Dr Robert Lawson, Birmingham City University
New directions in the study of urban masculinities:
Language, media and representation
As recent research has demonstrated, the study of language and masculinity is now an integral part of the field of language and gender. This diverse body of work has cast light on a range of issues, including the usefulness of the competitive/co-operative divide (Hewitt 1997), the discursive construction of urban masculinities (Bucholtz 1999; Lawson 2013), the intersection of class and gender (Eckert 2000), the nexus of masculinity, ethnicity and sexuality in urban locales (Milani and Jonsson 2011), the role of verbal insult and gossip among urban males (Evaldsson 2002; Eliasson 2007), and the importance of language crossing in urban communities (Rampton 2006).
What has been less studied, however, is the intersection of language, masculinities and violence, an omission which impacts on our understanding of the dynamic construction of urban adolescent masculine identities, and more specifically, the role that language plays in discursively constructing ‘tough’ masculine identities.
In this presentation, I draw on speech data collected from an ethnography of a Glasgow high school to investigate how young men in urban locales deploy linguistic resources to construct social identities which align with the notion of ‘tough’ masculinity. Focusing on the discursive content of ‘fight narratives’, I argue that the construction of ‘tough’ masculinity is a subtle and sophisticated endeavor and that we can trace the emergence of ideologies of ‘tough’ masculinity by closely attending to fine-grained linguistic practices. I also consider how the notion of ‘covert prestige’ (Trudgill 1972) is linked to an ideology of working-class male speech as ‘tough’ and ‘aggressive’ and attempt to trace how the indexical links between these meanings and linguistic practice emerge.
Extending the discussion beyond ethnographic data, I utilise Michael Warner’s notion of ‘publics’ and ‘counterpublics’ (Warner 2002, 2005) to investigate the ways in which comedic representations of ‘hard man’ masculinity exploit a range of sociolinguistic resources, including voice quality and phonological variation, as a way of challenging and subverting dominant expressions of ‘tough’ masculinity. I suggest that these performances become enregistered as a way of changing perceptions of the city and its inhabitants, particularly as city leaders tackle Glasgow’s reputation as a ‘violent’ city and promote an image of urban progressiveness. By examining the role of the broadcast media and how it might (de)legitimate public performances of masculinity, I consider how publicly visible manipulations of sociolinguistic variation might be a potential contributor to social change.
Bucholtz, Mary. 1999. You da man: Narrating the racial other in the production of white masculinity. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 3 (4): 443 — 460.
Eckert, Penelope. 2000. Linguistic Variation as Social Practice: The LinguisticConstruction of Identity in Belten High. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Eliasson, Miriam. 2007. “Verbal Abuse in School: Constructing Gender and Age in Social Interaction.” PhD thesis, Karolinska Institutet.
Evaldsson, Ann-Carita. 2002. Boys’ gossip telling: Staging identities and indexing (unacceptable) masculine behaviour. Text and Talk, 22 (2): 199 — 225.
Hewitt, Roger. 1997. “‘Boxing Out’ and ‘Taxing’”. In Language and Masculinity, ed. by Sally Johnson and Ulrike Meinhof, 27–46. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Lawson, Robert. 2013. “‘Don’t even [θ/f/h] aboot it’: An Ethnographic Investigation of Social Meaning, Social Identity and (θ) Variation in Glasgow”. English World Wide, 35: 68–93.
Milani, Tommaso, and Rickard Jonsson. 2011. “Incomprehensible language? Language, ethnicity and heterosexual masculinity in a Swedish school.” Gender and Language 5: 241–269.
Rampton,Ben. 2006. Language in Late Modernity: Interaction in an Urban School. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Trudgill, Peter. 1972. “Sex, Covert Prestige and Linguistic Change in the Urban British English of Norwich.” Language and Society 1: 179–195.
Warner, Michael 2002. Publics and Counterpublics. Public Culture, 14 (1): 49-90
This workshop examines the problematisation of the etic and emic approach to language and gender. More specifically, we will discuss the extent to which we should attend to ethnographic detail and issues not explicitly encoded in speakers’ conversations, or whether information like this should form part of our analytical accounts. Time permitting, we will also discuss the relevance of ethnographic knowledge in sociolinguistic analysis and how our positionality as researchers and our own lived experiences might impact on the way we read our data.
Benwell, B. and Stokoe, E. (2010) Analysing identity in interaction: Contrasting discourse, genealogical, narrative and conversational analysis. In M. Wetherell and C. Mohanty (eds) The SAGE Handbook of Identities,82–101. London: Sage.
Edley, Nigel (2001). Conversation analysis, discursive psychology and the study of ideology: A response to Susan Speer. Feminism and Psychology 11 (1): 136-140.
Potter, Jonathan and Hepburn, Alexa (2005). Qualitative interviews in psychology: Problems and possibilities. Qualitative Research in Psychology 2 (): 281-307.
Speer, Susan (2001). Reconsidering the concept of hegemonic masculinity: Discursive psychology, conversation analysis and participants’ orientation. Feminism and Psychology 11 (1): 107-135
Speer, Susan (2001). Participants’ orientations, ideology and the ontological status of hegemonic masculinity: A rejoinder to Nigel Edley. Feminism and Psychology 11 (1): 141-144.
Wetherell, Margaret (2007). A step too far: Discursive psychology, linguistic ethnography and questions of identity. Journal of Sociolinguistics 11 (5): 661-681.
Further reading (optional)
Cameron, Deborah (1997). Performing gender identity: Young men’s talk and the construction of heterosexual masculinity. In Sally Johnson and Ulrike Meinhof (eds.), Language and Masculinity, 47-64. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
Edley, Nigel and Wetherell, Margaret (1997). Jockeying for position: The construction of masculine identities. Discourse Society 8: 203-217.
Lawson, Robert (2014). What can ethnography tell us about sociolinguistic variation over time? In Robert Lawson (ed.), Sociolinguistics in Scotland, 197-219. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Rapley, Timothy John (2001). The art(fulness) of open-ended interviewing: some considerations on analysing interviews. Qualitative Research 1: 303-323.
Dr. Helen Kelly Holmes, University of Limerick
Language and new media – changing policies, practices, discourses and participation?
The performance or repertoire paradigm has become an established and accepted one in contemporary sociolinguistics (Rampton 2006, Blommaert 2010). While this paradigmatic turn has led to a welcome challenge to segregationalist approaches (Makoni and Pennyook 2007) and deficit discourses in relation to multilingualism (Jacquemet 2005, Jaffe 2007), it is not an unproblematic concept. In this paper, I would like to look at changing policies, practices, discourses and participation in relation to language and new media, exploring the opportunities and challenges in relation to multilingualism and looking at these four aspects in particular. The question mark in the title is intentional, and points to the fact that while some dimensions of policy, practice, discourse and participation may be changing, other dimensions remain unchanged and are even reinforced by new media.
Blommaert, J. 2010. The Sociolinguistics of Globalization. Cambridge University Press.
Jacquemet, M. 2005. ‘Transidiomatic practices: Language and power in the age of globalisation.’ Language and Communication 25/3: 257-278.
Jaffe, A. 2007. ‘Minority Language Movements’. In M. Heller (ed.) Bilingualism: A Social Approach. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 50-70.
Makoni, S. and A. Pennycook. (eds.) 2007. Disinventing and Reconstituting Languages. Clevedon UK: Multilingual Matters.
Rampton, B. 2006. Language in Late Modernity. Interaction in an urban school. Cambridge University Press.
Reading List for workshop
Title: Virtual Linguistic Ethnography: Investing multilingualism online
- Androutsopoulos, Jannis. (2008) ‘Potentials and limitations of discourse-centred online ethnography’, Language@Internet, 5(9), available: http://www.languageatinternet.org/articles/2008/1610.
- Herring. S. C. Computer-Mediated Discourse Analysis: An Approach to Researching Online Behavior. In. Barab, S. A., Kling, R., & Gray, J. H. (Eds.) Designing for Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning (pp. 338-376). New York: Cambridge University Press. (PDF – Herring)
- Hine, C. (2000) Virtual Ethnography, London: SAGE. OR: Hine, C. (2008) ‘Virtual ethnography: Modes, varieties, affordances’ in Fielding, N. G., Lee, R.
M. and Blank, G., eds., The SAGE Handbook of Online Research Methods, London: SAGE, 257-270.
- Ivkovic, Dejan and Lotherington, Heather. (2009). ‘Multilingualism in cyberspace: conceptualising the virtual linguistic landscape’, International Journal of Multilingualism 6(1): 17-36. (PDF – Ivkovic and Lotherington)
- Kelly-Holmes, Helen. (2013) “Choose your language!” Categorisation and control in cyberspace. Sociolinguistica 27: 133-146. (PDF – Kelly-Holmes)
NOTE: Readings 2, 4 and 5 will be emailed as pdfs to participants in advance of SSS5. Pdfs for readings 3 are not available, therefore participants are not required to read them (but are encouraged to do so if they can locate the readings themselves).
Participants are requested to bring a laptop, tablet or smartphone to this workshop. Wifi will be available in the seminar room.
Professor Diarmait Mac Giolla Chríost, Cardiff University
The linguistic landscape, the semiotic landscape and language display: aims, methods and meaning
The so-called linguistic landscape has become a most fashionable field of research in the discipline of sociolinguistics (e.g. Landry & Bourhis; Backhaus; Cenoz & Gorter; Shohamy et al…). Limitations to this approach have been pointed out by some and alternative approaches have been suggested in the shape of the concept the semiotic landscape (Jaworski & Thurlow) and in the notion of language display (Coupland). This lecture draws from a single case study in an attempt to problematize this field in a coherent manner, while also illustrating ways in which the raw linguistic material might be approached and interpreted. Given the keynote theme, attention will be paid to minority languages and contexts of linguistic diversity.
Compulsory – both ‘Coupland’ and ‘Jaworski & Thurlow’ ; and then any one from ‘Backhaus’ ; ‘Gorter’ ; ‘Gorter, Marten & Van Mensel’.
Backhaus, P (2007) Linguistic Landscapes: A Comparative Study of Urban Multilingualism in Tokyo. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Coupland, N (2012) Bilingualism on display: The framing of Welsh and English in Welsh public spaces. Language in Society 41(1), 1-27.
Gorter, D (ed.) (2006) Linguistic Landscape: A New Approach to Multilingualism. Clevedon, Multilingual Matters.
Gorter, D; Marten, H F.; and Van Mensel, L (eds.) (2012) Minority Languages in the Linguistic Landscape. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Jaworski, A; and Thurlow, C (eds.) (2010) Semiotic Landscapes: Language, Image, Space. London: Continuum.
Dr. Daniel Ezra Johnson, Lancaster University
Quantitative Methods in Sociolinguistics
Depending on the type of data one collects in a sociolinguistic project, different types of visual presentation and statistical analysis are more or less appropriate. The presentation will discuss some of these, before concentrating on what is by far the most prevalent form of statistical analysis in sociolinguistics, multiple regression. It is multiple regression that allows us to isolate the effects of both external (social) and internal (linguistic) factors in terms of their effects on a linguistic variable. The presentation will demonstrate some of the advantages of the Rbrul program over the old VARBRUL method, including the ability to fit mixed-effects models and to use continuous numeric variables, both independent and dependent. As Rbrul is based in the R language, we will also see how to carry out the same operations in R itself.
Using basic data sets supplied by the organizer, participants will learn how to use the Rbrul program to analyze this data, and understand all the aspects of the Rbrul input and output, including which numbers are best to report in a journal or other presentation. Then, there are then two additional directions in which participants can go. Those who are more comfortable with computing will learn how to perform similar operations using R scripts. Other participants will be eager to try out these statistical methods on their own data. If they bring their own data sets (in the correct format), they should be able to perform Rbrul analyses using that data. This is the best way for the concepts to sink in, when they are applied to the questions in one’s own data.