Situating Selves: The Communication of Social Identities in American Scenes
Theories of identity have been built largely on biological, psychological, sociological, and anthropological grounds. Missing from each of these, yet of potential relevance to them all, is a community theory of identity such as the one developed here. Situating Selves presents studies of five American scenes, focusing on the ways social identities are communicatively crafted. Based on fifteen years of fieldwork, the book presents fine-grained analyses of the playful self during sporting events (with special attention given to crowd activities at college basketball games), the working self in a television company, the marital self in weddings and marriages, the gendered self in television "talk shows," and conflicted selves during a community's hotly contested land-use controversy.
Carbaugh shows how listening to communication in cultural scenes like these can help reveal how deeply identity is situated in various communicative practices. These include a ritual of play, symbolic allusions to different classes of people, a diversity in the forms of names used upon marriage, the play between genders and gender-neutral language, and the relationship among language, nature, community, and politics. Concluding commentary links the studies to the contemporary American scene, and shows how the focus on communication can integrate into community living both shared and separate identities. Emerging from these studies is a view of communication as not only a situated expression of selves in American scenes, but also an active contributor in constituting those very identities and scenes.
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action activity Adams American basic basketball games Beth Carbaugh chapters claims code of dignity coherence communication form communication practices concept conversation create cultural agent cultural codes cultural communication cultural pragmatic cultural scene depictions described dimensions discourse discussed economic environmentalists ethnic ethnographic event example explicated explore expressed fans feminist gender Gerry Philipsen Greylock Glen husband husband's last name Hymes ical iden identification implicated individual integrative interac interpret involves Kenneth Burke kind land marriage Massachusetts meanings motives Mount Greylock munication Native American natural environment Nobleton one's organization participants particular Paula person Philipsen play players political position problem reference ritual semantic Sennett sense shared identity situated social identities social interaction social scenes specific speech style of name symbolic symbolic interactionists talk television tension theme theory tion tity traditional tural vacillating form vantage point various Western Apache woman women workers