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This article aims to introduce the notion of panoptic structures as a way of theorizing how people strategically exploit the affordances of digital devices to expose other people's behavior. I argue that Foucault's notion of panopticism becomes relevant in new ways in social life as a consequence of the polymedia repertoires of networked individuals. Central here is the ability to store digital communication and repost it for selected audiences. The data I analyze here were collected from a group of students who had just entered the gymnasium (the Danish equivalent of high school). During the months of multi-sited, online and offline ethnography, a conflict occurred between two groups of students. During this conflict, a repeated activity involved students confronting students from the opposing group with screenshots of their earlier social media activities and doing so in front of larger audiences of other students. On this basis, I argue that a theory of such panoptic practices belongs in the sociolinguistic toolbox. (Panopticism, social media, conflict, polymedia repertoire, audience)*
Anti-Black language ideologies manifest in exclusionary language policies (e.g. Sung & Allen-Handy 2019), educational tracking (e.g. Sung 2018), and scholarly claims of Black ‘deficiency’ (Smitherman 2000). A liberal educational research tradition has countered with ethnographic accounts of cultural ‘mismatch’ (Michaels 2006) vis-à-vis Black educational ‘failure’. Conducting a textual analysis of an archive of ethnography of communication texts, I locate multiple genealogical linkages holding between ‘mismatch’ and deprivation discourses, principally ones centered on representations of ‘pathological’ Black ‘matriarchy’. Paralleling Black feminist theorizations of ‘fungible Black flesh’ (e.g. Hartman 1997), I account for these representations by conceptualizing ‘fungible Black sound’. I further argue that ‘fungible fugitivity’ (e.g. Snorton 2017), that is, how Blackness fluidly responds to white incursion is linguistically realized in acts of ‘signifyin(g)’ (e.g. Mitchell-Kernan 1999), yielding the analytic category ‘fungible(ly) fugitive Black sound’. Lastly, I reread an ethnographic text with this analytic to illustrate its affordance for (re)imagining Black futurity. (Black sound, fungibility, fugitivity, raciolinguistic ideologies, ethnography of communication, Black studies)*
This linguistic ethnographic study offers a nuanced pedagogical account of the Arabic term sumud, or ‘steadfastness’, through a sociolinguistic analysis of decolonial modes of expression among Palestinian youth in Israel. I reflect on events during the 2021 uprisings in East Jerusalem, when Palestinian youth within Israel took to the streets in solidarity with Palestinians in Jerusalem and Gaza. Considering the Israeli education system's denationalization of the Palestinian community within its borders, I examine how Palestinian political ideals cultivated outside the formal educational system open new possibilities for political organizing and expression. I reflect upon interviews with members of the Haifa Youth Movement and a Palestinian hip-hop artist and his lyrics. Engaging with Stroud's theorization of linguistic citizenship, I show how pedagogy of sumud as a linguistic citizenship practice opens new semiotic spaces for Palestinian youth in Israel to resist the erasure of their identity. (Linguistic citizenship, sumud pedagogy, Palestinian youth, colonized education)*
Little is known about the connection between individuals’ evaluative reactions to (i) minority languages as such, and (ii) specific varieties of these minority languages. This study investigates such evaluative reactions amongst new speakers of Frisian in the Netherlands (n = 264). A questionnaire was used to elicit participants’ attitudes towards the Frisian language and their evaluations of the specific variety of Frisian they were taught. The results reveal a significant correlation between participants’ status-related attitudes towards Frisian and their anonymity-related evaluations of the variety they were taught—as well as between participants’ solidarity-related attitudes towards Frisian and their authenticity-related evaluations of the variety they were taught. The former are close to neutral; the latter are mildly positive. The article discusses how these results not only advance our general understanding of language in society, but also facilitate the development of more comprehensive science communication to inform revitalisation strategies in minority contexts. (Language attitudes, language ideologies, minority languages, language planning, language revitalisation, language transmission, new speakers)*
This study explores the link between stylized forms of language and the construction of social identities in performance in the Beijing hip hop community. It focuses on the indexical process by which rappers rely on existing characterological figures and local linguistic variables in Beijing Mandarin (i.e. rhotacized syllable finals, lenited retroflexes, interdentalized dental sibilants, and fronted palatals) to construct hip hop affiliated identities. A variationist analysis provides evidence of style-shifting between two generations of Beijing male rappers, who employ these socially salient linguistic features to different degrees, but always in a semiotically coherent package, in their performance. The analysis further demonstrates how the rappers maintain street credibility through a cultural alignment between hip hop and local social types. By examining the indexicality of these variables, the study highlights the interplay of hip hop ideology, local linguistic features, and local social types in stylistic practices and personae construction. (Hip hop, indexicality, iconicity, performance, Mandarin Chinese)*
The HOLLYWOOD sign is arguably the world's most famous language object. Emblematic of prestige and cultural capital, the sign can be found not just in Los Angeles, but in citations all over the world. Beginning with the history of its valorization, HOLLYWOOD is shown to emanate symbolic value through a set of enregistered semiotic features. Drawing upon a set of globally sourced citations of HOLLYWOOD, the circulation and stratified bundling of size, emplacement, alignment, typeface, and color indicates how the citation of language objects is mediated by political economy. A process of diffuse citation is further observed, in which the quotation of language features is not overt, but the source of emanation is still tangible, revealing HOLLYWOOD as the source of a global linguistic-semiotic register. As this register circulates in citations overt and diffuse, language objects are revealed as key sites for the reproduction of commodity values. (The Hollywood sign, language object, citation, enregisterment, global emblems, recontexualization)*
Firmly grounded in local sociopolitical constraints, language policies at Istanbul's Kurdish-run eating establishments often place Kurdish employees’ cultural identity construction at odds with their workplaces’ economic viability. In the face of rigid structures that cement the dominance of Turkish, the Kurdish managers highlighted in a previous study exercise limited agency to enact language policies that align with their pro-Kurdish ideologies, rendering Kurdish largely invisible. This article revisits these themes by examining a nearby Kurdish-run restaurant with a language policy that violates this norm. Applying Darvin & Norton's (2015) model of investment, analyses of observations and interviews consider identity, ideology, and economic capital vis-à-vis employees’ perceived valuation of Kurdish as a workplace language. Results suggest that capital ownership emboldens the audible articulation of Kurdish identities, which emerge from pluricentrically oriented ideologies, fostering resistance to local language policy norms. (Investment, language policy, capital, Kurdish, ideology, pluricentricity)
Across the contemporary world, neoliberalism operates as an anticipatory regime through which mediatised conceptions of the future are aligned to an aggressive (absolute) marketisation of social life. Alongside a critical, queer-theoretical attention to homonormativity, this article uses multimodal critical discourse studies techniques to analyse how such a neoliberal future for LGBTQ people is envisioned in #HoldTight, a pride campaign by an Australian and New Zealand bank. #HoldTight focused on how the act of holding hands can be turned from a source of shame to a joyful, powerful tool for social action: ‘if you feel like letting go, hold tight’. My cultural-phenomenological analysis of #HoldTight demonstrates how this imbrication of LGBTQ rights discourse and mediatised capitalism engaged embodied, hopeful affects as semiotic resources. In this way, I argue that the bank enshrined a speculative, anticipatory chronotope of a future better world, while validating neoliberal governmentality as a benevolent form of LGBTQ agency. (Neoliberalism, multimodal critical discourse studies, queer linguistics, affect, embodiment, cultural phenomenology)*
Evidential records of investigative interviews serve an important institutional purpose within the legal system in England and Wales. Academic scholars have long recognized that little institutional attention is paid to the transformation process that occurs when written records of the spoken are produced, nor to the potential impact this has on later interpretation by users of the records during the investigation of crimes and later in court. We analyse twenty-nine digitally recorded investigative interviews and their corresponding official written ‘Record of Taped/Videoed Interview’ (ROTI/ROVI) transcripts, taking an ethnomethodological, conversation analytic (CA) approach to examine the social actions that are transformed in this activity by comparing the audio record of police interview evidence to the written transcripts. The intended outcome of this work, within the wider project of which this forms a part, is to better understand this process within the legal system, and to incite improvements. (Investigative interview, transcription, entextualisation, conversation analysis)
The importance of presenting a united front has long since been an integral part of parenting advice. Despite the wealth of productive research on parent-child interaction, we have very little knowledge of how such a united front is assembled in situ, In the meantime, although few would question the benefit of collaboration, we are still in the process of understanding how collaboration is carried out in the micro-moments of interaction. This article contributes to the growing literature on parent-child interaction as well as that on collaboration in interaction by detailing how two parents achieve collaboration through merged speakership and merged recipiency. Findings may be applicable to a wide range of workspaces beyond the domestic sphere. (Family interaction, conversation analysis, collaboration)*
This article investigates the use of touch as a tool for engaging prospective next speakers within Indonesian multiparty conversation. We examine the lamination of touch onto questions directed towards specifically targeted recipients. First, we find that questions with touch are deployed when the physical environment complicates the attainment of mutual orientation. Second, when previously targeted recipients have failed to respond to a question, touch is added to follow-up questions that are deployed for pursuing a response. Third, touch is added to questions that are personal or that inquire about potentially delicate matters. This multimodal investigation of conversational turn-taking provides data from Colloquial Indonesian as basis for cross-linguistic comparison. In considering the volume of touches in these data we ask whether cultural and environmental factors might contribute to a haptic modification of ordinary turn-taking procedures. (Turn-taking, touch, multimodality, sociotopography)
This article investigates how marginal individuals construct a productive self in an interview. It reports on a case study of three women—a squatter, a rough sleeper, and an Irish Traveller—who inhabit uncertain and threatened homes. In response to dominant discourses of productivity, in the interviews the speakers’ talk reflects the desire to be perceived as able and knowledgeable individuals. Thus, rejecting their marginal subjectivities, the three women propose profitable solutions to society's issues along the very same principles of productivity heralded by dominant society. Framed within a performative notion of identity, the study elaborates on the notion of a non-sexual desire as the trigger of most human actions. The results suggest that marginality is not a fixed and segregated state of being and the stereotype of individuals like those discussed in the study as passive and out of touch must be challenged. (Marginality, space, squatter, Irish Traveller, rough sleeper, desire/aspiration, epistemic and agentive self, neo-liberalism)*
My theoretical aim in this article is to focus on an examination of processual enactments of scale in light of the technological affordances that are currently at the disposal of a significant majority of humans. I offer the terms algorithmic scales and algorithmic scalar affordances to describe one activist's engagement of practical theories of scale—her ‘algorithmic imagination’ (Bucher 2017)—which led her to design her audience in ways intended to algorithmically scale up, or amplify, her activities on Facebook—to enhance their spread numerically, rapidly, and translocally, making use of the algorithmically constructed communicative possibilities or affordances available to her on the site. (Social media, scale, algorithms, audience design, Facebook, activism, nation, politics)
This article demonstrates how mediatization facilitates the (re)production of mock language. Through an examination of Chinese netizens’ reactions to a series of viral internet commercials that feature three Hong Kong actors speaking nonstandard Mandarin, it uncovers the processes whereby Gangpu (Hong Kong Mandarin) has become increasingly perceived in China as funny. The vast scale of uptake formulations enabled by mediatization has made it possible for Chinese netizens to engage in a collaborative effort not only in highlighting certain features of Gangpu and certain elements of the commercials but also in presenting them in ways that evoke specific meanings and interpretations. Ultimately, it is through the parodic revoicing of Hong Kong celebrities speaking nonstandard Mandarin that this non-native variety has come to be keyed as humorous. This study shows that we gain a better understanding of how mock practices reinforce and build on each other by tracing their uptake and circulation. (Mediatization, mock language, parody, listening subject, Mandarin Chinese, Hong Kong, China)*