Neo-hymesian linguistic ethnography in the United Kingdom

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248 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the development of `linguistic ethnography' in Britain over the last 5-15 years. British anthropology tends to overlook language, and instead, the U.K. Linguistic Ethnography Forum (LEF) has emerged from socio- and applied linguistics, bringing together a number of formative traditions (inter alia, Interactional Sociolinguistics, New Literacy Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis). The career paths and the institutional positions of LEF participants make their ethnography more a matter of getting analytic distance on what's close-at-hand than a process of getting familiar with the strange. When linked with post-structuralism more generally, this 'from-inside-outwards' trajectory produces analytic sensibilities tuned to discourse analysis as a method, doubtful about 'comprehensive' and 'exotic' ethnography, and well disposed to practical/political intervention. LE sits comfortably in the much broader shift from mono- to inter-disciplinarity in British higher education, though the inter-disciplinary environment makes it hard to take the relationship between linguistics and ethnography for granted
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584 - 607
Number of pages24
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007


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