Society, Language, History and Religion: a Perspective on Bangla from Linguistic Anthropology

  • James M. Wilce


The sociology of language and religion explores some of the same terrain as linguistic anthropology, this author’s disciplinary home. Anthropology is increasingly engaged in analysing history (change), a major concern of SLR (Fishman Decalogue principle No. 2). Anthropology has for at least two decades discarded reifying approaches to ‘culture’ in favour of those approaches that focus on contestation as well as the situational production and ‘dialogic emergence’ of culture (Tedlock and Mannheim 1995), and the complex relationship of culture to discourse. Linguistic anthropologists have rejected simplistic equations of culture with text arising out of the humanities and cultural anthropology, preferring instead to explore natural histories of discourse. These explorations reveal processes by which discourse comes to appear, momentarily, as text-like (Silverstein and Urban 1996). This linguistic anthropological perspective on conflict, history and everyday and macrosocial process, complements some of Joshua Fishman’s principles (Decalogue), as I will point out from time to time below.


Prime Minister Asiatic Society Speech Event Language Ideology Ritual Propriety 
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