Hastings and Manning: Acts of Alterity

Hastings, A and Manning, P. (2004). Introduction: Acts of Alterity. Language & Communication 24:291-311

We have to fight against this absoluteness that identity has and think of it as relational, especially in linguistic anthropology. They demonstrate this need to place identity on a continuum with alterity with specific reference to voice and figures.

293- identity cannot be studied except at its boundaries, beginning with alterity or otherness.

“Identity comes to be coterminous with all that is meaningful” (295)

Individual self-expression leads “to a reductive tendency to read all that is not referential in lingusitc function as being expressive of traits of the speaker, that is, identity”. (296)

This reduces all of Roman Jakobson’s functions down to just referential and expressive. Hastings and Manning are advocating for the opposite of reductiong, but more expressive and anlytical ways to think of perform the self/selves.

Voice; speakers produce or perform selves (299)

Natural figures: stand for themselves (playing themself//a figure of identity)
Staged figures: embodied performances of figures by natural figures or by some other substitute who serve as animators
Printed figure: the figure is animated textually rather than in performance
Cited figure: two voice maintained throughout the performance
Mockeries: (a figure of alterity)

303- voices attributed to others are never concretely “animated” (Goffman reference) by those others. Registers of speakers are used to marked alterity in speech which also influences the figures of identity.

304- the native speaker is the owner of exceptional speech and alterity is marked by abnormal speech. Shout out to Sapir; abnormalities in speech types index physical or speech alterity (305).

Formal alterity (the formal nature of their coding is itself other to the grammatical system of the language).


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