What is communication ethnography

Communication in context: John. J. Gumperz and interactional sociolinguistics

Communication in context: John. J. Gumperz and the interactional sociolinguistics
[Journal article]

Abstract

The interactional sociolinguistics brought into being by John J. Gumperz has so far been just as little received in sociology as its forerunner, the ethnography of communication. Therefore it should be shown how the investigation of intercultural communication leads to a decisive new determination ... more

The interactional sociolinguistics brought into being by John J. Gumperz has so far been just as little received in sociology as its forerunner, the ethnography of communication. Therefore it should be shown how the investigation of intercultural communication leads to the decisive redefinition of concepts such as language community, code change and diglossia; Moreover, in the sense of a hermeneutic of misunderstanding, it makes an essential contribution to the uncovering of general structures of communication. Communicative action is understood as a process of contextualization. Verbal and non-verbal contextualization keys allow the actors to infer intentions and situations. Communicative action is carried less by linguistic means than by interactively established schemes that are to be seen as conventions of social networks. The remaining shortcomings in this approach can be compensated for by parallel research efforts, which all in all can hardly be called the sociology of language. Rather, they form a sociology of communication, i.e. the communicative processes of imparting knowledge ... less


Interactional sociolinguistics, founded by John J. Gumperz, has been neglected by sociology to the same degree as its predecessor, the ethnography of speaking. It is, therefore, argued that the investigation of multicultural communication results in important redefinitions of categories like code-sw ... more

Interactional sociolinguistics, founded by John J. Gumperz, has been neglected by sociology to the same degree as its predecessor, the ethnography of speaking. It is, therefore, argued that the investigation of multicultural communication results in important redefinitions of categories like code-switching, speech community and diglossia; moreover, interactional sociolinguistics contributes - by way of the hermeneutics of misunderstanding - to the clarification of the general structures of communication. Communication is supported as a process of contextualization. Verbal and nonverbal contextualization cues provide the actors with the means to infrer the intentions and situations at stake. Instead of relaying on linguistic signs, communicative action uses interactively established schemes which are conventionalized in certain social networks. The still remaining deficits of interactional sociolinguistics can be compensated for by other traditions of research which, all taken together, should be classified as the sociology of communication, i.e. the communicative processes of the transmission of knowledge, rather than as the sociology of language .... less

Thesaurus keywords
social network; Convention; Sociolinguistics; Context analysis; Communication; Ethnography; intercultural communication; Interaction; structure

classification
Communication sociology, language sociology, sociolinguistics

method
epistemological; Basic research

Free keywords
Ethnography of communication; interactional sociolinguistics; Bilingualism, interaction; Hermeneutics of misunderstanding; Contextualization; Gumperz, J.

Language document
German

Year of publication
1991

Page reference
Pp. 446-462

Magazine title
Journal of Sociology, 20 (1991) 6

status
Release version; appraised (peer reviewed)

License
Creative Commons - Attribution, Noncommercial, NoDerivs