Bauman and Briggs- Genre, Intertextuality, and Social Power

Bauman, R. and Briggs, C. (1992). “Genre, lntertextuality and Social Power.” In Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 2(2): 131-172.

Historically, genre has meant the organization of a text collection. But these guys are way more into Hymes’ idea of what genre is (138): In general terms, Hymes’s writings offer three complementary perspectives on genre: (1) genre as category or type of speech act or event; (2) genre as a nexus of interrelationships among components of the speech event; and (3) genre as a formal vantage point on speaking practice.

141- Significant speech styles may be associated with social groups (varieties), recurrent types of situations (registers), persons (personal style), specific situations (situational styles), and genres (genre styles). Genre sty then, are constellations of co-occurrent formal elements and structures that define or characterize particular classes of utterances. The constituent elements of genre styles may figure in other speech styles as well, establishing indexical resonances between them.

145- His (Bakhtin) characterization of genre is particularly rich in that it sees linguistic dimensions of genres in terms of their ideologically mediated connections with social groups and “spheres of human activity” in historical perspective (1986:65). By drawing attention to “complex” genres that “absorb and digest” other generic types, Bakhtin challenged the notion that genres are static, stylistically homogeneous, and nonoverlapping units (of which more later).

147- genre is quintessentially intertextual.

151- Although genres tend to be linked to particular sets of strategies for manipulating intertextual gaps, it is clearly not the case that selection of a particular genre dictates the manner in which this process will be carried out.

151- gap is maximum via intention, expectations, participant structure, has a different end.

152- Strategies for maximizing and minimizing inter even more intimately as they enter dialogically in text or performance.

156- Another source of variability with respect to the degree to which generic relations create order, unity, and boundedness lies in the fact that all genres are not created equal—or, more accurately, equally empowered—in terms of their ability to structure discourse.

159- generic intertextuality cannot adequately understood in terms of formal and functional patterning alone- questions of ideology, political economy, and power must be addressed as well if we are to grasp the nature of intertextual relations.

163- We presented an alternative view of genre, one that places generic distinctions not within text but in the practices used in creating intertextual relations with other bodies of discourse.

A text can be linked to generic precedents in multiple ways; generic framings of texts are thus oft mixed, blurred, ambiguous, contradictory. We accordingly suggested that generic links necessarily produce an intertextual gap; the strategies used for constructing intertextual relations can seek to minimize this gap, maximize it, or both. Choices between intertextual strategies are ideologically motivated, and they are closely related to social, cultural, political economic, and historical factors



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