Pratiques langagières - Séminaire doctoral

Dates :
Vendredi 24 avril 2020 - 14:00 - 17:00
Lieu :
Campus CNRS Villejuif - Bât D - S. 510

Séminaire doctoral animé par Isabelle Léglise et Valelia Muni Toke

Susan Gal (U. Chicago) & Judith T. Irvine (U. Michigan)
Reflections on Signs of Difference   

In our presentation we reflect on several key concepts we have discussed in our recent book, Signs of Difference, and comment on why we thought these concepts important. We start with the theme of difference and, relatedly, comparison – themes that provided the initial motivation for our collaborative project. Reading one another’s work, we had noticed that our ethnographic fieldsites, located in very different parts of the world, with different histories, ecologies, and language families, showed some surprising similarities: people in each fieldsite conceived of social categories in their community in terms of a contrast between restraint and elaboration/exuberance, a contrast they saw in linguistic variation, clothing, food choices, and many other aspects of behavior. How should we even describe the similarity? We approach it through a semiotic analysis that is applicable not only to these two ethnographic and linguistic cases but to others around the world. (Semiotics is another key theme.) In consequence, our book presents a novel conceptualization of the way that social and linguistic difference are made (together) in the processes of communication of every kind. Ideology – understood here as ideological work – provides the overarching rubric in which we outline the semiotic process involved in sociolinguistic differentiation. We also present a way to approach the empirical investigation of sociolinguistic difference, starting from sites (sites of ideological work, and sites for research) identified minimally as focus of joint attention, and working outward through a series of uptakes, each identifiable with different agendas and interests, taking participants and observers in diverse directions. Our presentation will provide various empirical examples of differentiation (and its partner, unification or encompassment) from Europe, West Africa, and the United States.

Equipe de recherche :

Type : 

  • Séminaires doctoraux