From: Heidi Swank <heidi.swankunlv.edu>
Subject: Gossip, Confession, Innuendo: AAA Panel CFP
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This call for papers is for a panel that will be proposed for the American
Anthropological Association (AAA) meeting to take place on November 16-20,
2011, in Montreal, Canada.
Gossip, Confession, and Innuendo: Family Resemblances, Social Processes,
and Interstitial Linguistic Practices
Discussant: Niko Besnier, University of Amsterdam
This panel explores how language use in 'the nooks and crannies of everyday
life' (Besnier, 2009:11) can be used to build relationships, create
collusion, and engender exclusion. We build upon Niko Besnier’s work on
gossip as a less than hidden linguistic practice,expanding its scope to a
variety of understudied language activities,such as confession and
innuendo, that are often thought of as related. However, it is not the
hidden nature of these linguistic activities that creates their coherence.
For, as has been pointed out by Besnier as well as Gal (1995) and others,
gossip and other hidden transcripts(Scott, 1990) often do not remain neatly
tucked away. Thus, the aim of this panel is to take seriously
Wittgenstein’s notion of 'family resemblances' whereby a collection of
similar linguistic or social actions are linked not by a single fundamental
shared property but through a chain or series of overlapping similarities.
In order to explore and flesh out such resemblances, we delve into the ways
in which language in these nooks and crannies is both similarly and
differentially organized to create openings for participation in terms of
connection, collusion, and/or exclusion. In doing so, we attend to the
microscopic aspects of linguistic exchanges, while simultaneously placing
these activities within the larger social processes through which each is
mutually constituted. We suggest that it is in Besnier’s emphasis on the
nexus of these dual foci (i.e. the microscopic and macroscopic) that we can
best examine the resemblances among gossip, confession, innuendo and the
like. Thus, this panel seeks to further our understanding of such
interstitial language activities not only by following Besnier’s linking of
the microscopic and macroscopic, but also through bringing together
scholars of these language activities to better understand their
distinctions and correspondences across the globe.
If you are interested in this call, please submit a 250 word abstract by
March 5 to Angela Lewis at lewisa14unlv.nevada.edu. Decisions on abstracts
will be made by March 8.
Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics; Discourse Analysis; Sociolinguistics
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