4/10 Walled In By Fears: Toward a political linguistic anthropology in a Gypsy ghetto (Bulgaria)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Presentation by Cécile Canut,
Cerlis, Paris Descartes, USPC
Centered on the presence of
a wall surrounding the
segregated neighborhood of
Nadezhda in Sliven (Bulgaria),
this presentation will focus on
the production of meanings
and interpretations about a
group designated as “Gypsy.”

Tuesday, April 10, 5pm
Franke Institute for the Humanities
1100 East 57th Street, JRL S-102

 

This event is free and open to the public

 

Persons in need of a disability accommodation
should contact CEERES@uchicago.edu in
advance of the presentation.

FULL ABSTRACT

Walled in by fears.
Toward a political linguistic anthropology in a gypsy ghetto (Bulgaria)

Cécile Canut, Cerlis, Paris Descartes, USPC.

Centered on the presence of a wall surrounding the segregated neighborhood of Nadezhda in Sliven (Bulgaria), my presentation will focus on the production of meanings and interpretations about a group designated as "Gypsy". Stemming from the semiotic approach of language as it was constituted by Silvertein (2003) Gal and Irvine (2000), my aim is to develop a political linguistic anthropology in interaction with French Discourse Analysis (AD). By confronting the notions of inconization / rhematization (Gal and Irvine 2000), indexical fields (Jaffe 2016), discursive positionings (Canut 2000) discursive formations (Pêcheux 1975), etc., the goal will be to understand how the competition of indexicalities builds socio-political spaces in which values are attributed to indexicalities in a variable way depending on the stances taken by speakers’  and interpretors’.

Focusing on how the Nadezhda neighborhood wall is staged in different speech events, I propose to consider semiosis as the very place of indexical conflict. Considering the processes of indexicality, iconization / rhematization and erasure, as they have been developed by the metapragmatic current (Silverstein 2003, Gal 1995, 2016, Gal Irvine 2000),  this text will explore the mutiple relational dynamics, both iconic, indexical and symbolic that the wall gives rise to and performs. I will observe three types of interrelated semiotic events producing different orders of indexicality: the performativity of the wall as a socio-historical index, the re-indexing - through erasure and rhematization - of the wall in media discourse, and the political materiality of the wall as a symbol of "semiotic of dominance" (Gal 1998).

Key words : Gypsy, wall, Bulgaria, indexicality, iconization/rhematization, erasure, stance, field of indexicalities, political linguistic anthropology.