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Solidarity, stance, and class identities

  • Julia Snell (a1)
Abstract

Scholars have explained working-class speakers’ continued use of stigmatised vernaculars as a response to their relative powerlessness in relation to the standard language market. Research has shown how, in the face of this powerlessness, working-class communities turn to group solidarity, and use of the vernacular is seen as part of this more general orientation. As a result, two competing social values—status and solidarity—have featured prominently in discussions around language and class. I expand these discussions using data from a linguistic ethnographic study of children's language in Teesside, England. I argue that meanings related to status and solidarity operate at multiple levels and cannot be taken for granted, and demonstrate that vernacular forms that lack status within the dominant sociolinguistic economy may be used to assert status within local interactional use. I further advance discussion of the ways local vernaculars might be intimately linked to classed subjectivities. (Social class, variation, solidarity, status, stance, indexicality, identity, interaction, ethnography)*

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Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Julia Snell, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds LS2 9JT, UKj.snell@leeds.ac.uk
Footnotes
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*

I would like to express my thanks to Ben Rampton for constructive comments on an early draft of this article, and to two anonymous reviewers and Jenny Cheshire for their thoughtful and supportive feedback. Any remaining errors or shortcomings in the final article are of course entirely my own. I am indebted to the staff and pupils at Ironstone Primary and Murrayfield Primary for allowing me to spend time in their schools and for their warmth and generosity.

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