This book is an important contribution to our understanding of everyday talk and its relation to broader social processes. Talk is unique and locally produced, crafted by particular social actors for the specific situation of its use. Yet the conduct of such talk is profoundly influenced by, and influential upon, social and cultural processes that occur beyond the temporal and spatial horizon of the occasion of the talk itself. Drawing on and criticizing social theory, Erickson explores the mutually reinforcing connections between the local conduct of talk and the general workings of society, economy, and history.The use of everyday examples enhances the book’s appeal to a non-specialist as well as a specialist audience. Chapter-length vignettes illustrating talk in diverse institutional settings are provided. These include a family dinner table, an elementary school classroom, an academic advisory session in a community college, and a clinical medical coaching session in which an intern physician reviews the case of a patient with an experienced physician. Written in a clear and comprehensible way, the book reviews the key theoretical perspectives and conceptual frameworks in social theory and in the sociolinguistic study of talk which bear on these examples. It concludes with an argument against overly determinist accounts of talk as social action, in the interest of better construction of social theory and better empirical study of talk.Talk and Social Theory will be an essential text for students of sociolinguistics and the analysis of discourse in conversation. It will also be of interest to students in sociology, anthropology, social theory, education, applied linguistics, and anyone concerned with the nature and uses of language in social interaction.