction, we need to make sense of the complex architecture of existing intercorporeal processes through which we co-operate in our everyday world, in both mundane and institutional interaction.
‘Encounters’ is a group of social scientists with a long-term experience in studying human social interaction in authentic (video- or audio-recorded) everyday- and institutional situations. Our research results bring knowledge about the changing forms of human sociality from the perspective of the interacting participants. We examine social processes and practices, such as decision making and management of affect, and analyze their consequences for social relationships, as well as for fulfilling relevant institutional tasks and goals.