The 2013 LISO Conference is proud to host the following four plenary speakers. Clicking on a speaker's name will link you to their respective websites for further information.
See below for the titles and abstracts for the plenary talks.
UCLA University of Colorado at Boulder
Linguistic Anthropology Linguistics
University of Manchester (UK) University of California, San Diego
The embodied interactive constitution of intimacy
Marjorie Harness Goodwin
Human beings build action within an interactive sensorium that brings together simultaneously semiotic resources with very different properties that mutually elaborate each other. These include the detailed organization of talk, prosody, gesture, diverse displays of the visible body, including gaze and posture, as well as an important semiotic modality that has frequently been ignored: touch. Within face-to-face interaction both the body and voice are used to build the local social order. Using as data video ethnography of Los Angeles children’s peer groups and families, I examine how intimacy, distance, and exclusion can be built through specific interactive practices. Among peers powerful ways of demonstrating collaborative disaffiliation towards a girl being ostracized are orchestrated through the positioning of participants’ bodies, facial expressions and prosody in assessment sequences involving insult sequences and response cries. By way of contrast, an alternative framework for interaction, one in which a participant proposes an intense form of intimacy, entails invitations to touch and subsequent embodied responses to such invitations. Recipients can alternatively intertwine their bodies, reject the invitation or display resistance by not reciprocating. The physical activity of hugging is typically embedded within a larger ecology in which multiple aspects of the voice and body play significant roles. The focal climax of a hug is organized as a heightened form of coparticipation between two participants through the articulation not only of intertwined bodies, but also through particular aspects of voice. The hug is organized as an unfolding activity with systematic differences between its initiation, climax, and termination. The simultaneous deployment of touch and voice are also central to the choreographing of directive response sequences and the development of skilled bodies. Alternative forms of copresence evolve from sequenced patterns of intercorporeal engagement.
Accidental modernity: English-based humor in Delhi’s globalized middle class
This paper is part of a larger project that examines how Hindi and English, along with a range of hybrid language varieties situated between these two extremes, inform the emergence of new forms of sexual subjectivity arising in and around India’s capital, New Delhi. English has long been viewed as a carrier of Western values, but the rise of India’s new global economy has worked to sediment its status as a language of modernity, and more specifically, of sexual modernity. Drawing from conversational data collected during two fieldwork visits to Delhi in 2008 and 2009, I explore this sedimentation as it materializes in the everyday joking routines of urban women who see themselves as sexual moderns. Their humor plays on the longstanding caricature of the naive Sikh man, the “Sardar Ji,” who lacks the social grooming to understand forms of English associated with modernity: He is only accidentally modern, reproducing the forms of modernity without understanding the meaning of this production. The jokes analyzed here problematically support a dominant narrative of progress that temporalizes certain subjectivities as more advanced than others: urban over rural, middle class over lower class, global over local, Hindu over Sikh, and significantly for this genre of humor, English-speaking over Hindi-speaking. Yet the women who tell them, all of whom share highly marginalized positions in contemporary India as queer subjects, also restructure this narrative by positioning themselves, not procreating heterosexuals, at its forefront. This is accomplished by reframing heterosexuality as practice without knowledge. The ignorant heterosexual does the motions of sex but fails to understand its significance. Sexual knowledge (or jaankaari, as these women call it) becomes the teleological trump to sexual practice, and its linguistic prerequisite is English.
Doing gender, passing and flirting: Analysing inexplicit and ambiguous actions in interaction
To date my work has been concerned with the analytic challenge of seeing just how far an approach which begins with an analysis of members' perspectives can take us in understanding actions often thought to require 'interaction external' explanations, like 'doing gender', passing, and prejudice. I will begin by briefly summarising some key themes in this work before moving on to provide an empirical examination of 'flirting' - an action that is often assumed to bring our gender and sexual identities to relevance but which, in the absence of members' explicit orientations, is a notoriously ambiguous (and deniable) action that is hard to pin down analytically. This paper aims to address this by examining (i) instances in which one or more of the parties explicitly orients toward, and names, a prior action as flirting during the interactional episode ('endogenous orientations') and (ii), instances where one of the parties, or an audience member who witnessed the interaction, names the action as flirting post hoc ('exogenous orientations'). I argue that by examining such instances, we can begin to unpack the interactional practices that are readily identifiable to, and treated by members of a culture as, flirting, and that this, in turn, may allow us to identify practices that might constitute 'possible flirting' in (iii), more ambiguous cases that contain no such orientations. I end by suggesting that flirting typically involves one party claiming epistemic rights to greater intimacy than the interactional context, or the status of the speakers, might otherwise make procedurally relevant. Moreover, while the intentions that underpin flirting can never be pinned down, the practices of flirting are, more often than not, anything but ambiguous to members.
Power, conflict and inequality in linguistic parodies: Does the medium affect the message? Some considerations from Catalonia
In language contact situations, parodies of the hybrid
speech production of second-language speakers are generally analyzed as forms
of ethnic derogation and discrimination. This presentation examines the
linguistic politics of mass media commentaries and parodies of the Catalan
spoken by the recent past president of the autonomous government of Catalonia,
a second-language speaker of immigrant origin. I compare representations of the
president found in print, Internet, and television before focusing closely on
the linguistic characterization in a popular television satire. Both the form
and the social meaning of broad public parodies of hybrid forms of Catalan are
addressed. I explore here the possibility that both the status of the
linguistic medium itself and the different media technologies used complicate
the social indexicality and politico-linguistic effects of linguistic parody.