Situating Selves

Situating Selves : The Communication of Social Identities in American Scenes

3.33 (3 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Theories of identity have been built largely on biological, psychological, sociological, and anthropological grounds. Missing from each of these, yet of potential relevance to them all, is a community theory of identity such as the one developed here. Situating Selves presents studies of five American scenes, focusing on the ways social identities are communicatively crafted. Based on fifteen years of fieldwork, the book presents fine-grained analyses of the playful self during sporting events (with special attention given to crowd activities at college basketball games), the working self in a television company, the marital self in weddings and marriages, the gendered self in television "talk shows, " and conflicted selves during a community's hotly contested land-use controversy. Carbaugh shows how listening to communication in cultural scenes like these can help reveal how deeply identity is situated in various communicative practices. These include a ritual of play, symbolic allusions to different classes of people, a diversity in the forms of names used upon marriage, the play between genders and gender-neutral language, and the relationship among language, nature, community, and politics. Concluding commentary links the studies to the contemporary American scene, and shows how the focus on communication can integrate into community living both shared and separate identities. Emerging from these studies is a view of communication as not only a situated expression of selves in American scenes, but also an active contributor in constituting those very identities and scenes.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 258 pages
  • 140.7 x 216.4 x 17.3mm | 312.98g
  • Albany, NY, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • Total Illustrations: 0
  • 0791428281
  • 9780791428283

Back cover copy

Theories of identity have been built largely on biological, psychological, sociological, and anthropological grounds. Missing from each of these, yet of potential relevance to them all, is a community theory of identity such as the one developed here. Situating Selves presents studies of five American scenes, focusing on the ways social identities are communicatively crafted. Based on fifteen years of fieldwork, the book presents fine-grained analyses of the playful self during sporting events (with special attention given to crowd activities at college basketball games), the working self in a television company, the marital self in weddings and marriages, the gendered self in television "talk shows", and conflicted selves during a community's hotly contested land-use controversy. Carbaugh shows how listening to communication in cultural scenes like these can help reveal how deeply identity is situated in various communicative practices. These include a ritual of play, symbolic allusions to different classes of people, a diversity in the forms of names used upon marriage, the play between genders and gender-neutral language, and the relationship among language, nature, community, and politics. Concluding commentary links the studies to the contemporary American scene, and shows how the focus on communication can integrate into community living both shared and separate identities. Emerging from these studies is a view of communication as not only a situated expression of selves in American scenes, but also an active contributor in constituting those very identities and scenes.
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Review quote

"This is a mature voice of an accomplished scholar at its best: well informed, empirically grounded, open-minded, probing, and jumping between specifics and larger questions of general importance. I like the diversity of 'scenes' combined with the continual interest in what it means to be a self or person in contemporary American life. Carbaugh's studies will not end these discussions, but they clearly add to them--deliberately playing on words, I might say that they add clarity to them." -- W. Barnett Pearce, Loyola University Chicago
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About Donal Carbaugh

Donal Carbaugh is Professor of Communication and Faculty Affiliate in American Indian Studies, American Studies, and Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the author of Talking American and editor of Cultural Communication and Intercultural Contact.
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Rating details

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