A Cultural Approach to Interpersonal Communication: Essential Readings / Edition 1

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Starting from the premise that interpersonal communication is inseparable from culture, this collection moves beyond traditional approaches to the subject by foregrounding the ways in which interpersonal relationships emerge through culturally mediated language practices.
  • Proposes a new approach to interpersonal communication, based in ethnography and performance.
  • Features ethnographic articles that are inviting and accessible to beginning students.
  • Explores interpersonal interactions in a range of settings: from high school slang in California to sign language use in a deaf church, from Tuareg greetings in the Sahara to the language of aggression among Mississippi girls.
  • Includes articles with detailed transcripts of conversation that students can analyze.
  • Provides students with conceptual and practical tools to develop their own ethnographic research on language practices.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Monaghan and Goodman have put together a rich course book for training would-be ethnographers. The book is a must-read, and I recommend it to both students and teachers of ethnography and ethnomethodology."
Journal of Folklore Research

“Monaghan and Goodman have assembled a treasure trove – a rich source of insight into the key role of culture in understanding interpersonal communication.”
Deborah Tannen, Georgetown University

“This outstanding text delivers the original language of top-notch scholars in a format that undergraduates will find both manageable and inspiring. My first choice for a culturally oriented introduction to interpersonal communication.”
Benjamin Bailey, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

From the Publisher
“This style, and the wide-ranging subject matter, should encourage both student and academic readers to follow the editors’ suggestion to see the material as a stepping stone towards their own research, rather than ‘the final word’ (p. 5). The reference lists at the end of the chapters could be another of these stones.”  (Discourse Studies, 16 January 2014)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405125949
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/29/2006
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 576
  • Product dimensions: 6.75 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Leila Monaghan Leila Monaghan teaches Anthropology at the University of Wyoming. Previously she was the Course Director of Interpersonal Communication in the Department of Communication and Culture, Indiana University. She is co-editor of the recent volumes Many Ways to Be Deaf: International Variation in Deaf Communities (2003) and HIV/AIDS and Deaf Communities (2006).

Jane E. Goodman is Associate Professor of Communication and Culture at Indiana University, where she teaches performance and ethnographic studies. She previously served as Course Director of Interpersonal Communication. Goodman is the author of Berber Culture on the World Stage: From Village to Video (2005).

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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors.

Preface for Instructors.

Editors’ Acknowledgments.

Acknowledgments to Sources.

Introduction: Jane E. Goodman and Leila Monaghan.

Part I: Ethnographer’s Toolkit.


1. Body Ritual among the Nacirema: Horace Miner.

2. Culture Blends: Michael Agar.

3. Five Principles: Richard Bauman.

4. Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture: Clifford Geertz.

5. Winking as Social Business: Jane E. Goodman.

6. Speaking of Ethnography: Leila Monaghan.

7. The Emergent Quality of Performance: Richard Bauman.

8. Poetics, Play, Process, and Power: The Performative Turn in Anthropology: Dwight Conquergood.

9. Narrative Lessons: Elinor Ochs.

10. Greetings in the Desert: Ibrahim Ag Youssouf, Allen D. Grimshaw, and Charles S. Bird.

11. Let Your Words Be Few: Symbolism of Speaking and Silence among Seventeenth-Century Quakers: Richard Bauman.

12. “To Give Up on Words”: Silence in Western Apache Culture: Keith Basso.

13. What We Need Is Communication: “Communication” as a Cultural Category in Some American: Speech: Tamar Katriel and Gerry Philipsen.

14. Writing Cousin Joe: Choice and Control Over Orthographic Representation in a Blues Singer’s Autobiography: Harriet Joseph Ottenheimer.

15. Talking Culture: Ethnography and Conversation Analysis: Michael Moerman.

Part II: Ethnography of Talk: From Language Form to Social Solidarity.


16. The Triangle of Linguistic Structure: Robin Tolmach Lakoff.

17. The Grammar of Politics and the Politics of Grammar: From Bangladesh to the United States: James Wilce.

18. Conversations: The Link between Words and the World: Leila Monaghan.

19. Conversational Signals and Devices: Deborah Tannen.

20. A Cultural Approach to Male--Female Miscommunication: Daniel N. Maltz and Ruth A. Borker.

21. Preface and “Put Down that Paper and Talk to Me!”: Rapport-talk and Report-talk: Deborah Tannen.

22. Swearing: Lars Andersson and Peter Trudgill.

23. Swearing as a Function of Gender in the Language of Midwestern American College Students: Thomas E. Murray.

Part III: Communication and Social Groups: The Work of Belonging.


24. Speech Communities: R. A. Hudson.

25. Encounters: Erving Goffman.

26. Symbols of Category Membership: Penelope Eckert.

27. Word Up: Social Meanings of Slang in California Youth Culture: Mary Bucholtz.

28. Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls: Rachel Simmons.

29. Sporting Formulae in New Zealand English: Two Models of Male Solidarity: Koenraad Kuiper.

30. Inner-City Teens and Face-Work: Avoiding Violence and Maintaining Honor: Robert Garot.

31. Speech Play: John Holmes McDowell.

32. “If I’m Lyin, I’m Flyin”: The Game of Insult in Black Language: Geneva Smitherman.

Part IV: Interpersonal Communication in Institutional Settings: Structure and the Exercise of Power.


33. Language and the Power of Men: Scott Fabius Kiesling.

34. Mayor Daley’s Council Speech: A Cultural Analysis: Gerry Philipsen.

35. Linguistic Ideology and Praxis in US Law School Classrooms: Elizabeth Mertz.

36. Participant Structures and Communicative Competence: Warm Springs Children in Community and Classroom: Susan U. Philips.

37. Footing: Erving Goffman.

38. “An Association for the 21st Century”: Performance and Social Change among Berbers in Paris: Jane E. Goodman.

39. Signing: Leila Monaghan.

40. Variation in Sign Languages: Barbara LeMaster and Leila Monaghan.

41. The Founding of Two Deaf Churches: The Interplay of Deaf and Christian Identities: Leila Monaghan.

42. Attacking the Bureaucratic Language of Car Sales: A Case Study of A Car Sales Event: Roger W. Shuy.

Appendix I: Read This First: How to Read and Present on Complex Texts.

Appendix II: Ethnography Assignments.

Ethnography of Greetings.

Ethnography Proposal.

Ethnography Project: Tape, Fieldnotes, and Transcript.

Ethnography Project: SPEAKING Paper.

Final Ethnography Paper.


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