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LINGUIST List 21.2511

Mon Jun 07 2010

Diss: Disc Analysis: Uryu: 'Another Thanksgiving Dinner: Language ...'

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        1.    Michiko Uryu, Another Thanksgiving Dinner: Language, identity and history in the age of globalization

Message 1: Another Thanksgiving Dinner: Language, identity and history in the age of globalization
Date: 07-Jun-2010
From: Michiko Uryu <michikouryugmail.com>
Subject: Another Thanksgiving Dinner: Language, identity and history in the age of globalization
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Institution: University of California, Berkeley
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Michiko Uryu

Dissertation Title: Another Thanksgiving Dinner: Language, identity and history in the age of globalization

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Claire Kramsch

Dissertation Abstract:

Intercultural communication is often discussed with reference to the
participants' culturally different knowledge, its impact upon their
conversational styles and the accompanying effect on success or failure in
communicating across cultures. Contemporary intercultural encounters,
however, are more complicated and dynamic in nature since people live in
multiple and shifting spaces with accompanying identities while national,
cultural, and ideological boundaries are obscured due to the rapid
globalization of economy, the accompanying global migration and the recent
innovations in global information/communication technologies.

Re-conceptualizing the notion of context as conditions for discourse
occurrences, this dissertation research aims to explore the social,
cultural, ideological and historical dimensions of conversational discourse
between participants with multiple and changing identities in an
intercultural global context. An ethnographic research was conducted during
2006-2007 in an American non-profit organization founded 50 years ago to
foster social and cultural exchanges among female foreign visitors at a
prestigious American university in New England, USA. Building on Deborah
Tannen's famous Thanksgiving Dinner (Tannen 1983), a 30 minute conversation
among a Russian, a German and two Japanese speakers, who participated in
the Thanksgiving Program, was tape-recorded and analyzed together with
playback interviews and participants' journals. The study disclosed that
participants not only brought ideological and historical elements in the
given intercultural communicative context but also started viewing
themselves in the mirror of the 'Other' and ultimately constructed their
'Self' in 'Other' with reference to their cultural memories of WW II and
their postwar histories. The following contrastive study of three German
and three Japanese subjects' journals and the transcriptions of their
interviews with the researcher further confirmed history's impacts upon
intercultural communication research.

The result shows the benefits of triangulating the relationship between
Japan and Germany with the U.S. from inclusion of a third participant
and/or a third perspective in the studied context. Accordingly, it suggests
the need for a post-structuralist approach to discourse analysis in our
globalized world (Blommaert 2005). Conversational style in intercultural
encounters needs to be researched from an ecological perspective that takes
into account the ideological and historical dimensions of speaking subjects.

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