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Eth 355 individual ethics terminology graphic

It be-gins with a critical review of the way genre has been used in linguistic an-thropology.

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A distinction is delineated between approaches that take forgranted the status of genre as a tool for classifying and ordering discourseand those that contend with elements of generic ambiguity and dynamism. Proceeding to outline a new approach to genre, the discussion analyzes awide range of intertextual relations that are deployed in constituting genericlinks.

A series of examples contrasts strategies for minimizing gaps betweentexts and generic precedents with strategies for maximizing such gaps. Afinal section points to the ways that investigating generic intertextuality canilluminate questions of ideology, political economy, and power.

Why devote an article in the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology tothe subject of genre? It must be admitted from the outset thatgenre engenders a number of possible objections when pre-Journal ofLinguistic Anthropology 2 2: CopyrightAmerican AnthropologicalAssociation.

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Like such notions astext, genre strikes some practitioners as too global and fuzzy a concept tobe of much use to detailed formal and functional analysis. Its associationwith literary theory and critical practice may similarly suggest that it isnot likely to be illuminating with respect to either "everyday conversa-tion" or "ordinary" linguistic processes.

It is generally used, after all, inclassifying discourse; typological tasks are often rejected by empiricistsand anti-positivists alike, and some researchers will find it difficult to be-lieve that the use of broad empirical categories is likely to be of much useto fine-grained analysis of particular social interactions.

Beyond these is-sues, all of us know intuitively that generic classifications never quitework: In defending our chosen topic, we could point out that the concept ofgenre with or without the label has played a role in linguistic anthro-pology since at least the time of Boas.

Generic classifications helped setthe agenda for research on Native American languages.

Eth 355 individual ethics terminology graphic

The study ofgenre was later boosted by ethnoscience, structuralism, the ethnographyof speaking, and the performance-centered approach to verbal art. Therecent popularity of Bakhtin's translinguistics and new perspectives onemotion and gender have similarly accorded new cachet to generic in-vestigation.

The first part of our article will thus be devoted to a criticaldiscussion of the place of genre within linguistic anthropology. As will become apparent in the second part, our goal is not to defendthe concept or to claim that it should occupy a more central role in lin-guistic anthropology.

We will rather argue that its nature and signifi-cance have been misconstrued in certain fundamental ways by propo-nents and critics alike. Although the same could be said of research ongenre in folkloristics and literary theory as well as in linguistic anthro-pology, these areas lie beyond the scope of this article.

This misappre-hension has contributed to the ambivalent reception that the concept hasreceived and its periodic movements in and out of scholarly fashion. Wewill argue that grasping the complex intertextual relations that underliegenre, along with the way these relations are closely linked to social, cul-tural, ideological, and political-economic factors, can offer insight intowhy studies of genre have proved to be so problematic.

We hope to beable not only to provide a more solid foundation for investigations ofgenre, but also to show how research on generic intertextuality can illu-minate central issues in linguistic anthropology.

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The Boasian Tradition As we have noted, genreas term and as concepthas achieved cur-rency in contemporary linguistic anthropology largely under the stimu-lus of the ethnography of speaking, performance-centered approaches toverbal art, and the work of Mikhail Bakhtin.

To be sure, the foundationsof this interest in genre were laid much earlier, principally at the points Genre, Intertextuality, and Social Power of convergence between linguistic anthropology and the adjacent disci-pline of folklore, in which the generic shaping and classification of oralforms has been a fundamental concern.

In particular, generic issues though not the term played a certain operational role in the Americanisttradition of Boas and his intellectual heirs, although the concept was sel-dom the focus of critical examination in their work.

Given the centralityof texts in the Boasian tradition, rooted in the philological foundations ofBoasian anthropology, discrimination among orders of texts was at timesseen to be a necessary task, at least for certain purposes.

The most prominent use of generic distinctions in the Boasian line oc-curs in the organization of text collections. Perusal of these collections,however, reveals that the grouping of texts within their pages is fre-quently quite ad hoc, without discussion of the conceptual basis of therespective sections.Are they coherent?

Should they be? What do they derive from, revelation or something else?

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Eth 355 individual ethics terminology graphic

8 9 of this feature—and the relative ease with which further elaborate on differences in terminology, qualitative findings can be communicated to lay methods, and research products. Full text of "ERIC ED Catalog of Resources on International Understanding." See other formats.

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