Sociolinguistic Studies, Vol 4, No 2 (2010)

Power in theory, in data and in pragmatics research

Kristine L. Fitch
Issued Date: 16 Jan 2011

Abstract


In this review I examine the different approaches to power theorized in this collection, attending particularly to the power dynamics of language choice in multilingual, multicultural encounters. Together the essays demonstrate a considerable range of conceptual positions on the spectrum of critical discourse analytic and sociolinguistic approaches to language use. A particularly significant difference in the approaches taken by these works is the extent to which claims and observations are grounded in concrete details of transcripts, as opposed to inferences about internal states - emotion, intention, cognition, perception - drawn from recorded and transcribed interactions. Those differences, I propose, amount to grounding claims of power difference primarily within data (transcribed details of talk) as opposed to critical theory. The range of positions represented on those deeply contested issues is an especially valuable component of the collection.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.v4i2.463

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