The last decade has seen a fundamental rethinking of the concept of context. Rather than functioning solely as a constraint on linguistic performance, context is now also analysed as a product of language use. In this new perspective, language and context are seen as interactively achieved phenomena, rather than predefined sets of forms and contents. The essays in this collection, written by many of the leading figures in the social sciences, critically reexamine the concept of context from a variety of different angles and propose new ways of thinking about it with reference to specific human activities such as face-to-face interaction, radio talk, medical diagnosis, political encounters and socialisation practices. Each essay is prefaced by an introduction by the editors which provides relevant theoretical and methodological background and demonstrates its relation to other essays in the volume. The editors' general introduction provides a lucid overview of the issues currently debated. Rethinking Context will be required reading for everyone working within the fields of linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, pragmatics, conversation analysis and the sociology of language.
• Leading social scientists reconsider the function and place of context, now recognised as a product of language use, as well as a constraint upon it • The editors preface each section with an account of the theory and methodology behind the analyses, which include considerations of radio-talk, medical diagnosis and socialisation practices • Of considerable interest to those in linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, pragmatics, conversation analysis, and the sociology of language
1. Rethinking Context: an introduction Charles Goodwin, and Alessandro Duranti; 2. The indexical ground of Deictic Reference William F. Hanks; 3. Language in context and language as context: the Samoan respect vocabulary Alessandro Duranti; 4. Context contests: debatable truth statements on Tanna (Vanuatu) Lamont Lindstrom; 5. Contextualization, tradition, and the dialogue of contexts: Icelandic Legends of the Kraftaskald Richard Bauman; 6. Assessments and the construction of context Charles Goodwin, and Marjorie Harness Goodwin; 7. In another context Emanuel A. Schegloff; 8. Contextualization and understanding John Gumperz; 9. Contextualization in Kalapalo narratives Ellen Basso; 10. Radio talk-show therapy and the pragmatics of possible worlds Frank Gaik; 11. The interpenetration of communicative contexts: examples from medical encounters Aaron Cicourel; 12. The routinization of repair in courtroom discourse Susan U. Philips; 13. The negotiation of context in face-to-face interaction Adam Kendon; 14. Indexing gender Elinor Ochs.