Natural Histories of Discourse

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Michael Silverstein, Greg Urban
University of Chicago Press, Jul 15, 1996 - Literary Criticism - 352 pages
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Is culture simply a more or less set text we can learn to read? Since the early 1970s, the notion of culture-as-text has animated anthropologists and other analysts of culture. Michael Silverstein and Greg Urban present this stunning collection of cutting-edge ethnographies arguing that the divide between fleeting discursive practice and formed text is a constructed one, and that the constructional process reveals "culture" to those who can interpret it.

Eleven original essays of "natural history" range in focus from nuptial poetry of insult among Wolof griots to case-based teaching methods in first-year law-school classrooms. Stage by stage, they give an idea of the cultural processes of "entextualization" and "contextualization" of discourse that they so richly illustrate. The contributors' varied backgrounds include anthropology, psychiatry, education, literary criticism, and law, making this collection invaluable not only to anthropologists and linguists, but to all analysts of culture.

 

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Contents

Entextualization Replication and Power
21
Text from Talk in Tzotzil
45
The Secret Life of Texts
81
SelfCentering Narratives
106
THE DIACHRONY OF TEXTS
131
Exorcism and the Description of Participant Roles
160
Structure and Contradiction
203
Text and Pragmatics
229
A Case Study in
253
National Spirit or the Breath of Nature? The Expropriation
277
Transformations of the Word in the Production of Mexican
301
Codafication sic
329
Index
335
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Understanding Pragmatics
Jef Verschueren
No preview available - 1999
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About the author (1996)

Michael Silverstein is the Samuel N. Harper Professor in the Departments of Anthropology, Linguistics, and Psychology at the University of Chicago. Greg Urban is professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.


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