WHAT’S NEW IN NEW MEDIA? STANDARDIZATION PROCESSES IN DIGITALLY MEDIATED SPACE

Saturday, November 21, 2015: 1:45 PM-3:30 PM

Centennial H (Hyatt Regency)

“New media” outlets are frequently hailed as sites of linguistic freedom from normative standardization and of transnational connections that transcend social units such as the nation-state. However, digitally mediated communication platforms and the networks of speakers they connect are frequently made intelligible through references to older media forms, including the conceptualizations of social groupings they reflect and produce, even as they may work to subvert them. At the same time, the (re)production and circulation of texts in digitally mediated space produce and respond to new forms of standardization, prescriptive evaluation, and social configurations. This panel explores the ways in which the “newness” of new media forms and their social effects emerges in productive friction with older forms. In so doing, we attend to the situated interpretation of media artifacts, through which interlocutors contest, complicate, and/or attempt to regiment their social significations. Earlier studies of standardization (Jaffe 2009, Milroy and Milroy 2001, Irvine 2001) observe that it is a process rather than a product; a fully standardized language cannot exist in use. Standardization processes differ in the social and linguistic forms they highlight. They inhabit a dialogical relationship with social formations, simultaneously reflecting and producing forms of salient difference, often across multiple scales. As such, standardization processes are critical sites for the analysis of emerging systems of difference and domination. Written texts, which often serve as exemplars of standard forms, against which speech or other texts are judged, are frequently emblematic of broader forms of regimentation or change. Consequently, studies of non-standard or vernacular writing and of non-written textual media, such as videos, provide insight into both the power and limits of standardization projects (Blommaert 2008, Cody 2009, Hull 2003, Noy 2008). Our papers analyze texts from a range of modalities, media platforms, and geographic scales to trace the implications of standardization in digitally mediated space. Our presentations analyze the consumption and circulation of emails that aim to cross national and institutional boundaries, negotiating belonging through accented writing and orthographic styles among Kenyan youth, SignWriters’ uptake of and resistance to standardization that objectifies kinesthetic and haptic processes of signing, metrics including scalar analysis that are used in discourses about indigenous languages’ endangerment, the production of new types of Indigeneity in the recently digitized WPA publication “Indians at Work”, and scalar shifts in the ideological production of Muslim women’s identities through online forums.

This session would be of particular interest to:
Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students, Those involved in mentoring activities

Organizers:  Chantal M Tetreault (Michigan State University) and Erika G Hoffmann-Dilloway (Oberlin College)

Chairs:  Chantal M Tetreault (Michigan State University)

Discussants:  Laura C Brown (University of Pittsburgh)

1:45 PM
Orthographic Stylization or/As Subversive Claim-Making? Re-Negotiating Standards and Geographies through Digital Writing Practices
Sarah Hillewaert (University of Toronto, Department of Anthropology)

2:00 PM
“Writing What You Feel”: Kinesthetic Language Production and Textual Standardization
Erika G Hoffmann-Dilloway (Oberlin College)

2:15 PM
Circulating Indigeneity: Indians at Work and Discursive Creation of Native North America
Mindy J Morgan (Michigan State University)

2:30 PM
Scaling Endangerment: Globalization and First Nations Languages
Barbra A Meek (University of Michigan Ann Arbor)

2:45 PM
Muslima Political Performances for the Online Umma: Women Activists and Global Islam in the Internet Age
Chantal M Tetreault (Michigan State University)

3:00 PM
Discussant
Laura C Brown (University of Pittsburgh)

3:15 PM
Discussion

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