Sociolinguistic Studies, Vol 13, No 1 (2019)

Chronotopeography: Nostalgia and modernity in South Delhi’s linguistic landscape

Kate Lyons, Farzad Karimzad
Issued Date: 17 Jul 2019


This paper explores the processes through which visceral experience is cultivated, packaged and commodified in the Linguistic Landscape (LL) of South Delhi, India. We engage the theoretical concept of cultural chronotopes (Agha, 2007a) to demonstrate how spatially and temporally entwined experiences of nostalgia and modernity are produced in South Delhi’s commercial LL, and show how such positioning serves to compress or flatten such experiences for ready consumption (Kockelman, 2006). Focusing on particularized chronotopes tied to a privileged and elite experience, imagination and aspiration, we highlight how discourses of the ‘ideal’ are reproduced and positioned as visceral through specific references or semiotic arrangements. In so doing, we discuss the quantification of experience executed by these signs in commodifying the visceral, and the problematic way these instances propagate an idealized, sanitized and simplified understanding of Indian rural communities, Indian history and Indian traditional practices.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.36219


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