Trans-Sequential Analysis, or: A Production-Focused Approach to Procedurally Organized Work


  • Martina (Author) Kolanoski Goethe University Frankfurt/Main



The article provides an introduction to Trans-sequential Analysis (TSA) – a sociological approach to the study of discourse work. TSA focuses on the procedural production of "discourse objects" (formative objects) in legal, administrative and political sites as members' work. The methodological guidelines that set out how to conduct a trans-sequential analysis, that form the focus of the first half of the article, emerged from studies of the specific kinds of collaborative practices found at these sites. However, TSA is often positioned as a research approach applicable to worksites of all and any kind. In order to address the question of TSA's domain of applicability, I will take it outside the fields of law and politics. I will first outline the main ideas of TSA, and subsequently present empirical material from a NATO airstrike to discuss the value of TSA for military research. My analysis shows that ideas developed under the rubric of TSA can be used as methodological sensitising devices for studying collaboration in workplaces in which members do not organize their work trans-sequentially. I argue that the conceptualisation of a military target as a complex formative object allows for a new and better understanding of military practice in the context of today's air wars.