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[xmca] Re: notion of "stance"

I hope you don't mind if I respond on XMCA to your question about what I
mean by "stance."

Yes, there are a lot of different meanings of "stance." I happen to be
using it in a rather circumscribed way and in the tradition of Linguistic
Anthropology (which I can't really locate in your 4 traditions - maybe
overlaps a couple). In the LA tradition, "stance" is a way of communicating
some purportedly "inner" state. The two most common talked about types of
stance are epistemic and affective (a dualism that is certainly
problematic). The former refers to the states of knowledge that are
communicated and the latter refer to the emotional states that are being
conveyed. The most interesting types of stance in everyday discourse are
those stances that may not be explicitly indicated (e.g., rather than
saying "I'm getting upset," raising one's voice when speaking). Lynda is
interested in stance because it is crucial for kindergarten teachers. I'm
interested in stance because it is crucial for the coordination of
"learning" in encounters between high school students and their tutors.
Robert is interested in stance because stance is not something that travels
over the computer wires particularly well, and this can lead to
interactional troubles in tele-mentoring (and email is a particularly
difficult medium in which to convey stance, although we do have some aids
in this regard ;-)  !).

Anyway, I've attached one of my personal favorites on "stance" - it is a
paper by Paul Kockelman that presents a very nice argument about the
importance of "stance" as a better way of studying "subjectivity." The
translations can get a little tough to follow, but the point is that there
is an incredible diversity of ways of indicating a stance with regard to
any given utterance (which then, of course, indicates a stance to whatever
might be happening at the time).

And here is Kockelman's definition of "stance" - seems better than mine:
"Stance may be understood as the semiotic means by which we indicate our
to states of affairs, usually framed in terms of evaluation (e.g., moral
obligation and
epistemic possibility) or intentionality (e.g., desire and memory, fear and

So long and short of it, "stance" as we are imagining it is something that
is conveyed on relatively short timescales - the microgenetic timescale as
some like to call it.

Apologies for the sketchiness of that definition. Hopefully there is
something recoverable in the above.

Thanks for askin'.

On Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 1:17 PM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Greg,
> I'm wondering if you can clarify if "stance" as you are using the term is
> situated within what has been called "sociocultural linquistics" a more
> specific term than "sociolinquistics".
> Also if "sociocultural linquistics" is situated within the fields of
> "discourse analysis" or "discursive psychology"
> My reason for asking is I'm attempting to sort out the overlapping
> similarities and differences in the traditions of
> 1] discourse analysis
> 2] dialgogical
> 3]cultural historical/activity
> 4] philosophical hermeneutics.
> All the above approaches share the general approach of orienting to the
> sociocultural origins and basis of mind and self.
> For example, from discursive approaches comes this definition [by Eva
> Magnusson & Jeanne Mareck]
> "The term *discursive* has a dual meaning, reflecting the two meanings of
> its root, *discourse* in contemporary theory.
> 1st] "discourse" refers to language practices and talk as the medium of
> meaning-making and of social relations.  The term also carries a second,
> broader meaning - as articulated by social theorists such as Michael
> Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, and Judith Butler - of institutionalized
> practices and ways of thinking that set BOUNDARIES on what can be said
> about a specific topic. [I would add and what must remain concealed]
> Discourses in this latter sense are heterogeneous assemblages of
> scientific, religious, legal, political, and moral statements, arrangements
> of physical space, language, and other social practices, all of which serve
> to DEFINE reality"
> In other words, as I read this description of the field of discourse
> studies, it has many overlapping themes with the notion of "horizons of
> understanding".
> I'm attempting to become familiar with each of the ways of exploring
> sociocultural themes I listed above. As you discuss social interaction and
> stance I want to be clear if this is working within a "sociocultural
> linquistic" framework [or tradition??]
> I've said enough on XMCA for awhile so thought I would ask personally.
> Thanks,
> Larry

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Sanford I. Berman Post-Doctoral Scholar
Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition
Department of Communication
University of California, San Diego

Attachment: Kockelman, p - stance and subjectivity.pdf
Description: Adobe PDF document

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