Ethnography of Communication

Professional Essay Paper Writing Service 15% OFF Discount Code QEW15
YOUR PROJECT – descriptive write-up and analysis/interpretation ? a total of approximately six typed, double-spaced pages. Please attach your paper as a word file.
Book :
Bonvillain, Nancy. (2014/2011). Language, Culture, and Communication: The Meaning of Messages. Seventh or Sixth Edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Supplemental readings will be attached to course modules as PDF files and/or links. To read these files, you will need Adobe Reader software, which can be downloaded for free at
This project invites you to become a participant-observer and to prepare and present a short ethnography of communication. As you know from reading Nancy Bonvillain (see, especially chapter 4) as well as Keith Basso?s article, linguistic anthropologists analyze speech within broad cultural and social contexts, producing ethnographies of communication, which explore verbal and nonverbal interaction in order to uncover explicit and implicit norms of communication in particular settings.
Bonvillain, Chapter 4: Contextual Components: Outline of An Ethnography of Communication
Instructions: Read this section for an overview of Bonvillain’s Chapter 4
1) Choose a safe communicative practice or event that is familiar or unfamiliar to you.
2) Unless the event is a large, public gathering with no designated coordinators, you should explain your project to event coordinators and other participants, if feasible, beforehand and gain their verbal consent to engage in participant observation among them.
3) As part of our required class discussion, due Saturday, 9/14, at 2 pm PST, turn in a one-paragraph summary of what you plan to do, when, where, and why. Also explain how and with whom you obtained consent to conduct your project. (5 points)
1) Attend the event/activity at least one time.
2) Engage all of your senses to experience the event, and focus on the following interconnected factors:
SETTING ? What are the specific characteristics of the physical and social arenas for action? When and where does the event unfold? Make a map or diagram of the place, or, if you have the participants? permission, tape record, photograph, or videotape all or part of the event. Note the wealth of sounds and sights in the setting. Based on your knowledge and observation, does the activity occur frequently, at regular intervals, on special occasions, or during certain times of the year?
PARTICIPANTS – Who are the people involved? How are the people in the setting alike? How are they different? How do the people locate themselves within the place? How do you locate yourself within the place? Note attributes of particular people, including their age, gender, race/ethnicity, ways of speaking, dress, socioeconomic status, or any other attributes that seem especially salient. Record as accurately as possible what and how particular people say and do, using James Spradley?s verbatim principle. Focus on people?s language choices, including pronunciation; prosodic elements (velocity, volume, pitch, stress, pauses); syntax (simplicity or complexity of word order, phrase construction), lexicon (word choices), and non-verbal cues (eye contact, touch, physical space, intervals of silence). What attitudes and emotions are they conveying? How do the people and events make you feel?
TOPICS ? What brings the participants together and what are they talking about? Catalogue the range of topics, focusing on what is said and unsaid. How does the setting constrain and facilitate the range of topics discussed?
G OALS ? What are the various participants? individual and communal goals? Do goals vary depending on participants? roles and status within the setting? Why do you think the people are engaged in this activity or practice?
STEP III: DESCRIPTIVE WRITE UP (Approximately three typed, double-spaced pages ? 25 points)
1) Write detailed notes (or speak them into a tape recorder) as soon after the event as possible. Be sure to cover all of the questions outlined above.
2) Prepare a three-page typed description that captures your experience and addresses the questions above. Include any maps, diagrams, drawings, photographs, audio or videotapes produced or gathered during step II.
STEP IV: ANALYSIS/INTERPRETATION (Approximately three typed, double-spaced pages ? 20 points)
1) What tentative evaluations and interpretations can you draw from your write-up? (Be sure to explain whether the event or activity was familiar or unfamiliar to you at the outset.)
a. What is emphasized and what is left out of your account?
b. What general insights does your description yield?
c. What explicit and implicit communicative norms have you uncovered?
d. Explore the cultural messages, purposes, or significance of the activities described. You are encouraged to apply anthropological concepts from any of the course readings to your analysis (e.g., cultural models, speech act and/or narrative theory). Original use of such concepts is the benchmark of excellent work. However, because you are analyzing people based on only one observation from one or two events, any conclusions and generalizations you make should be tentative.
2) What have you learned about participant observation from this exercise?
a. What do you know about the people and activity you studied? What don?t you know?
b. What have you learned about yourself?
c. If you were to continue to study the people you encountered at this event, what would you do next?
Information that will help writes the project:
YOUR PROJECT (descriptive write-up and analysis/interpretation ? a total of approximately six typed, double-spaced pages) is due on Sunday, 10/6, at 11 pm PST. Please attach your paper as a word file.
Rubric for Ethnography of Communication Projects
Criteria Limited (1) Acceptable (2) Proficient (3)
submitted complete plan, adhering to research ethics did not submit plan ? did not adhere to research ethics (e.g., did not ask permission; used subterfuge when observing others) submitted complete plan on time, or prior to conducting participant observation ? adhered to all research ethics submitted complete plan on time ? adhered to all research ethics
made good observations,
using all five senses observations are absent or vague most observations are clear and detailed ? employs Spradley?s verbatim principle once or twice all observations are clear and detailed ? employs Spradley?s verbatim principle three or more times
wrote clear description Descriptions are absent or unclear most descriptions are clear and relevant ? most questions in guide are addressed All descriptions are clear and relevant ? all or nearly all questions in the guide are addressed
wrote clear and thoughtful analysis analysis is absent or inconsistent with description analysis is consistent with description ? most questions in guide are addressed analysis is consistent with description, at least one anthropological theory or concept is applied, and all or nearly all questions in the guide are addressed
Bonvillain, Chapter 4: Contextual Components: Outline of An Ethnography of Communication
Instructions: Read this section for an overview of Bonvillain’s Chapter 4
Chapter 4: Contextual Components:
Outline of an Ethnography of Communication
An ethnography of communication ?includes descriptions of all explicit and implicit norms for communication, detailing aspects of verbal, nonverbal, and social parameters of interaction? (Bonvillain, p. 73). Analyses of the functions of speech are especially common in ethnographies of communication.
The interrelated factors most often described are: setting, participants, and topics and goals. Bonvillain sketches US court proceedings, a formal event, using these factors
(p. 74-75).
She points out that informal communicative events are also ?constrained by cultural norms of roles, rights to speak, and ways of speaking? (Bonvillain, p. 75). (Norm = an ideal that influences behavior.) In informal settings these norms are often unconscious until a participant violates them.
Settings ?provide arenas for action, both in a physical and a social sense? (p. 75). Settings constrain and facilitate participants? communication.
In the most formal and casual settings, participants ?always assess speech and nonverbal action according to cultural models of appropriateness? (p. 76).
Participants include speakers, addressees, and audiences. Individuals? roles change during the course of many speech events (e.g., in two-party conversations, roles often alternate between speaker and addressee; in formal settings sometimes one or only a few participants have the right to speak, but audiences play significant roles in constructing events (by, for example, attending to the speakers and providing feedback, such as laughter or gasps, or by ignoring the speakers and talking amongst themselves, or walking out in the middle of a speaker?s performance).
Participants make verbal and nonverbal choices based on the setting and other participants? behavior. These may include, choices concerning
? pronunciation
? prosody (e.g., velocity and volume of speech, stress of particular sounds)
? syntax (e.g., simple or complex word order and/or phrase construction)
? words (e.g., polite, crude, euphemistic, or scientific terminology)
? nonverbal cues (e.g., degree of eye contact, gestures, touch, facial expressions, distance from other speakers)
Many of these choices are not wholly conscious, but they are absorbed by participants and tend to be patterned and predictable in interactions. For example, in employer-worker interactions, ?employers speaking with employees are more likely to take longer turns, to control topics, and to exert power through interruption than are workers? (Bonvillain, p. 77).
When examining participants, terms of address, use of pronouns, kin terms, and honorifics may be especially salient, depending on the language(s) and settings under investigation (see Bonvillain, p. 77- 85).
Topics and Goals are also sensitive to overall context.
In any given communicative event, people have individual and communal goals.
Alternative forms (e.g., ?Would you be so kind as to pass the salt?? ?Gimme the salt!?) convey social meanings. For example, see M.A.K. Holliday’s list of caregivers’ attempts to control children (Bonvillain, p. 86).
Also, the same form can convey different meanings (e.g., "I love you like a brother." – Bonvillain, p. 94), depending on the settings, participants, and goals.
Speech Acts
Social theorists use the term ?speech acts? to foreground the fact that speaking can
be an intentional act with real social consequences. The British philosopher,
John Austin (1911-1960) created a typology of speech acts, which is still in
wide use (see Bonvillain, p. 87-93).
1) Locutionary Act ? simply says something
Example from Bonvillain, citing Austin: He said to me, ?You can?t do that.?
2) Illocutionary Act ? conveys the speaker’s purpose (e.g., asking/answering questions; giving information, assurance, or warnings; making an identification; announcing an intention; making a criticism).
Example from Bonvillain, citing Austin: He protested against my doing that.
3) Perlocutionary Act – effects the feelings, thoughts, or actions of hearers
Example from Bonvillain, citing Austin: He stopped me, brought me to my senses.
The US philosopher John Searle (1932- ), further elaborates types of Illocutionary Acts (Bonvillain, p. 87-88):
1) Representatives – commit speaker to truth (e.g., to state, conclude, represent, deduce)
2) Directives – attempt to get hearer to do something
3) Commissives – commit speaker to some future action
4) Expressives – express speaker’s psychological state (e.g., to thank, congratulate, apologize, condole, deplore, welcome)
5) Declarations – bring about correspondence between a proposition and reality (e.g., to appoint, nominate, sentence, pronounce, fire, resign)
Searle examines the conditions and presuppositions underlying illocutionary acts (e.g., speakers must be sincere and cooperative, and share assumptions that linguistic form represents inner thoughts).
Austin and Searle explore speech acts as if they are universal. However, the anthropologist Michelle Rosaldo suggests that Austin?s & Searle’s speech act theory is culture bound, using her studies among the Ilongot of the Philippines to illustrate. Rosaldo argues that the Western philosophers? focus on the referential aspects of
speech and the internal states of individual speakers is biased.
According to Rosaldo, the Ilongots are not preoccupied with speakers? internal states. She writes, "words are not made to ‘represent’ objective truth, because all truth is relative to the relationship and experiences of those who claim to ‘know.’ We may ? think that meaning grows from what the individual intends to say. For Ilongots it is relations, not intentions, that come first" (Rosaldo, quoted in Bonvillain, p. 88). Rosaldo classified Ilongot speech into two categories:
1) Declaratives – speaker asserts or comments, expressing beliefs, opinions, and feelings
2) Directives – speaker commands and requests
Many kinds of speech acts, particularly those connected to creating, reaffirming, or negotiating social solidarity, are often expressed in predictable, formulaic ways. Bonvillain explores greetings and apologies across several languages and cultures (See p. 89-93).
Narratives (Bonvillain, pp. 93-102)
Bonvillain defines narrative as ?stories or framed segments of ongoing discourse that relate or report events in chronological order? (p. 93).
She describes three distinct kinds of narratives:
1) historical ? recount events in a community or among a people
2) mythic ? recount events in primordial times and/or other realms
3) personal ? relate events in individual?s lives
William Labov observes that ?narratives are privileged forms of discourse that play a central role in almost every conversation.? And that personal narratives are "emotionally and socially evaluated and so transformed from raw experience. (quoted in Bonvillain, p. 93)
All narratives are edited by narrators to make them coherent, dramatic, and convincing ? of interest to particular audiences.
Labov argues that ?those narratives with the greatest impact on audiences?that seize the attention of listeners and allow them to share the experience of the narrator?are those that use the most objective means of expression.? (B., p. 94) He claims these narratives are more credible, but this may vary by culture, participants, and settings.
Bonvillain provides examples of narratives from across several cultures, analyzed by prominent researchers. Here, I am going to focus on Keith Basso?s research on Western Apache narratives, because I am asking you to read one of Basso?s articles this week. In the article reviewed by Bonvillain (p. 99-100), Basso explains how historical narratives, which tend to begin and end with an evocative place name, are retold to criticize people who have recently violated a social convention. For example, two weeks after a girl wears curlers to a puberty ritual, her maternal grandmother tells a historic tale of an Apache policeman who nearly turns in a peer to the white authorities. The grandmother begins and ends her narrative with ?It happened at men stand above here and there.? After the grandmother finishes the tale, the young woman stands up and walks away. Two years later, as the young woman and Keith Basso are traveling by the place known as ?men stand above here and there,? she says, ?I know that place. It stalks me everyday.? One of Basso?s key consultants, Nick Thompson, explains, ?This is what we know about our stories. They go to work on your mind and make you think about your life.? Please see the full quote in Bonvillain, p. 100.
Reading Tips, links to Western Apache
Instructions: This module provides tips for reading the article, "Speaking with Names," and links to sources where you may hear Western Apache spoken.
The full text of Keith Basso?s ?Speaking with Names? is attached to the next section.
You will need Adobe reader to access the attachment (see the syllabus for a link to this
free software). ?Speaking with Names? is one of two primary sources I am asking you
to read in our course. A classic example of an ethnography of communication, the
article touches on many of the themes in chapters 3 and 4 of our text, by Nancy Bonvillain. If you are not used to reading primary sources, you may have some initial difficulty with this article.
Don’t give up! The more you read difficult material, the more you will understand.
Reading Tips
Preview the article, looking first at the structure. Read with a pencil in your hand. How many sections are there? Find the topic sentence in the first paragraph of each section. Write down the main point of each section in the margin. If you wish, write your opinion of the author?s main points, or relate them to a concept you have learned in the course or elsewhere.
Many social science articles are structured like this one. They contain an introduction, which presents some kind of review of relevant literature and the author?s thesis, or claim. Usually, this section contains a discussion of theory.
Theory = ?The body of generalizations or principles developed in association with practice in a field of activity (medicine, music) and forming its content as an intellectual discipline.? (Webster?s Third International Dictionary)
See if you can identify Basso?s theoretical orientation.
After the introduction, these articles present original data. In this article, the data are ethnographic examples. Basso is highly skilled at presenting his own position as an ethnographer/outsider and his unfolding grasp of what is going on from an insider?s
point of view (although if you are not used to this type of explication, you may
find it a bit tedious).
Where are Basso?s ethnographic examples?
Next, these articles interpret or discuss the original data. This may involve more
than one section.
In which sections does Basso interpret the data?
Finally, these articles conclude. Here social science writers often briefly discuss the limitations of their approach, suggest future directions, and/or return to the theoretical implications of the data.
Now that you know what to expect, read the article from beginning to end, stopping when/if your mind wanders and/or you grow tired.
If you?d like to hear Western Apache spoken, please go to the following sources. The first three are short YouTube home videos. Exit the course site, and go to Then search for "Apache Independence Day 2009." Next, search for "Speak Apache or Get Out!" and "Native American Apache Sun Dance Song." I also recommend a 60-minute PBS video biography of Geronimo (although I don’t entirely agree with the perspective of the filmmakers). Keith Basso is featured in this video. Go to – then click on Episode 4 – Geronimo.

Buy this paper with the best Essay Writers in London UK