Voices of Modernity: Language Ideologies and the Politics of Inequality

Voices of Modernity: Language Ideologies and the Politics of Inequality

Paperback Studies in the Social and Cultural Foundations of Language

By (author) Richard Bauman, By (author) Charles L. Briggs, Series edited by Judith T. Irvine, Series edited by Bambi B. Schieffelin, Series edited by Marjorie Harness Goodwin, Series edited by Joel C. Kuipers, Series edited by Don Kulick, Series edited by John Lucy, Series edited by Elinor Ochs, Series edited by Michael Silverstein

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  • Format: Paperback | 376 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 220mm x 26mm | 581g
  • Publication date: 4 August 2003
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521008972
  • ISBN 13: 9780521008976
  • Sales rank: 872,555

Product description

Language and tradition have long been relegated to the sidelines as scholars have considered the role of politics, science, technology and economics in the making of the modern world. This reading of over two centuries of philosophy, political theory, anthropology, folklore and history argues that new ways of imagining language and representing supposedly premodern people - the poor, labourers, country folk, non-europeans and women - made political and scientific revolutions possible. The connections between language ideologies, privileged linguistic codes, and political concepts and practices shape the diverse ways we perceive ourselves and others. This 2003 book demonstrates that contemporary efforts to make schemes of social inequality based on race, gender, class and nationality seem compelling and legitimate, rely on deeply-rooted ideas about language and tradition. Showing how critics of modernity unwittingly reproduce these foundational fictions, it suggests strategies for challenging the undemocratic influence of these voices of modernity.

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Author information

Richard Bauman is Distinguished Professor of Communication and Culture, Folklore, and Anthropology at Indiana University, Bloomington. Charles L. Briggs is Professor of Ethnic Studies and Director, Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies, University of California, San Diego.

Review quote

'Their scope is enormous and I can think of no one who has covered the terrain that they have in such breadth and depth ... one of the best accounts of language ideology I have encountered.' Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute '... of interest to all scholars ...' Pragmatics 'Bauman and Briggs have written the most fundamental, significant work ever for linguistic anthropologists and probably for all anthropologists with the slightest concern with reflexivity and practice.' Journal of Linguistic Anthropology

Table of contents

1. Introduction; 2. Making language safe for science and society: from Francis Bacon to John Lock; 3. Antiquaries and philologists: the construction of modernity and its others in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England; 4. The critical foundations of national epic: Hugh Blair, the Ossian controversy, and the rhetoric of authenticity; 5. Johann Gottfried Herder: language reform, das Volk, and the patriarchal state in eighteenth-century Germany; 6. The Brothers Grimm: scientizing, textual production in the service of romantic nationalism; 7. Henry Rowe school craft and the making of an American textual tradition; 8. The foundation of all future researches: Franz Boas, George Hunt, Native American texts and the construction of modernity; 9. Conclusion.