The origins of conversation analysis (CA) go back to interactionism, an approach in sociology that developed in the US in the early and mid-twentieth century. Central among those who developed the approach were Herbert Blumer (1900–1987), Erving Goffman (1922–1982) and Harold Garfinkel (1917–2011). They proposed to investigate social interaction through detailed observation, examination and description of concrete instances of social interaction. They were concerned with people’s ‘lived experiences’ and the means by which we make sense of the world; more specifically, how we display our understanding of the situation we are in and the social actions produced within it. They insisted on grounding sociological theory in empirical observations of particular situations.