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On the Offensive

By Karen Stollznow

On the Offensive " This book sheds light on the derogatory phrases, insults, slurs, stereotypes, tropes and more that make up linguistic discrimination. Each chapter addresses a different area of prejudice: race and ethnicity; gender identity; sexuality; religion; health and disability; physical appearance; and age."



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Dissertation Information


Title: The Dynamic Construction of Race, Class, and Gender through Linguistic Practice among Women in a Black Appalachian Community Add Dissertation
Author: Christine Mallinson Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://christinemallinson.com
Institution: North Carolina State University, Linguistic Program
Completed in: 2006
Linguistic Subfield(s): Sociolinguistics;
Director(s): Walt Wolfram

Abstract: This dissertation conceptualizes and analyzes the dynamic construction of
race, class, and gender through linguistic practice in a way that
integrates the sociological study of social organization with the study of
language in its social context. I illustrate the efficacy of the approach
in its application to a field study of the black Southern Appalachian
community of Texana, North Carolina. I begin by contextualizing the
setting using qualitative evidence from naturalistic observation and
interviews with residents. I then focus on the social and linguistic
habits of two groups of four women in the community. Drawing from
observation and interviews, I analyze qualitative data on the groups'
contemporary situations, shared memories, and ways of life. The qualitative
data provides content for interpreting quantitative analyses of
sociolinguistic data with regard to race, class, and gender identities.
Drawing on both data sources, I show that the two groups of women exhibit
distinctions based on lifestyle and presentation that divide them into
discrete status groups. I thus provide evidence to show how social status
is articulated with local character, in everyday practice, but is also
rooted in the system of stratification in ways that intersect with gender,
race, and language. My findings exemplify how agentive social actors use
language as symbolic vehicles in daily interaction, in concert with other
social practices, to constitute intersecting social structures. I draw
these conclusions from within an integrative framework that incorporates
three bodies of social theory: intersectionality and structuration theories
from sociology and community of practice theory as it has developed within
variationist sociolinguistics. In framing variationist sociolinguistics
with two bodies of current social theory, I establish viable avenues for
cross-disciplinary collaboration and insight.