Lurking and soaking

8 07 2008

Day 2 of ELC training rocked. A quick morning swim at beautiful Rosenblatt pool (more on that later) got me in just the right mindset for three eminently fascinating lectures which drove the analytical purchase of the concept of ‘genre’ home:

  • Jan Blommaert surveyed applied linguistic & anthropological notions of genre and made the very convincing argument that genre is “about big things in society”. For instance, learning to write academic essays can be seen as the transmission of a culture of learning;
  • Ben Rampton talked about activity types, intertextual gaps and genre politics and showed how theoretical orthodoxies of classroom talk can be used as “directions along which to look rather than prescriptions telling what to see”. He then tied his empirical observations on classroom talk to cultural change;
  • Celia Roberts brilliantly argued how Gumperz’ notions of conversational inference and contextualization cues in interactional sociolinguistics can begin to answer the ‘so what’ question in ethnography by illustrating how linguistic features in the minutest of transcribed detail link to cultural knowledge and processes of inequality, ethnicity and discrimination.

Another run at Oxford University Parks, this time with fellow participant Jayson Seaman, led to more debates over a spicy Indian supper dinner. Let’s see what Goffman has to say tomorrow.

contextualisation by Project 404

Picture by Project 404.

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2 responses

10 11 2008
The semiotics of consubstantiality « Tom Van Hout

[…] is the Gilles Peterson of discourse analysis. He leads, we follow. There, I said it. Ever since his lecture on genre during a summer school, I’ve been reading his work religiously. Jan is a theoretical omnivore […]

5 01 2009
Brasschaat base training starts today « Tom Van Hout

[…] on an LSD diet. Long slow distance training that is, the triathlon answer to ethnography’s lurking and soaking. My six month, periodized training plan for the 2009 triathlon season kicks off today with two meso […]

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