Skip to main content

Theory and Method in Linguistic Ethnography

  • Chapter
Linguistic Ethnography

Part of the book series: Palgrave Advances in Language and Linguistics ((PADLL))

Abstract

This chapter provides a sketch of the assumptions, values, frameworks and techniques that currently characterise linguistic ethnography. In keeping with the dynamic that makes it a productive and appealing perspective, we ground our account in a series of historical, institutional and/or methodological encounters, looking at the questions and possibilities that these interactions generate. So we consider the relationships between:

  • linguistics and ethnography

  • elements interacting in the communicative process

  • linguistic ethnography and researchers from different disciplines

  • linguistic ethnography and non-academic professionals

In the section titled ‘Ethnography, linguistics and linguistic ethnography’, we look at what is involved in the combination of linguistics with ethnography, and at some relatively recent historical changes that have influenced their relationship, strengthening the epistemological status of ethnography and sharpening the analytic relevance of linguistics. In the section titled ‘Describing the elements interacting in communication’, we turn to the communication process itself and describe key elements in the theory of language and society developed in linguistic anthropology. We emphasise the power of the contribution not just to linguistic ethnography but to practice theory more generally, with practice theory understood as a ‘broad and capacious … general theory of the production of social subjects through practice, and the production of the world itself through practice’ (Ortner 2006: 16).

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 39.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 54.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Abreu, A., Grinevich, V., Hughes, A. & Kitson, M. 2009. Knowledge Exchange between Academics and the Business, Public and Third Sectors. Cambridge: UK IRC. At http://www.cbr.cam.ac.uk/pdf/AcademicSurveyReport.pdf.

    Google Scholar 

  • Agha, A. & Wortham, S. (eds) 2005. Discourse across Speech Events. Special issue of Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. 15/1.

    Google Scholar 

  • Agha, A. 2007. Language and Social Structure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ahearn, L. 2012. Living Language: An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology. Malden MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Anderson, B. 1983. Imagined Communities. London: Verso.

    Google Scholar 

  • Auer, P. (ed.) 2007. Style and Social Identities. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bakhtin, M. [1953] 1987. The Dialogic Imagination. Austin: Texas University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bakhtin, M. 1984. Problems in Dostoevsky’s Poetics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bakhtin, M. 1986. The problem of speech genres. In Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Austin: University of Texas Press. 60–102.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bauman, R. & Briggs, C. 1990. Poetics and performance as critical perspectives on language and social life. Annual Review of Anthropology 19: 59–88.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bauman, R. 2001. Genre. In A. Duranti (ed.) Key Terms in Language & Culture. Oxford: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Becker, H. S. 1971. Footnote. In M. Wax, S. Diamond & F. Gearing (eds) Anthropological Perspectives on Education. New York: Basic Books. 3–27.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bernstein, B. 1996. Pedagogizing knowledge: Studies in recontextualisating. In Pedagogy, Symbolic Control and Identity. London: Taylor and Francis. 54–81.

    Google Scholar 

  • Blommaert, J. 2005. Discourse: A Critical Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Blommaert, J. 2007. On scope and depth in linguistic ethnography. Journal of Sociolinguistics 11/5: 682–688.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Blommaert, J. 2008. Grassroots Literacy. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Blommaert, J. 2010a. The Sociolinguistics of Globalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Blommaert, J. 2012. Chronicles of Complexity: Ethnography, Superdiversity & Linguistic Landscapes. Tilburg Papers in Culture Studies 29. At http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/research/institutes-and-research-groups/babylon/tpcs/

    Google Scholar 

  • Blommaert, J. nd. Genre. MS.

    Google Scholar 

  • Blommaert, J. & Rampton, B. 2011. Language & superdiversity. Diversities 13/2: 1–21.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bloor, M. 1997. Addressing social problems through qualitative research. In D. Silverman (ed.) Qualitative Research: Theory, Method and Practice. London: Sage. 221–238.

    Google Scholar 

  • Blumer, H. 1969. Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bourdieu, P. 1991. Language and Symbolic Power. Oxford: Polity.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bourdieu, P. 1977. Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Briggs, C. 1997. Notes on a ‘confession’: On the construction of gender, sexuality, and violence in an infanticide case. Pragmatics 7: 519–546.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Briggs, C. 2005. Communicability, Racial Discourse, and Disease. Annual Review of Anthropology 34: 269–291.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Burawoy, M. 1998. The extended case method. Sociological Theory 16/1: 4–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Candlin, C. and Candlin, S. 2003. Health Communication: A problematic site for applied linguistic research. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 23: 134–154.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cicourel, A. 1992. The interpenetration of communicative contexts: Examples from medical discourse. In A. Duranti & C. Goodwin (eds) Rethinking Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 291–310.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cicourel, A. V. 1993. Aspects of structural and processual theories of knowledge. In C. Calhoun, E. LiPuma & M. Postone (eds) Bourdieu: Critical Perspectives. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. 89–115.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cicourel, A. 2007. A personal retrospective view of ecological validity. Text and Talk 27 (5/6): 735–752.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Coupland, N. & Jaworski, A. (ed.) 2007. The New Sociolinguistics Reader. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Crystal, D. 2010 (3rd edn). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Drew, P. & Heritage, J. 1992. Analyzing talk at work: An introduction. In P. Drew & J. Heritage (eds) Talk at Work. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 3–65.

    Google Scholar 

  • Duranti, A. 2003. Language as culture in US anthropology (including comments from Laura Ahearn, Jenny Cook-Gumperz and John Gumperz, Regina Darnell, Dell Hymes, Alan Rumsey, Debra Spitulnik, Teun van Dijk). Current Anthropology. 44: 323–347.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Duranti, A. 1997. Linguistic Anthropology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Duranti, A. (ed.). 2001a. Key Terms in Language and Culture. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eckert, P. 2008. Variation and the indexical field. Journal of Sociolinguistics. 12/4: 453–476.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Eckert, P. 2000. Linguistic Variation as Social Practice. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Erickson, F. 1986. Qualitative methods in research on teaching. In M. Wittrock (ed.) Handbook of Research on Teaching: 3rd Edition. New York: Macmillan. 119–61.

    Google Scholar 

  • Erickson, F. 2001. Co-membership and wiggle room: Some implications of the study of talk for the development of social theory. In N. Coupland, S. Sarangi & C. Candlin (eds) Sociolinguistics & Social Theory. London: Longman. 152–181.

    Google Scholar 

  • Forster, E.M. [1924] 1973. A Passage to India. Harmondsworth, Middlesex. Penguin Modern Classics: 267.

    Google Scholar 

  • Foucault, M. 1971. Orders of Discourse. Social Science Information 10/2: 7–30.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Foucault, M. 1972. The Archaeology of Knowledge. London: Tavistock Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Freeman, S. & Heller, M. (eds) 1987 . Medical Discourse. Special Issue of Text 7 (1).

    Google Scholar 

  • Geertz, C. 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures. London: Hutchinson.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gibbons, M., Limoges, C., Nowotny, H., Schwartzman, S., Scott, P. & Trow, M. 1994. The New Production of Knowledge: The Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies. London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Giddens, A. 1976. New Rules of Sociological Method. London: Hutchinson.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goffman, E. 1964. The neglected situation. American Anthropologist. 66/6: 133–6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goodwin, C. 2000. Action and embodiment within situated human interaction. Journal of Pragmatics 32: 1489–522.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Green, J. & Bloome, D. 1997. Ethnography and ethnographers of and in education: A situated perspective. In J. F. Lood, S. Brice Heath & D. Lapp (eds) Handbook of Research on Teaching Literacy through the Communicative and Visual Arts. New York: Macmillan. 181–202.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gumperz, J. & Hymes, D. (eds) 1972. Directions in Sociolinguistics: The Ethnography of Communication. Oxford: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gumperz, J. 1972. Introduction. In J. Gumperz & D. Hymes (eds) Directions in Sociolinguistics: The Ethnography of Communication. Oxford: Blackwell. 1–25.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gumperz, J. 1982. Discourse Strategies. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Gumperz, J., Jupp, T. and Roberts, C. 1979. Crosstalk. Southall, Middx, UK: BBC/National Centre for Industrial Language Training.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hall, S. 1980. Encoding/decoding. In S. Hall, D. Hobson, A. Lowe & P. Willis (eds) Culture, Media, Language. London: Unwin Hyman. 128–138.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hammersley, M. 1999. What’s Wrong with Ethnography. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hammersley, M. 2007. Reflections on linguistic ethnography. Journal of Sociolinguistics. 11/5: 689–95.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hanks, W. 1987. Discourse genres as a theory of practice. American Ethnologist. 14/4: 668–92.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hanks, W. 1996. Language and Communicative Practices. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Harris, R. 2006. New Ethnicities and Language Use. London: Palgrave.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Heller, M. & M. Martin-Jones (eds) 2001. Voices of Authority: Education and Linguistic Difference. Westport, CT: Ablex.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hymes, D. 1980 Language in Education: Ethnolinguistic Essays. Washington DC: Centre for Applied Linguistics.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hymes, D. 1972. Models of the interaction of language and social life. In J. Gumperz & D. Hymes (eds) Directions in Sociolinguistics: The Ethnography of Communication. Oxford: Blackwell. 35–71.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hymes, D. 1983. Essays in the History of Linguistic Anthropology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Hymes, D. 1996. Ethnography; Linguistics, Narrative Inequality: Toward an Understanding of Voice. London: Taylor and Francis.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hymes, D. 1969. The use of anthropology: Critical, political, personal. In D. Hymes (ed.) Reinventing Anthropology. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 3–82.

    Google Scholar 

  • Iedema, R. & Carroll, K. (2011) The clinalyst: Institutionalising reflexivity and flexible systematisation in health care organisations. Journal for Organizational Change Management. 24/2: 175–90.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Irvine, J. 2001. ‘Style’ as distinctiveness: The culture and ideology of linguistic differentiation’. In P. Eckert & J. Rickford (eds) Style and Sociolinguistic Variation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 21–43.

    Google Scholar 

  • Koole, T. (2007) review of Ben Rampton (2006) Language in Late Modernity. Interaction in an urban school, Journal of Pragmatics, 39/4: 778–80.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Labov, W. 1972. Sociolinguistic Patterns. Oxford: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lefstein, A. & Snell, J. 2011. Professional vision and the politics of teacher learning. Teaching and Teacher Education 27: 505–514.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Levinson, S. 1996. Relativity in spatial conception and description. In J. Gumperz & S. Levinson (eds) Rethinking Linguistic Relativity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 177–202.

    Google Scholar 

  • Maybin, J. 2006. Children’s Voices: Talk, Knowledge and Identity. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Mehan, H. 1996. The construction of an LD student: A case study in the politics of representation. In M. Silverstein & G. Urban (eds) Natural Histories of Discourse. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 253–276.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mey, J. 1987. Poet and Peasant: A pragmatic comedy in five acts. Journal of Pragmatics 11: 281–297.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mitchell, J. C. 1984. Case studies. In R. Ellen (ed.) Ethnographic Research: A Guide to General Conduct. London: Academic Press. 237–41.

    Google Scholar 

  • Moerman, M. 1974. Accomplishing ethnicity. In R. Turner (ed.) Ethnomethodology. Harmondsworth: Penguin. 54–68.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ortner, S. 2006. Anthropology and Social Theory: Culture, Power and the Acting Subject. Durham: Duke University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Pennycook, A. 2007. Global Englishes and Transcultural Flows. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Platt, L. 2008. Ethnicity and Family: Relationships within and between Ethnic Groups: An Analysis using the Labour Force Survey. Equality and Human Rights Commission.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rampton, B. & Harris, R. 2010. Change in urban classroom culture and interaction. In K. Littleton & C. Howe (eds) Educational Dialogues: Understanding and Promoting Productive Interaction. London: Routledge. 240–64.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rampton, B. 2006. Language in Late Modernity: Interaction in an Urban School. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Rampton, B. 2007. Neo-Hymesian linguistic ethnography in the United Kingdom. Journal of Sociolinguistics. 11/5: 584–607.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rampton, B. 2010. An everyday poetics of class an ethnicity in stylisation and crossing. Working Papers in Urban Language & Literacies # 59. At www.kcl.ac.uk/ldc.

  • Roberts, C. & Sarangi, S. 1999. Hybridity in gatekeeping discourse: Issues of practical relevance for the researcher. In S. Sarangi & C. Roberts (eds) Talk, Work and Institutional Order. Berlin: Mouton. 473–503.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Roberts, C., Sarangi, S., Southgate, L., Wakeford, R. & Vass, W. 2000. Oral examinations — equal opportunities, ethnicity and fairness in the MRCGP. British Medical Journal. 320: 370–374.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roberts, C. and Sarangi, S. 2003. Uptake of discourse research in interprofessional settings: Reporting from medical consultancy. Applied Linguistics. 24/3: 338–359.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roberts, C., Atkins, S. and Hawthorne, K. 2014. Performance Features in Clinical Skills Assessment: Linguistic and Cultural Factors in the MRCGP GPs examination. Centre for Language, Discourse and Communication, King’s College London. http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/education/research/ldc/ publications/index/aspx

    Google Scholar 

  • Sapir, E. [1929] 1949. The status of linguistics as a science. In D. Mandelbaum (ed.) Edward Sapir: Selected Writings in Language, Culture and Personality. Berkeley: University of California Press. 160–6.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schegloff, E. 1999. Naivete vs sophistication or discipline vs self-indulgence: A rejoinder to Billig. Discourse and Society. 10: 577–582.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Scollon, R. & Scollon, S. 2007. Nexus analysis: Refocusing ethnography on action. Journal of Sociolinguistics. 11/5: 608–25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Scollon, R. & Scollon, S. 2004. Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shaw, G. B. 1916. Preface to Pygmalion. At http://www.bartleby.com/138/0.html

    Google Scholar 

  • Silverman, D. 1998. Harvey Sacks: Social Science and Conversation Analysis. Oxford: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Silverstein, M. & Urban, G. (eds) 1996. Natural Histories of Discourse. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Silverstein, M. 1985. Language and the culture of gender. In E. Mertz and R. Parmentier (eds) Semiotic Mediation. New York: Academic Press. 219–59.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Strathern, M. (ed.) 2000. Audit Cultures. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Swinglehurst, D., Roberts, C. & Greenhalgh, T. (2011). Opening up the ‘black box’ of the electronic patient record: a linguistic ethnographic study in general practice. Communication and Medicine. 8/1: 3–16.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • ten Have, P. 1999. Doing Conversation Analysis. London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • Todorov, T. 1988. Knowledge in social anthropology. Anthropology Today. 4/2: 2–5.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tremlett, A. 2007. Representations of the Roma: Public Discourse & Local Practices. PhD dissertation, King’s College London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tusting, K. 2010. Eruptions of interruptions: Managing tensions between writing and other tasks in a textualised childcare workplace. In D. Barton & U. Papen (eds) The Anthropology of Writing: Understanding Textually Mediated Worlds. London: Continuum. 67–89.

    Google Scholar 

  • Verschueren, J. 1999. Understanding Pragmatics. London: Arnold.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vertovec, S. 2007. Super-diversity and its implications. Ethnic and Racial Studies 30/6: 1024–54.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vygotsky, L. 1978. Mind in Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wetherell, M. 1998. Positioning and interpretative repertoires: Conversation analysis and post-structuralism in dialogue. Discourse and Society 9: 431–56.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Willis, P. & Trondman, M. 2000. Manifesto for Ethnography. Ethnography. 1: 5–16.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Copyright information

© 2015 Ben Rampton, Janet Maybin and Celia Roberts

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Rampton, B., Maybin, J., Roberts, C. (2015). Theory and Method in Linguistic Ethnography. In: Snell, J., Shaw, S., Copland, F. (eds) Linguistic Ethnography. Palgrave Advances in Language and Linguistics. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137035035_2

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics