Introduction: Obeying and Disobeying

  • Yuliya Komska
  • Michelle Moyd
  • David Gramling


In the introduction, the authors account for traditional understandings of “obedience as decorum” and “obedience as deference to power.” These models, they suggest, no longer characterize linguistic obedience in 2018, when far-right bloggers, troll armies, and the US President style themselves as underdog insurgents, despite having immediate access to the levers of political power. The focus is on how the free market in linguistic disfiguration, legitimated since the 1990s by self-appointed language experts, turns the incentive to speak in civically destructive ways into a lucrative political economy. The authors accordingly define linguistic disobedience as those practices of language care, critique, and correction that—amid such a political economy of incentivized disfiguration—forgo the spoils of everyday interactional domination, in pursuit of better, more just contributions.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuliya Komska
    • 1
  • Michelle Moyd
    • 2
  • David Gramling
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of German StudiesDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  2. 2.Department of HistoryIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of German StudiesUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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