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Conference Information

Full Title: The Pragmatics of Place: (Post)colonial Perspectives
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Start Date: 16-Jul-2017 - 21-Jul-2017
Contact: Carsten Levisen
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Carsten Levisen (Roskilde) & Eeva Sippola (Bremen)

In this panel, we explore the diversity of ways in which “place” is construed and enacted in colonial and postcolonial discourse. Universalist pragmatics has had little to say about place, let alone the pragmatics of place across cultures and historical epochs. Within newer post-universalist approaches to pragmatics, we can begin to study the historicity and variability of “place discourses” constituted by words, metaphors, grammars, narratives, memories, cosmologies, and linguistic worldviews. The aim of this panel is to shed light on the cultural models and knowledges that are at play in discourse and inscribed in people and produced by them through socialization and recurrent discursive enactments.

We encourage contributions from a broad range of diversity-oriented approaches to pragmatics, such as Postcolonial Pragmatics (Anchimbe & Janney 2011; Schubert & Volkmann in press), Ethnopragmatics (Goddard 2006), Discourse Analysis (Carbough 2007, Warnke & Busse 2014), Historical Pragmatics (Taavitsainen & Jucker 2015), Ritual Communication (Basso & Senft 2009), and similar approaches and fields. Contributions may address (but are not restricted to) the following topics:

- Cultural scripts for thinking and talking about place
- Keywords of place enacted in cultural discourse
- Place-based grammatical features enacted in discourse
- Songs, rituals, and other discursive practices or genres associated with place
- Political discourses of place (e.g., in land rights movements)
- Place name research and onomastic pragmatics

We give priority to empirically and emically grounded contributions that can help explore speech practices across cultures and epochs. The panel understands pragmatics in broad terms as the study of meaning-making in cultural, historical, and situational contexts. We seek papers that can help explore place-specific knowledges, conceptualizations of place, or codes associated with people in specific places. A place, in this context, can be highly localized (busses, beaches), ethnogeographical (cities, nations), virtual (internet forums), or symbolic/mythical (terra australis, paradise). Our focus on (post)colonial means that we are interested in papers that can shed new light on (1) conceptions of place as associated with colonial-era discourse and contemporary postcolonial discourse across the globe, and/or (2) papers that can help deconstruct the Anglocentrism (and Eurocentrism) of universalist pragmatics through comparative studies.


Anchimbe, E. & Janney, P. 2011. Postcolonial pragmatics: An introduction. Journal of Pragmatics 43:6, 1451-1459.
Carbaugh, D. 2007. Cultural discourse analysis: Communication practices and intercultural encounters. Journal of Intercultural Communication research 36:3, 167-182.
Goddard, C. (ed). 2006. Ethnopragmatics: Understanding discourse in cultural context. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Senft, G. & Basso, E. (eds.). 2009. Ritual Communication. Oxford/ New York: Berg.
Schubert, C & Volkmann, L. (eds.) In press. Pragmatic Perspectives on Postcolonial Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars.
Taavitsainen, I. & Jucker, A. H. 2015. Twenty years of historical pragmatics: origins, developments and changing thought styles. Journal of Historical Pragmatics 16:1, 1–24.
Warnke, I. H. & Busse, B. (eds.). 2014. Place-Making in urbanen Diskursen. Berlin: De Gruyter.
Linguistic Subfield: Anthropological Linguistics; Discourse Analysis; Pragmatics; Semantics
LL Issue: 27.3155

This is a session of the following meeting:
15th International Pragmatics Conference

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