On this page, you can read all the abstracts that are presented in the conference. The abstracts are organized in the order of the conference sessions. You can find the abstracts under the dates they will be presented in.
Cultivating Communication: Grounded Practical Theory, Culture, and the Paradox of Pluralism Professor Emeritus Robert Craig, University of Colorado Boulder
In their article, "Discursive Reflexivity in the Ethnography of Communication," Carbaugh et al. (2011) distinguished five types of reflexive ethnographic practice. This lecture will explore the possibility of a sixth type: cultivating communicative practices through the use of Grounded Practical Theory (GPT) methodology. A GPT interpretation of cultural practices produces an idealized reconstruction of problems, techniques and normative principles designed to inform critical awareness and deliberative choice in practical conduct. The philosophy of culture that underlies GPT is one of pragmatist pluralism rather than strict cultural relativism. After introducing GPT as a potential mode of discursive reflexivity in the ethnography of communication, we reflect on problems that may confront this approach, especially the paradox of pluralism as it manifests in dilemmas of normativity, power, and cognitive diversity.
Interdisciplinary Moves: Language Ideology and Ethnography of Communication, Wednesday 12 June, 09.00-12.00
Negotiating language ideologies and identities in interactions in multilingual contexts: Transnational students in a Hong Kong university Matthew Sung
Internationalisation is an irrevocable trend in higher education worldwide. Students from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds study in international universities alongside local students, adding linguistic and cultural diversity to international universities. With such a diversified student body, multilingualism is the norm in international universities, and the use of English as a lingua franca (ELF) is increasingly commonplace for intercultural communication (Jenkins 2014; Seidlhofer 2011). This paper will report on findings of an ethnographic project on transnational students’ language and communication experiences in a multilingual university setting in Hong Kong, with particular attention to their language ideologies and identity construction in interactions. Based on data collected from ethnographic fieldwork in a Hong Kong university, including naturally-occurring spoken interactions involving transnational students and local students on the university campus, in-depth interviews with a group of transnational students, and the researcher’s field notes, the study found that transnational students held different language ideologies regarding the roles of English and the local language, multilingualism on campus, and hierarchization of different varieties of English, and that these ideologies were oriented to both explicitly and implicitly in their everyday interactions. It was also found that their different language ideologies impact on their language practices, especially their willingness to speak the local language and to engage in translanguaging practices. Analysis also found that transnational students’ identities appear to be shaped by their access to participation in different social networks in the university, and that their participation could be contingent upon whether they possess the linguistic capital necessary to be granted entry to different social networks. While the transnational students were welcomed and recognized as valued participants in communities where ELF was the norm, their participation was severely constrained in communities where the use of the local language, Cantonese, was imposed as the norm by the local students. The findings also show that the use of ELF could be an empowering and enriching experience for transnational students in order to seek legitimacy and develop desirable identities in various communities in the university. It is hoped that this paper will illustrate transnational students’ diverse language and communication experiences in the university, and will offer some insights into the complexity surrounding the role of language practices and ideologies in transnational students’ identity construction.
Pan Arab Satellite Television: Between the Language Ideology and Factual Polyglossia Enesh Akhmatshina
The present work is focused on the study of impact of pan-Arab satellite TV on the linguistic situation in Arab counties, where the phenomenon of polyglossia reflects the ideological and factual transformation of the ethnically and culturally heterogeneous societies in Middle Eastern and North African countries. The main focus is on the contribution Pan Arab Satellite Television (PAST) is making to the preservation and creation of linguistic norms and strengthening of inter-dialectal communication (IDC). Objects of the study were the audiovisual content of MBC Group and Al-Jazeera Media Network, two major media corporations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
The term “the Arabic language” remains controversial. In Arabic diglossia [Ferguson], we see a clear functional difference between the use of everyday language (dialect) referred to as the “low language” and Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) termed the “high language”. The latter is used only in limited communication contexts. Since some dialects can deviate from MSA practically in all linguistic parameters (e.g., in Morocco), some scholars insist on treating MSA and the dialect as two separate linguistic systems. Others, on the other hand, consider only MSA to be Arabic, equating dialects to a distorted version of MSA. Still others believe that the Arabic language is a combination of MSA and a dialect. In the modern Arab world, various dialects and languages of other ethnic groups (e.g. Hebrew) and European languages are widely used along with the Arabic language; therefore, it is fair to say that we are dealing with the phenomenon of polyglossy [Kaplan, Baldauf].
In this study, we use the term “the Arabic language” to mean MSA, which flourished at the beginning of the 19th century and which is associated with the national liberation movement in the Arab world against Ottoman Empire and later with the European occupation, as well as with the activities of Arab thinkers, intellectuals, and writers who called for the revival of the Arab world and the Arab selfawareness.
A sociolinguistic analysis of the PAST’s entertainment content demonstrates its tendency to increase IDC. The format of the television product implies certain language strategies. For example, entertainment talk shows on PAST always include hosts and guests from various Arab states to attract a larger audience and in a certain communicative situation they have to search for a common language and the choice is not in favor of MSA, because live broadcasting and entertainment require maximum realism and naturalness in speech behavior. Often, we observed that communicants from related linguistic - geographical areas understood each other "without switching" to the language / dialect of the interlocutor. And in this case, PAST’s content contributes to the development of both IDC and a kind of inter-Arabic spoken language different from the general Arab MSA.
On the other hand the language policy of the Al-Jazeera news channel, a pioneer in the Pan-Arab television news broadcasting, was originally designed in the spirit of pan-Arabism. Promoting MSA was seen as one of the channel’s main objectives. The scale of the broadcast network, the quality of access, striving for world standards of journalism, the use of global clichés and the multiple replication of MSA testify to the fact that PAST promotes unification of language standards in news genres.
Session 1a, Wednesday 12 June,13.00-14.30
Japan-Worshiping as Praxis: Media Ethnography of Taiwan ACG Lovers’ Daily Communication Hsin-I Sydney Yueh
Session 1a, Wednesday 12 June, 13.00-13.30
Previous research reveals Taiwanese people’s mixed feelings about the term hari (Japan-worshiping). While some Taiwanese do not favor Japanese cultural products due to their negative views of Japan as a colonizer in the past, the majority of youth in Taiwan holds a positive attitude toward Japan. However, an interesting contradiction is found in the accounts of the young interviewees in Taiwan: even though most of them recognize that they consume Japanese products and prefer watching Japanese TV shows, they resist to be labeled as hari. In other words, they are able to define what the action of hari entails and identify those who enact such cultural practices, but they keep a distance from the term as if it were a negative identity marker.
This paper aims to address the discrepancy and explore the meanings of the cultural term hari in Taiwan’s ACG community. Data collection is based on two popular online sites in Taiwan: U-ACG and Bahamut. Participants’ public posts and comments are recorded and analyzed. Following the steps of cultural discourse analysis (CuDA), this research conducts media ethnography and analyzes fieldwork data to understand how the term, practices, and participants in the specific community generate discursive meanings and competing discourses. I argue that Japan-worshiping has been internalized to the participants’ everyday practices and as part of their identity. The lack of a new term to expand the conception of the hari action causes the contradictory accounts. This research also joins with the other papers in this panel to address the methodological issues in comparing media ethnography and ethnography of communication.
Making Sense of WeChat Vernacular Affordances in Border Crossing Bei Ju
Session 1a, Wednesday 12 June, 13.30-14.00
ICTs and globalization have integrated the digital space into the networked pattern of place fluidity and continuality. Within the framework of migration as a process, acculturation has always been the challenge for these newcomers to adapt into a new environment. In theory, mass-media based cross-cultural adaption theories seemingly fail to elucidate the adaption via digitalized platform. Practically, most studies have explored the migrant workers and their acculturation in the patterns of international and internal migration. However, this dichotomy does not fully reflect the patterns of migration. Mainland Chinese labor migrants in Macau are a special case. Though their migration is closely tied up with crossing the border, mainland workers’ migration has occurred within one country (China) since 1999 when Macau was successfully handed over to China. When they cross the Zhuhai-Macau border, dual migrants are exposed to a more diversified social media environment.
This paper, taking the approach of social media ethnography, explores the vernacular affordances of WeChat (a social networking site designed for mobile phones) in the cross-border life of mainland Chinese migrant workers. In this study, 24 low-skilled Chinese dual migrants took part in in-depth interviews and group discussions to illustrate their use of social media. Meanwhile, how participants interact with and within WeChat was observed and recorded to exemplify the impacts of social media on adaption. The findings have revealed that WeChat can function as a digital mediated space providing these migrants with forms of communal solidarity, social interactions, access to information and in some cases economic benefits in their often precarious existence.
Senior-younger address: Cultural practice and socializing among Chinese university students Chuyue Ou
Session 1a, Wednesday 12 June, 14.00-14.30
As a part of two-year ethnography, this study combines social media ethnography with Ethnography of Communication, unpacking the senior-younger address practiced among Mainland Chinese students in Macao online and offline. The senior-younger address is rooted in Confucianism and focus on establishing the hierarchy between older and younger relationship to maintain social order and harmony. Therefore, the address of “xuezhang and xuejie” functions as a system of hierarchy, socialization and relation in Chinese campus culture. The hierarchy is related with showing respect, while the socialization involves with caring responsibility and building social network. However, as the relationship becoming closer, the address between seniors and youngers would change to be more personal address and even be more peer-like.
These years, my intercultural experiences keep me rethinking and reflecting the cultural difference between my home culture, that’s China, and American culture. In a nearly two-year ethnography, I have studied a group of Mainland Chinese students’ social life in Macao, exploring both their online and offline interactions. One thing has aroused my interest, which is the address between senior students and younger students. It was what I took for granted in my daily life, but has started to realize the hidden culture through comparing different cultural contexts (Hall, 1989). The relationship between the older and the younger is one of the five basic relationships in Confucian discourse. Those in the superior position or role have the authority over others, and gain respect and obedience from others (Walker & Truong, 2015). In other words, it is a virtue of having the older to take precedence over the younger, as Confucianism emphasizes the importance of hierarchy in maintaining social stability, social order and social harmony (Tu, 1998). Deeply rooted in the Confucian notions, Chinese students are not only showing the respect to their teachers, but also respect their seniors on campus. The address of senior-younger students, therefore, is the embodiment of this culture. As Sandel (2002)’s study demonstrated, the address is a meaning system through which the speaker could transform a cultural system.
However, few scholars concerned about this phenomenon. Similarly influenced by Confucianism, Lee (2012) pionted out the power distance and hierachy between university students in South Korean. His examples are aslo existing in Chinese university culture, such as the address, the respect and the obedience practiced in senior-younger students. On China’s campus, the seniors have a certain power in a variety of campus life and affairs, playing a leader role as well as a caring role for these youngers. As a contrast, the younger ones, especially the freshmen, demonstrate their respect to the seniors in their daily life. They address the seniors as “xuezhang”/“xuejie” (elder brother in academic/elder sister in academic), and are obedient to these elder sisters and brothers in school club activities. The seniors, instead, could address the youngers as “xuedi”/ “xuemei” (younger brother in academic/younger sister in academic), containing a social role of caring. Sandel (2002)’s study considered the address as a kind of language socialization, in which indicates interpersonal relationships and reflects in daily cultural practice. Language socialization is bidirectional (Ochs & Schieffelin, 2017). It is the speaking way to engage novice in a speech community and displaying “appropriate forms of sociality and competence” (Ochs & Schieffelin, 2017, p.1). Therefore, the address of “xuezhang and xuejie” functions as a system of hierarchy, socialization and relation in Chinese campus culture, internalizing into university students’ daily life.
This study is not just a study of Ethnography of Communication. Instead, it combines the methods used by media ethnography, to explore the possibility of using the social media as a second “fieldwork environment” to conduct Ethnography of Communication (Postill & Pink, 2012). In other words, social media should be concerned about its social and experiential characteristics and be applied into doing research (Postill & Pink, 2012). Certainty, doing social media ethnography is by no means of limited in social media contents and practices; rather, it should be a social media-related ethnography, interweaving with offline activities (Postill & Pink, 2012). As such, the aims of this study have three aspects: 1). to understand the cultural meaning behind the senior-younger address; 2). to understand how university students practice and socialize with the senior-younger address; 3). to explore the application of both online and offline data.
Session 1b, Wednesday, 12 June 15.00-16.30
Toasting to Deities and Hungry Ghosts: A Cultural Discourse Analysis of Social Drinking in Bhutan Dorji Wangchuk
Session 1b, Wednesday, 12 June 15.00-15.30
This article examines the phenomenon of social drinking in Bhutan through the lens of communication scholarship. Notwithstanding its ill-effects, this paper highlights, first, drinking as embedded deeply in, and as one of the manifestations of, the country’s rich socio-cultural traditions. Then, drawing from Durkheim's perspective on rituals as an act producing collective effervescences - to frame the study, social drinking can be viewed as a sequenced communication event with cultural hubs and meanings - of membership, social identity, personhood and community.
Data for this study comes from participatory observations of informal drinking sessions, religious ceremonies, family gatherings and State functions and used cultural discourse analysis as the methodological approach. Lastly, the ritual conveys the message of acceptance of, and respects for, non-human denizens such as wandering spirits, local deities and hungry ghosts that are believed to co-habit our space. This explains the Bhutanese’s respect for environment and the tough conservation laws and policies in the country.
Saying “Good Ni:ight” in Bhutan: Community Constructed Messages on WeChat Todd L. Sandel
Session 1b, Wednesday, 12 June 15.30-16.00
Bhutan is a small, landlocked country of approximately 750,000 people, who live in valleys separated by the high mountain ranges of the Himalayas (Phuntsho, 2015). Until recently, communication was predominantly face-to-face, as people lived in small villages where bonds and relationships were deep. The structure of communities has changed, however, in recent years: many people have moved from small villages to cities and urban regions both within and outside of Bhutan. Yet people have found ways to maintain daily contact, facilitated by the use of mobile phones and Bhutan’s most popular social media platform, WeChat. We have observed that in group chats people may close the day by sending each other ‘good night’ wishes, an expression that did not formerly exist in traditional, spoken Bhutanese languages. From an analysis of messages shared on WeChat, we unpack the form and structure of closings and ‘good night’ messages, and explain how these closing messages diverge from those analyzed by Schegloff and Sacks (1973). Data include textual forms, audio messages, and images shared on the platform.
Session 2, Wednesday 12 June, 13.00-14.30
Culture in Theory vs. Practice: Small Claims Training and the Actual Speech Event Karen Tracy & Robert T. Craig
Session 2, Wednesday 12 June, 13.00-13.30
A small claims hearing is a speech event in which the communication is facilitated and constrained by institutionally specific material conditions (of time and place, rules and procedures, etc.) such that certain matters of concern (disputes, complaints, etc.) are discursively constituted and formally resolved. Courts in many countries have websites seeking to inform their citizens about how to proceed. These websites, comprised of written texts of a variety of types, and sometimes videos, let potential litigants know what kinds of disputes will count as legitimate, how to navigate bringing a legitimate dispute to the court, and the kind of communicative exchange which parties should be prepared to participate in if they move forward. Of course, people may not access these websites to prepare or, if they do, they may not attend carefully what the website advocates. The upshot of this is it is not at all clear that what people are instructed to do is what they actually do in small claims court. This uncertainty calls for research comparing the speech event prescribed by small claims court websites with the speech event enacted through the actual practice. Our central data come from a single United States court in Colorado. Materials include the court’s website; tapes and transcripts of 20 trials in this court run by six judges; and observations by the first author of more than 100 additional trials. We describe the speech event, making use of Hymes’ (1974) SPEAKING tool, constructed by the various website materials to the speech event actually created by judges and litigants. We particularly focus on the act sequence, the emotional key and the norms presented in the materials or enacted in the practice, giving particular attention to judges’ metadiscourse moves—their instructing, channeling, and criticizing of litigants’ courtroom communication—as these segments of talk are especially revealing of speech event differences. In the final section of our paper, we will consider what this analysis of one court’s small claims website and actual practices suggest about the communicative practice of small claims in other countries, focusing our comparison on the European Union and Hong Kong.
Teaching peace in Medellín: A public school after the peace accord Kristine Muñoz
Session 2, Wednesday 12 June, 13.30-14.00
A historic peace accord was signed in Havana between the Santos government of Colombia and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) in September, 2016. The impact of that fragile agreement is felt on every level of social, communal, and economic life, particularly in communities with close ties to former (and perhaps future) guerrillas. This paper is part of an ongoing ethnographic study of a pre-K-11 school in a working-class neighborhood in Medellín. In the evening session, which offers classes to people who have been unable to complete their education for whatever reason, are reinsertados, men and women who have returned from both the FARC and paramilitary forces to rejoin community life. In the daytime sessions, divided between grades 6-11 in the morning and K-5 in the afternoon, are children who were abandoned by parents during the conflict and sometimes, return during the school year to claim them. These children, who may have lived most of their lives with friends, relatives or foster parents who are strangers to their biological parents, present challenges for the school's social work infrastructure when desmovilizados (former guerrillas) return to claim them.
This paper focuses primarily on classes taught within a federally-mandated curriculum taught at all age levels, La Cátedra de la Paz, “The peace course.” This pedagogical initiative presents the Colombian government's vision for its children's orientation to ethics, morality, and conflict resolution, even as public outrage over corruption colors discourse among older students and teachers. These fieldwork results are grounded in current theories that stress pragmatic peacebuilding, which focuses on finding context-sensitive, localized peace (cf. Hughes, Öjendal, & Schierenbeck, 2015; Miller & Rudnick, 2010).
Benefits of Ethnography of Communication for Mental Health Professionals Sally O. Hastings
Session 2, Wednesday 12 June, 14.00-14.30
The loss of a child is widely understood by those who study bereavement to be one of the most intense and painful kinds of loss (Cacciatore, Lecasse, & Lietz, 2014), which prompts many bereaved parents to seek help from mental health professionals. Janzen, Cadell, and Westhus (2004) interviewed bereaved parents regarding their experience with mental health treatment following the loss of their child and all agreed that “better-informed professionals will be more helpful to others whose children may die in the future” (p. 161). Despite the need for effective mental health provision following a child’s death, practitioners acknowledge the paucity of information available about optimal treatment methods (Endo, Yonemoto, & Yamada, 2015). Some have begun to recognize that bereaved parents can and should play a role in helping other bereaved parents and medical professionals (Snaman et al., 2017).
Hymes (1972) encouraged the study of speech communities that the shared “rules of conduct and interpretation of speech” (p. 54). Since Hymes introduced this notion, others have built upon this “axiom of particularity” whereby researchers could enhance understandings of distinct cultural codes (Philipsen, 1989). Carbaugh (2005, 2007) urged scholars to engage in intensive examinations of cultural discourse practices in order to unravel cultural premises and local meanings. Consistent throughout each extension of Hymes’ work is an interest in studying the practices of a speech community to promote better understanding and communication across speech communities.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1969) is best known for introducing the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) which have since become popularized throughout American discourse. The argument presented herein is not intended to disparage Dr. Kübler-Ross’s work, but to highlight the ways in which her work has been misused. Kübler-Ross studied people who were dying, and the five stages of grief addressed the experiences people had regarding their own pending death. The context of her research has been forgotten in favor of general conclusions regarding five universal stages of grief. Kübler-Ross never argued that these stages were universal, yet people commonly treat them as such.
Bereaved parents have been discussed as a community defined by experience (Grinyer, 2012), as “communities of feeling” (Riches & Dawson, 1996), however the exploration into bereaved parents as a speech community sharing certain linguistic resources has been much more recent (Hastings & Milburn, forthcoming). I maintain that viewing bereaved parents as a speech community holds potential insights that could inform mental health professionals. In addition to recognizing bereaved parents as a speech community, it is also vital to recognize the diversity within that community. My current research project explores this diversity.
I have completed interviews with fifty-one bereaved parents who lost a child under stigmatizing circumstances. The stigmas are due to blame placed on the child for her or his own death (e.g., drug overdose, suicide), instances where the parent is blamed for the child’s death (e.g., drowning, accidentally leaving the child in a car), and instances involving social taboos (e.g., rape, necrophilia). The experiences of these parents differ from those of other bereaved parents because of real or perceived judgment and the receipt of less social support (Umphrey, Sherblom & Pocknell, 2016). This paper/presentation explores ways that parents bereaved under stigmatizing circumstances struggle with communication in ways that the non-stigmatized members of their community do not. It is argued that this is valuable information for mental health care professionals to know in order to promote better treatment.
Session 3, Wednesday 12 June, 15.00-16.00
“We cannot deny that this is a race issue”: Blending the ethnography of communication and critical communication pedagogy to analyze a social drama on race Deanna L. Fassett & Tabitha Hart
Session 3, Wednesday 12 June, 15.00-15.30
In April 2018, two black men were arrested while waiting for a friend at a Starbucks store in Philadelphia, PA. The incident, which was caught on video, went viral, sparking widespread public outrage. Starbucks’ response was contrite, with the company’s CEO acknowledging regretfully how “reprehensible” the arrests were. One month later, Starbucks took the unprecedented step of closing all of its shops across the United States in order to provide implicit bias/diversity training to all of its employees (Siegel and Horton, 2018).
This incident, which can be understood as a social drama revolving around race (Turner, 1982; cf. Edgerly 2011, Philipsen 2000), provokes questions relevant to ethnographers of communication who are interested in the nexus of language and social interaction, social justice, and public pedagogy. For example, (how) did Starbucks’ public communication about the arrests and the company’s subsequent response (the training sessions) affirm and/or constitute understandings of “implicit bias?” (How) did customers take up strategic rhetorics (or communicative codes) of whiteness (Nakayama and Krizek, 1995) in their public responses to Starbucks? (How) did Starbucks’ online communication explicitly violate local codes governing talk about race? And finally, (how) could Starbucks’ response be considered effective public pedagogy (Giroux, 2011, 2004)?
To explore these questions, we utilize a theoretical/methodological framework blending EC and critical communication pedagogy. While these two approaches are typically viewed as oppositional, recent scholarly collaborations suggest potential for using them in complementary ways (Castañeda de Rossmann, L., Edgerly, L., Fassett, D. L., Hart, T., Ho, E. Y., Milburn, T., & Nainby, K.). Here, we apply this framework to a dataset comprising approximately 2,000 posts from Starbucks’ Facebook page. These posts, collected in May, 2018 immediately after the Starbucks diversity training took place, reflect in-the-moment conversations between Starbucks and the public at large on the company’s response, the diversity training, and the issue of race as a focus of public conversation. Our analysis adds to a small but important body of EC work informed by and dedicated to issues of social justice.
“Don’t say that word out loud”: Testing the boundaries of communicative competence, discourse-centered pedagogy, and a ‘slur-once-removed’ Michaela Winchatz, Evelyn Ho, Saila Poutiainen & Leah Sprain
Session 3, Wednesday 12 June, 15.30-16.00
This study in-progress relies on data collected during a three-day intensive seminar on cultural communication that took place in Finland from May 30 to June 1, 2018. In this seminar four professors who specialize in ethnography of communication (three US-American and one Finnish) were the instructors to a class of graduate students from various disciplines. The paper focuses on a segment of the third seminar day during which one instructor introduced the social drama framework (Turner, 1980; Philipsen, 1992) by showing video data (accompanied by transcripts) of comedian Michael Richards, who - while performing a stand-up routine at a comedy club in Los Angeles - launched into what many have deemed a ‘racist rant’. Using Agar’s (1991) notion of rich points and Bax’s (2018) concept of the “slur-once-removed”, the authors explore how a pivotal metadiscursive moment tested the boundaries of participants' communicative competence (Hymes, 1971) within an intercultural classroom. Implications for ethnography of communication methodology and discourse-centered pedagogy are discussed.
Interdisciplinary Moves: Media Ethnography and Ethnography of Communication, Thursday 13 June, 10.00-12.00
Museum ethnographies of communication: The media-audience-discourse nexus Chaim Noy
This paper brings together research sensitivities and sensibilities from the fields of media ethnography and ethnography of communication (à la Gumperz & Hymes, 1964, and its newer iterations and reverberations. See ; Katriel, 2015; Noy, 2017), as these are pursed in the context of museal communication and mediation environments. The paper moves back and forth between addressing the communicative affordances of museum media, through which discourse is generated and circulated onsite (and increasingly online as well), and the analysis of that (user-generated) discourse.
At the background of this paper is a shift that museums have been undergoing during the past two decades, as they have been transitioning from modern, collection-based institutions, to post-modern audience-centered institutions. The current phase is evinced in a turn towards participation (the ‘participatory turn’ that media scholars have been studying intently(Carpentier, Schrøder, & Hallett, 2013; Hutchby, 2014; Thornborrow, 2015)). Museums pursue the participatory turn through presenting various interactive media to their audiences, which encourage the production of discourse that is, then, publicly displayed in situ. This turn to participation stresses interaction (it embodies a shift in museum’s locus of authenticity, which used to rest in the artifacts and objects, and now rests in interactions), where the “museum’s newly perceived function [is that] of giving voice to the individual fate and transforming bystanders and later generations into ‘secondary witnesses’” (Andermann & Arnold-de Simine, 2012, p. 7). This stress on interaction, and on the liberal-economic ideologies of ‘giving voice’, creates rich and fertile scenes for ethnographers of media and communication. In the museums I have studied, interactive media devices, that range from the more traditional and analogue visitor/comment books, to newer touchpads, digital keyboards, and hybrid (digital-cum-analogue) participatory interfaces.
In the paper, I report on and discuss two lengthy ethnographic studies, which I did in two Jewish history and heritage museums in the United States. These ethnographies focus on the onsite institutional interaction between audiences and museums, as these are materialized through different media platforms (which possess different communicative affordances). The issues I confront are describing and conceptualizing the communicative scenes that these museums make available, their underlying media ideologies (and to some degree also language ideologies), the roles they ascribe to their visitors, and if and how the latter take on themselves these roles. Additionally, as museumgoers produce and curate texts onsite, my ethnographic studies also look at what kind of genres different affordances – and consequently museumgoers’ interactional practice – enable.
Workshop: Digital humanities: A broader reach for ethnography Kristine Muñoz
Many colleges and universities both within the US and internationally have increased their expectations for faculty to disseminate their research beyond scholarly audiences and their students. One way to do so that makes particularly good use of ethnographic fieldwork is a wide spectrum enterprise known as digital humanities. With some adjustments to the ways we describe the work we have honed for generations and models drawn from familiar fieldwork-based scholarship, ethnographers can compete for generous funding, become more visible within and beyond their institutions, and design a broad range of new course assignments that excite our students’ interests. This workshop is intended to introduce some connections between digital humanities projects and traditional ethnography, both research and teaching focused. The intended audiences are aspiring and practicing ethnographers interested in expanding their repertoires in the field and in the classroom.
Session 4, Thursday 13 June, 13.00-14.30
Speech Codes and Persuasion in an American Presidential Debate Menno H. Reijven
Session 4, Thursday 13 June, 13.00-13.30
Within the ethnography of communication (EoC), a central proposition within speech codes theory (Philipsen, 1997) is that speech codes are deployed strategically in the conduct of communication. They carry persuasive force towards the audience of a message. As Philipsen (1986) has shown analyzing a speech by then-mayor of Chicago, the speech code used by the recipient strongly affects the speech’s persuasiveness. The addressed audience, decoding the speech through the code of honor, believed the speech to be a great one. Outsiders, using the code of dignity to interpret the speech, believed it was just rambling. In this paper, I show that the first Presidential Debate in the 2016 American Presidential election can be characterized based on the same contrasting speech codes: Donald Trump uses the code of honor, whereas Hillary Clinton uses the code of dignity. This may explain the highly different persuasive effects of each of their performances on various segments of American society.
To better understand speech codes as a rhetorical move, we may approach their use as a “strategic maneuver”: a communicative act designed to be persuasive, while at least seemingly reasonable (Van Eemeren, 2010). This concept enables the analysis of the use of speech codes and their persuasive dimension in detail, since a strategic maneuver is analytically broken into three separated but interrelated aspects: (1) the topics which are discussed, (2) the framing of the discourse and (3) the use of various stylistic devices. When looking at speech codes from a rhetorical perspective, the effective use of a speech code should simultaneously affect the discourse with regards to each of these three aspects. Thus, EoC can benefit from work in argumentation theory to better understand the effects of speech codes on social interaction, given that speech codes carry rhetorical force.
Looking at their first turns in the debate, regarding the topics raised, Clinton talks about “equality”, “fairness” and “investing” in good jobs given to people on their merits. In contrast, Trump talks about the disgrace that the “government” is not “fighting” to get jobs back from other countries. Second, they frame their turn at talk differently: Clinton suggests a world of collective decision-making about “what kind of country we want”. She is also presuming “fairness” to be a common-sense value. In contrast, Trump presents a world where we have to “fight” and “win” since other countries will otherwise take advantage of us. It is about strength and courage. Lastly, Clinton emphasizes words like “fair” and “together” and labels the current unequal economy as unfair. Trump suggests that “fighting” is something good, while otherwise jobs will “flee” the country.
Thus, as I show by going through the whole debate, each candidate used a different speech code: Trump of honor, Clinton of dignity. On top of the contribution to the understanding of this political discourse, I also illustrate how the use of strategic maneuvering has given a finer granularity to the rhetorical aspects of the speech code, showing the strength of complementing EoC with finer rhetorical tools.
The Grass Will Not Lie to You: The Contribution of Ethnography of Communication to Socio-Ecological Modeling of the Nebraska Sandhills James L. Leighter, Mary Ann Vinton & John O'Keefe
Session 4, Thursday 13 June, 13.30-14.00
Since the summer of 2017, we have been investigating the interrelated humanistic, ecological, and theological features of the Nebraska Sandhills, the largest area of stabilized sand dunes in the western hemisphere. Ethnography of communication (EC) is a key component of the research because it gives texture and depth to ecological inquiry. Such studies are critical for understanding mutual influence people exert on the environment and the environment exerts on people.
Preliminary study has been productive for identifying the features of a socio-ecological system in the Sandhills. (see https://bit.ly/2Rl4VuW). We are continuing fieldwork to refine description of these features, locate additional features, and develop a robust socio-ecological model.
The present paper will demonstrate the value of EC work regarding two dimensions of the interdisciplinary study. First, we illustrate how cultural meanings are animated in social interaction with and among the primary ecosystem elements of the region: sand, grass, water, and grazers. The combination of topography and soil composition influenced settlement patterns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, land transition and ownership, ranching practice, and understandings of human and ecological interaction as is evidenced in contemporary discourse. Steep dune tops characterized by thinner vegetation and higher susceptibility to drought and dune movement, and sub-irrigated “wet” meadows characterized by heavy vegetation, pooling water, and lake formation deeply impact management of cattle operations and, in turn, grazing and haying practices influence the ecosystem. This interdependence between land and people is articulated, in part, as a communicative relationship in phrases such as “(the grass) will not lie to you,” “it’s telling you to move on.”
Second, we examine a primary feature of a socio-ecological model for the Sandhills: The pressure to reduce risk in ranching operation, to “sway it the way you want it to go.” This feature is elaborated through a description and interpretation of cultural premises and practices which function to limit the likelihood that ranchers could “lose their places” in the face of unpredictability of economic markets and climate conditions. Description and interpretation of local discourse that lays bare this persistent force that motivates actions, shapes identities, and filters meanings in and of the Sandhills.
We have observed a consistent ability of the Sandhill landscape to elicit strong emotions in both visitors and residents; it seems impossible to not be moved by the Sandhills. A unique feature of this interdisciplinary research is the simultaneous production of documentary shorts, still photography, and a feature-length film, the subject of which seeks to document the deep spiritual connection(s) for not only those who live and work in the Sandhills, but also those who encounter the Sandhills infrequently. This dimension of the project has provided additional intellectual perspective and, more pragmatically, a large body of visual materials with which to examine, record, and report. The presentation will be supplemented with these representations and include brief commentary on the productive capacity of interdisciplinary research for addressing complex ecological concerns.
While environmental interventions are not the subject of the study, we take for granted existing and future challenges wrought by climate change regarding land use, land ownership, water resources, food production, and energy production. The cultural interpretations, ecological descriptions, and theological/visual representation, provide a “deep map” of place that will be a useful resource for adaptation and resilience.
Interdisciplinary understandings of the cultural discourse of economic emigration in Latvia Liene Ločmele
Session 4, Thursday 13 June, 14.00-14.30
This paper introduces the challenges that the EC researcher might face when engaging with and borrowing from the respective fields of Labor, Migration, and/or Nationalism studies. While being rather interdisciplinary endeavors themselves, the aforementioned fields of study often go hand in hand with the corresponding policy recommendations (e.g. Hazans, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015a, 2015b). As such, the emphasis on quantitative data and generalizability are preferred qualities and, as such, they are rooted in the economically motivated understandings of the workforce. While useful for policy development, this orientation provides only partial understanding of the phenomenon. Nevertheless, the dominance of this kind of scholarly interest signals about the urgency of the studied issue, and, as such, is helpful for gaining an insight into general context where the studied cultural discourse occurs. However, aforementioned approach stems from the neo-liberal approach to human resources, thus, often dismissing the lived human experiences that reaches far beyond expressed economic rationale to emigrate, and/or to return; motivation to maintain national identity and cultural practices while abroad, etc. When attempting to explore the perspective of the discourse participants, some of the productive interdisciplinary links I am able to identify are rooted in migration researches carried out by scholars from the fields of Cultural Geography, Social Anthropology, and Sociology (e.g. Dzenovska, 2012, 2013; Ķešāne, 2011; Lulle, 2007, 2012). On the broader scale, while interpreting and comparing the communicatively constructed meanings in relation to economic emigrants’ national and professional domains, I borrow from philosophers and sociologists of work (e.g. Ciulla, 2000; Weber 1920/2002; Thompson & Hilde, 2000). In doing so, I also see these domains as contextualized in Post-soviet space, which inform meanings surrounding the concepts of nation and identity (e.g. Verdery, 1996a, 1996b; Dzenovska, 2013; Ījabs, 2014; Kaprāns, 2015).
Session 5, Thursday 13 June, 13.00-14.30
Making Soup, Talking Culture: An Ethnography of Communication Among Intergenerational Chinese Americans Eileen Fung, Genevieve Leung & Evelyn Y. Ho
Session 5, Thursday 13 June, 13.00-13.30
Chinese Americans are known to use soups and other everyday foods for overall well-being and health (Jiang & Quave, 2013; Koo, 1984; Liu et al., 2018). Soups play an important role especially among Chinese people, and numerous - even English - cookbooks have been printed describing the cultural importance of these recipes and act of soup making. In addition, Asian and Asian American scholars have always been interested in the cultural meanings of foods, recipes and cooking (Xu, 2008; Nor et al., 2012; Ku, Manalansan, & Mannur, 2013). However, as Lum and de Ferrière le Vayer (2016) and Leeds-Hurwitz (2016) acknowledge, until recently, foodways have largely been ignored in Communication Studies. Nonetheless, anyone who has spent time in the kitchen with family members has experienced the processes of food and food-making as tangible ways of constructing intergenerational cultural identity.
We bring together these interests as three Chinese American interdisciplinary scholars from the fields of English, Sociolinguistics, and Communication Studies to examine the actual conversations and valued ways of speaking (Philipsen, 1992) that family members have as they “pass along” this knowledge. Centering our work within an EOC framework, we will also draw from narrative, cultural and Asian American studies.
This research investigates the following questions relating to (in)tangible cultural heritage (Lum, 2014) and how Chinese Americans communicate this through teaching soup making:
- How do Chinese Americans do/communicate intergenerational sharing around soup-making?
- In what ways is soup-making/soup-talk an important cultural practice/artifact that functions and is affected by both transnational and intergenerational communication?
- What languages and code-switches do Chinese Americans deploy as they make soup?
- How these patterns of cooking practices/instructive storytellings around soup help to organize, build up, and construct meaning that complicate the way we understand ethnicity, race, and gender?
Data come from audio and video recordings of twenty Chinese American families cooking soup together in dyads or triads speaking in English and varieties of Chinese. One person is the soup-maker (the person who knows the recipe) and the other(s) is the soup-learner (the person learning how to cook soup). We are in the process of completing our data collection.
Climate discourses in energy system transformation: A cultural discourse analysis of climate change language Leah Sprain
Session 5, Thursday 13 June, 13.30-14.00
Transdisciplinary scholarship on climate change has increasingly recognized the role of language and discourse in efforts to catalyze action to address the crises of climate change. Much of this research focuses on how language may lock humans into certain ways of defining, thinking, or interpreting climate change and how different frames might unlock new modes of action. Yet climate change itself has been conceptualized as a “series of complex and constantly evolving cultural discourses,” and we need to understand the matrix of power relationships, social meanings, and cultural discourses that Climate Change reveals and spawns in order to rethink political, social, and economic action (Nerlick, Koteyko, & Brown, 2010). This paper is interested in how different conceptions of cultural discourse can be leveraged to contribute to the transdisciplinary work of addressing climate change. To do so, it uses cultural discourse analysis (Carbaugh, 2007) to analyze “climate” talk within city council meetings. Cultural discourse analysis can highlight how talk about climate change talk includes explicit and implicit meanings that makes it possible to hear political positions, religion, and climate skepticism (Carbaugh & Cerulli, in press).
This analysis draws on a corpus of over 100 meetings and 2500 pages of transcription of public meetings on Boulder’s Energy Future from 2010-2017. The initiative to change the local energy system stemmed from the recognition that it would be impossible to meet climate change goals (e.g., the Kyoto Protocol targets) without transitioning the local energy system away from fossil fuels. The analysis starts by looking at references to “climate,” “climate change,” and “climate action” across this corpus, and these formulations are compared to less frequent forms of climate talk (e.g., “climate neutrality,” “climate smart loans,” “climate peril,” “climate change skeptics”). Cultural discourse analysis is used to explicate the meanings of dwelling, action, and identity within climate talk, with particular focus on “climate action” as a form of institutional discourse connected to local government and planning. This situated analysis is then used to discuss how different formulations of cultural discourse can contribute to the transdisciplinary research on this issue that is simultaneously global and local, political and economic, public and private.
“Evaluator in Chief”: The interactional making of Trump as the Boss Brion van Over
Session 5, Thursday 13 June, 14.00-14.30
This work focuses on the interaction between Trump and his guests at the 2017 Black History Month Listening Session during a communication event described by Trump as “a little breakfast,” though the political stakes of the event are undoubtedly high, as a President repeatedly accused of racist and xenophobic remarks leads a meeting of Black American’s in the public celebration of the lives and accomplishments of some of Americas greatest Black historical figures. The analysis employs the theoretical and methodological framework of the Ethnography of Communication (Hymes, 1974), identifying a communication event constituted by a progression of rounds of “introductions”, as well as his prepared, and seemingly spontaneous remarks ahead of the these rounds. The event is analyzed, following Carbaugh (2007), with special attention to messages about personhood, relations, and communication that are presumed and enacted in the event, as well as its sequential organization, and the temporary interactional positions (Bucholtz & Hall, 2005) inhabited by participants throughout. The analysis draws attention to a cultivated set of norms for speaking that emerge over the course of the event and suggest that Trump’s talk during his opening remarks, and throughout the “introductions,” functions to establish a patterned form of participation that routinely places Trump in the position of “evaluator” and his guests as “evaluatee,” akin to the emergent roles of “problematizer/problematizee” identified by Ochs and Taylor (1995) in the “father knows best dynamic”. This positioning in turn informs the social work done in each “introduction” as guests shape their verbal participation into the evidentiary structure of Trump’s implicit assessment criteria, and the larger norms for verbal participation, as well as presumed and enacted messages about personhood (what is a right person?), relations (what rights/obligations do we have? ), and communication (what is the proper role of communication between relations such as these?). This dynamic is conceptualized here, following Ochs and Taylor (1995), as the “what have you done for me lately” dynamic, which functions to elicit declarations of commitment and loyalty in the discursive co-construction of Trump’s authority accomplished by Trump and guests over the course of the meeting. As a result, this analysis identifies one means by which power is manufactured and consolidated at the level of cultural discursive practice.
Session 6, Thursday 13 June, 15.00-16.30
“Why would you stay in this pauper/peasant country?”: Re-examining the rural/urban post-social divide in migration discourses in Bulgaria Nadezhda Sotirova
Session 6, Thursday 13 June, 15.00-15.30
While most countries value staying in their homeland, in Bulgaria one is a “good Bulgarian” if they leave Bulgaria. This sentiment is heard in everyday conversations, public broadcast, newspaper, and online content within Bulgaria. In today’s mobile globalized world, people’s decision to relocate for a job or fleeing in search of a better life is common. As a result, both native and host countries attempt to understand and handle mobility through various policies and programs. Even though one cannot disregard the economic and material reasons for migration, policy changes often disregard the cultural and moral reasons informing such decisions.
Focusing on public discourses and interviews, this study examines how people discuss their and others’ migration choices in order to highlight the larger local cultural understandings of identity and social action. The study focuses on how communication reinforces cultural understandings (Carbaugh, 2007) of identity (a “good Bulgarian”) and proper action (leaving vs. staying). This work builds on studies within communication, social interaction, and post- socialism (Creed, 1995; Geertz, 1973; Verdery, 1996). The study uses Ethnography of Communication (Hymes, 1962) and Cultural Discourse Analysis (Carbaugh, 2007) to examine naturally occurring talk and discussions of and about migration in public settings in Bulgaria in order to understand how people view themselves, and their connection to their country. Mobility and migration patterns in Bulgaria have predominantly been studied from the perspectives of political psychology, anthropology, sociology, political science, folk studies, economy, and within a nationalist context (Elchinova, 2009). These fields have focused mainly on migration patterns, motivation, and diasporas abroad (Mancheva, 2008; Elchinova, 2009).
Bulgaria saw one of its biggest stream of emigrants (Council of Europe, 1999) during the period 1989-1996, continuing with approximately 40,000 people per year, which for a country of about 7,9 million is significant. The long-lasting economic instability, profoundly entrenched nationalism, and deeply cultural link to the land results in any migration being viewed as suspicious and an object of public scrutiny. Findings from this project not only shed light on the understandings of migration and the national identities people negotiate in everyday settings but also provide more nuanced understanding of how current policies in Bulgaria can be reconstructed in order to better address the current migration patterns. A focal local identity that is frequently highlighted in such discussions of migration is the notion of seljnin (“peasant”). Even though the term has been historically associated with a rural/urban divide, the data suggests that the specific cultural tensions of such a divide has been exacerbated and transformed into political differences related to socialism—previously noted by Creed (Burawoy, 2000). Once the communist bloc crumbled, such a distinction was further reframed as global devaluation and latched onto the existing uncertainty as to the place of Bulgarians between the East and the West, socialism and capitalism. Examining the nuances of how a particular “peasant” identity is constructed and navigated in present-day migration discussions offers a unique understanding of the ties between context, identity, action, and the possibilities for transformation.
Asian American (AA) Buddhist Identity Talk: Natural criticism of Buddhism in the U.S. Sunny Lie
Session 6, Thursday 13 June, 15.30-16.00
At a growth rate of 170 percent since 2000 (Willis, 2012), Buddhism is now one of the fastest-growing religions in the United States (Willis, 2012). Despite comprising more than two-thirds of Americans who identify as Buddhists (Han, 2017), Asian American Buddhists are underrepresented—and often misrepresented—in scholarly sources. Using Cultural Discourse Analysis (Carbaugh, 2007) as my main theoretical framework, I unveil deep-seated meanings of action, relations and being (Carbaugh, 2007) as found in Asian American (AA) Buddhist discourse surrounding their ethnic and religious identity.
I interviewed twenty adults who identified as Asian American Buddhists between the ages of 25-60. Interviews were conducted either in person or through FaceTime, and were audio-recorded. I transcribed the audio data, and using participants’ own words, I created cultural propositions (Carbaugh, 2007), from which I then extracted cultural premises (Carbaugh, 2007) of what exists and what is valued in this speech community (Milburn, 2009).
Preliminary findings include their reluctance to use the identity term “Buddhist” in their daily social lives given its association with a minority religion and a sense of “foreignness,” which to participants further compound their stereotype as “perpetual foreigners” (Ebers-Martinez, Dorajj, 2009), whom are not fully American, regardless how many generations have been born and raised in U.S. soil. They also questioned their perceived role as a bridge between the “two Buddhisms” (Seagar, 2012): older immigrants who brought the religion to the U.S. and recent converts who mostly consist of Caucasian Americans.
The main goal of this study of mine is to shed light on a group which has been underrepresented in contemporary studies of Buddhism in the U.S. In giving voice to AA Buddhists, I also aim to move beyond the immigrant/convert, modern/traditional, and ethnic/white identity categories to accurately represent the diversity of peoples and communities that make-up who we currently identify as American Buddhists.
Transformative Experience in the Dining Hall of Kinhaven Junior Session Max Saito
Session 6, Thursday 13 June, 16.00-16.30
Kinhaven Junior Session is a classical music camp held for two weeks annually in Weston, Vermont. Many campers as well as staff members openly recognize the transformative nature of their experiences there. This research explores situated communication practices in the camp’s dining hall. Enacting and negotiating cultural norms in the Dining Hall have significant roles in cultivating a sense of community essential for performing chamber and orchestra music with joy, spontaneity, and interpersonal coordination. Three times a day, guided by staff members, the students practice listening, learning, and internalizing norms in the Dining Hall that are also essential for music performance. More importantly, the communication practices cultivate a sense of what it means to be a good human being, transcending race, sexual orientation, class, gender, ethnicity, and religion. Cultural Discourse Analysis Theory (Carbaugh, 2007) is essential for generating and analyzing data and participatory observations. Interviews are conducted for delineating and explicating both intentional and unintentional functions of particularly situated communication practices for the purpose of making cultural prominence recognizable.
Session 7, Thursday 13 June, 15.00-16.30
Speech Codes as the Cultural Context of Membership Categorization Devices Menno H. Reijven
Session 7, Thursday 13 June, 15.00-15.30
Ethnomethodology and the ethnography of communication do not provide research frameworks which are mutually exclusive. In the early days, in Directions in Sociolinguistics, Hymes and Gumperz (1972) included a variety of papers from ethnomethodological scholars, including Sacks and Schegloff. Later, Hymes (1974), in his own work, cites these scholars frequently (Maynard, 2013). Yet, the current research stemming from these two fields does not engage much and could gain from more mutual engagement. In this paper, I discuss how Sacks’ (1972) idea of membership categorization devices and Philipsen’s (1997) idea of speech codes can be placed in conversation.
With regards to membership categorization devices, Sacks argues that certain terms are connected in webs of terms unified through a categorization device. Categories, activities and predicates part of this web inform each other’s meanings. For example, the term ‘mother’ may activate the device of ‘family’ if conjoined with the term ‘child’. Then, ‘caring’ becomes a relevant activity, and being ‘older’ a relevant predicate. A particular wording of the discourse is necessitated and expected because of the use of the device.
Similarly, speech codes activate a variety of terms which mutually implicate each other. When talking about “fighting”, “winning” and “helping the community”, the terms can be coherently interpreted under the code of honor (Philipsen, 1986) which connects the values of “courage”, “glory” and “magnanimity”. This code is activated through using categories, activities and predicates which instantiate values belonging to that code and thereby each of the terms goes together under this code. Thus, terms used in discourse are meaningful due to the values of the overarching code.
Given that both speech codes and membership categorization devices let us perceive coherence in the use of sets of terms within discourse, the question comes up how these two analytic concepts are related. I look at how devices change when they become a part of a different speech code, which shows that such devices are dependent on their cultural context. What is a categorically expectable action in one culture for a particular device, may be different in another. With regards to the device “gender”, in Teamsterville, a “man” is not supposed to “realize a great amount of talking” (Philipsen, 1997, p.128) when dealing with people of a different status. However, as Philipsen notes, his cultural inclination was to solve problems with youth he was supervising was to talk. Thus, depending on the code, the device of gender yields different stereotypical activities (as suggested by Gumperz & Hymes’ introduction to Sacks, 1972). By going through examples, the relationships between these two concepts are elucidated.
Methodologically, this has a couple of implications. Speech codes should be used by ethnomethodologists, as these inform the interrelationships within and among categorization devices used within the same social order. Additionally, this should urge ethnomethodologists to also compare devices which center on similar categories while articulating different activities, as invoking different speech codes can hinder the production of intersubjectivity in social interaction among participants (for this focus of ethnomethodology, see Schegloff, 1992).
A dialogic approach to speech codes theory: An elaboration on and method for proposition two Daniel Chornet, Maija Gerlander & Saila Poutiainen
Session 7, Thursday 13 June, 15.30-16.00
This presentation builds on Philipsen’s (Philipsen, 1997; Philipsen, Coutu, & Covarrubias, 2005; Philipsen, 2008) Speech Codes Theory (SCT), which is an inductively derived descriptive framework within the Ethnography of Communication tradition. It consists of six propositions about the means and meanings of communication as a cultural practice. Our goal is to elaborate on proposition 2, which states that: “In any given speech community, multiple speech codes are deployed” (Philipsen et al., 2005, p. 59). Specifically, we aim at developing a more nuanced theoretical understanding of how multiple speech codes articulate with each other. Then, we will propose a method to analyze these intersections and interanimations among speech codes.
We ground our theoretical elaboration and methodological proposal in the work of Bakhtin’s framework of dialogism (Bakhtin, 1981; Bakhtin, 1984; Bakhtin, 1986), Baxter’s contrapuntal analysis (Baxter, 2007; Baxter, Foley, & Thatcher, 2008; Baxter, 2004; Baxter, 2010), Martin and colleagues work on Appraisal Theory (Martin & White, 2005; White, 2003), and Simmel’s (Simmel, 1904) ideas on the sociology of conflict. In addition, we use a wide variety of existing scholarship on speech codes theory and dialogism to illustrate our proposal.
The method that we propose to understand how speech codes articulate with each other draws specifically the work of on contrapuntal analysis by Baxter (2010) and appraisal theory by Martin and White (2005). There are some discursive markers that indicate “how and to what ends, the textual voice [or social actor] engages with alternative voices and positions [or speech codes]” (White, 2003, p. 62). In other words, how does a speaker orient to a given speech code? and, why does a speaker talk about a speech code? White (2003) posits that as social actors we use discursive practices that are “dialogically expansive” and “dialogically contractive.” Respectively, these dialogic functions refer to “the degree to which an utterance entertains dialogically alternative positions and voices [or speech codes], or alternatively, acts to challenge, fend off or restrict the scope of such” (p. 262). By focusing on metacommunication, and specifically paying attention to markers or dialogic engagement and contraction, the analyst can get a richer and more nuanced understanding of the substance of speech codes. Furthermore, by learning how social actors orient to certain speech codes, the analyst can draw conclusions about such code’s discursive force in that speech community.
Using Hymes’s SPEAKING model for analyzing Speech-Language Therapy: Crossing from EoC to the Discipline of Communication Disorders Gonen Dori-Hacohen & Bracah Nir
Session 7, Thursday 13 June, 16.00-16.30
The disciplines of Communication and Communication Disorders share the same word, Communication. Yet, little research is shared between these disciplines. This paper crosses the disciplinarian boundary of Communication to Communication Disorders. The Ethnography of Communication (EoC) is rooted in an interdisciplinary perspective, as Hymes (1974) combined insights from linguistics, education, communication, and anthropology to develop a holistic project to describe interactions, cultures, and human communication processes. Employing EoC, we study the Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) session, the main setting in which Communication Disorders practitioners meet their clients. We use Hymes' SPEAKING mnemonic to analyze 8 video-recordings of Israeli SLT sessions with children, following Ferguson and Armstrong's (2004) call to pay attention to the discourse that characterizes these sessions. We add a descriptive element that runs across the SPEAKING model: alignment (Du Bois, 2007), i.e., creating a shared intersubjective world for the participants (Garfinkel, 1967). We demonstrate how alignment is manifested (or not) mainly in the Settings, Participants, and the Ends of the interactions. In the following excerpt we show how the participants align (or not):
The therapist builds a highly complex utterance (L:1-2) that has three layers to it (you, I, we), and seems to ask if the child knew what the therapist wanted that they both prepare. However, the clinician does not finish this action, and instead invites the child to a word-search about what she wanted to prepare (L:3, see Schegloff, Sacks, and Jefferson 1977 about repairs and word-searches). This action seeks to create alignment between the participants, by creating a shared world around the object, the rattler. The clinician uses the physical activity with the instrument and a verbal word search to allow the option for identification and for the alignment with a child, who needs improving in abstraction (which the word-search also achieves). After the child provides the right word, the therapist asks a direct question regarding the child’s will (L:8), further enhancing the alignment. The child, using a head nod, in her turn aligns with the therapist.
The SPEAKING mnemonic enables the understanding that alignment is constructed physically (through furniture) via the instrumentalities (via games) as well as linguistically. In our conclusions we discuss what EOC and SLT as disciplines can teach the other: Communication Disorders points to the often taken-for-granted assumption of competence and understanding existing in some EoC research; EoC brings attention to the various interactional elements of the SLT, which are usually ignored in the Communication Disorders discipline.