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Full Title: Troubling and (Re)making the Masculine Voice of Publics: Language Variation as a Semiotic Resource for Competing Masculinities

Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Start Date: 20-Nov-2013 - 24-Nov-2013
Contact: Nathaniel Dumas
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Troubling and (Re)making the Masculine Voice of Publics: Language Variation as a Semiotic Resource for Competing Masculinities
Co-Organizers: Nathaniel W. Dumas (University of California, Santa Barbara) and Qiuana Lopez (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Discussants: Asif Agha (University of Pennsylvania) and Scott Kiesling (University of Pittsburgh)

Ethnographic studies of publics from sociocultural and linguistic anthropologists have demonstrated the complex nature in which publics are ongoingly experienced, constructed, and deployed as powerful mechanisms for recruiting (dis)identification with particular subjectivities (e.g., Amrute 2010; Briggs 2005; Gal and Woolard 2001; Subijanto 2011). From the beginning, scholars underscored the idea that publics are racialized, sexualized, and engendered in diverse and conflicting ways, particularly around the question of male hegemony. As Warner (2002) observes, publics operate as resources for (gendered) poetic world-making, which includes the production of selected masculine voices and evaluation of those voices as preferred, natural, and, at times, unmarked. At the same time, sociolinguists and linguistic anthropologists of variation have reconsidered masculinity as a metapragmatic label that does not always refer to communicative practices exclusively done by men (e.g., Kiesling 2005, 2011; Milani 2011; see also Halberstam 1998). Masculinity has come to be seen as a social accomplishment by social actors through culturally recognized performatives, including variation, that competes with other masculinities for dominance in communicative contexts. However, most of this work privileges the language ideology of the vernacular as a private and authentic site for researching the construction of masculinity, with little detail to the leaky boundaries between public and private (Hill 2001) for the construction of identity.

In this vein, this panel brings understandings of variation as indexing multiple masculinities in conversation with research on the complex dynamics of publics. In particular, we seek to bring together scholars that continue to complexify the heuristic of ‘publics’ by shifting the discussion away from publics as male-dominated to a focus on publics as arenas of competing performatives of masculinities, particularly voicing via variation and its combination with other semiotic resources by social actors within and beyond conventional gender dichotomies.
Linguistic Subfield: Anthropological Linguistics; Discourse Analysis; Sociolinguistics
LL Issue: 24.1089

This is a session of the following meeting:
American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting

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