Special Issue of eVox: Georgetown Working Papers in Language ...

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We shared our project idea with Ron's former students and the responses were .... As Jessop (1997) puts it: All narrativ...


Table of Contents 0. From the Editors (Introduction) ....................................................................................... 3 1. Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis ... 6 Ron Scollon 2. To Start from the Beginning: Conversations with a One Year Old ..................................... 23 Lyn Wright Fogle 3. Ron Scollon and The New Literacy Studies ........................................................................ 26 Virginia Zavala 4. Focus, Literacy, and Power .................................................................................................. 28 Peter Vail 5. The Watch and Maxims of Stance: Tools for Interactional Sociolinguistic Analysis of Discourse Beyond the Face-to-Face ........................................................................................ 30 Margaret Toye 6. Mediated Discourse and Social Interaction: A Reflection ................................................... 32 Sigrid Norris 7. Remembering Ron Scollon through Mediated Discourse ................................................... 34 Tom Randolph 8. Facilitating Intercultural Communication ............................................................................ 36 Anna Marie Trester 9. Intercultural Communication and Ron Scollon: A Reflection ............................................. 38 Yuling Pan 10. Some Issues of Intercultural Communication and the Work of Ron and Suzanne Scollon .................................................................................................................................................. 40 Cecilia Castillo-Ayometzi 11. Ron Scollon and the Little Blue Starbucks Book ............................................................. 43 Najma Al Zidjaly 12. Navigating Maps: Review and personal commentary on Ron Scollon’s (2003) The Dialogist in a Positivist World ................................................................................................. 45 Barbara Soukup 13. Analyzing Language in the Material World ...................................................................... 48 Aida Premivolac 14. How To Do Discourse Analysis: Reflection on Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet .................................................................................................................... 50 Jackie Jia Lou

15. You, too, can be a discourse analyst: A personal review of Analyzing Public Discourse. 53 Alexandra Johnston 16. Narrative Social Analysis and Some Notes on Ron as an Advisor.................................... 55 Andrew Jocuns 17. Musings on “Scollonese” and a Medley of Texts by Ron and Suzie Scollon ................... 57 Ingrid de Saint-Georges 18. Insights Across Disciplines: The Affordances of the Scollons’ Work for a Political Scientist .................................................................................................................................... 60 Guy Shroyer 19. Man on a Ledge: My Last Moments with Ron Scollon ..................................................... 64 Rodney Jones 20. Complete Bibliography of Ron Scollon’s Works .............................................................. 67


eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University.

Introduction Dear Ron: Conversations with a Scholar, Teacher, Mentor and Friend

At Professor Ron Scollon’s retirement party in 2005, we learned that his tenure in the Department of Linguistics at Georgetown University was the longest academic position (1998-2005) he had held in his somewhat nomadic career. Thus, when Ron passed away on January 1, 2009, at the same time as we were deeply saddened, we felt a responsibility to keep his legacy alive at Georgetown and to pass on his intellect, his wisdom and his unique approach to language and discourse to newer students who did not have the chance to take a class with Ron and who might be interested in exploring his work. We first thought of an annotated bibliography. Then, a few cups of tea later, a modest proposal morphed into a more ambitious project of dedicating a special eVox issue to Ron, with a collection of personal essays written by his former students at Georgetown (and beyond), reflecting on the influences of his scholarly work (often with his wife Suzie) and of him as a person. eVox is a particularly suitable forum for such a project because when we started the journal a few years back, Ron was one of our biggest supporters. We shared our project idea with Ron’s former students and the responses were overwhelmingly warm and supportive. Soon we confirmed 15 contributions from Georgetown alumni, who are now spread all over the world, and an invaluable addition by Guy Shroyer, a political scientist who has also found inspiration in his conversations and friendship with Ron and Suzie, and a commentary by Rodney Jones, Ron’s friend and colleague at City University of Hong Kong, who is also a friend to many of Ron’s students at Georgetown. Adding to this amazing ensemble of voices is Ron’s own. After learning about this project, Suzie generously offered to let us include the last lecture that Ron prepared for a conference in Aalborg University in Denmark. In this lecture, Ron returned to his earlier interest in the ethnopoetics of Athabaskan narratives and incorporated it into a comparative approach which changes the Aristotelian lens of narrative social analysis by considering four types of non-Aristotelian narratives (Athabaskan, Chinese, Javanese and Arabic). We intentionally kept everything as was in the original manuscript so that the reader can “hear” Ron speak as he would in person. We are deeply grateful to all of our contributors and to Suzie for making this project possible. In Mediated Discourse Analysis (MDA), one of Ron’s later frameworks, the potential meaning of discourse is activated through action, that is, when it is used. We intend this issue of eVox to be useful as well. Therefore, to make it easier for the readers to pick out conceptual tools for their own research, we will outline in this introduction a few common themes weaving through the collection and provide indexes to individual essays related to specific topics whenever possible. Following Ron’s lecture on narrative social analysis, individual essays are organized in a roughly chronological order, from Lyn Fogle’s discussion (aptly titled “To Start from the Beginning”) of Ron’s contribution to the interactional approach to child language acquisition (Scollon 1976, 1979), to Alexandra Johnston’s introduction of his most recent work in public policy analysis (Scollon 2008) and Andy Jocun’s reflection on Ron’s Aalborg lecture (inter alia). During these thirty some years, Ron’s work and his collaboration with Suzie have contributed to (and in some cases, created) a wide range of fields, including language acquisition (essay by Lyn Fogle), New Literacy Studies (Virginia Zavala; Peter Vail), interactional sociolinguistics (Peter Vail; Margaret Toye); media discourse (Margaret Toye), multimodal discourse analysis (Sigrid Norris), mediated discourse analysis (Tom Randolph, 3

eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University.

Margaret Toye, Sigrid Norris, Najma Al Zidjaly), discourse in place or geosemiotics (Aida Premilovac), constructive epistemology (Barbara Soukup), computer-mediated communication (Najma Al Zidjaly; Jackie Lou), intercultural communication (Anna Marie Trester; Cecilia Castillo-Ayometzi; Yuling Pan), public policy analysis (Alexandra Johnston; Jackie Lou), narrative social analysis (Andy Jocuns), responsive communication (Ingrid de Saint-Georges), political science (Guy Shroyer), and reoccurring in many of these essays, the issue of power and justice in society. Ron’s own interdisciplinary work was fueled by his active reading in and engagement with diverse fields, from philosophy (e.g. Bhaksar) to psychology (e.g. Vygotzky), from literary theory (e.g. Burke) to sociology (e.g. Latour), from semiotics (e.g. Peirce) to geography (e.g. Tuan). More importantly, he shared his broad learning with his students without reservation, explained dense concepts in an accessible manner, and encouraged them to traverse disciplinary boundaries. His eclectic intellectual tastes have also brought up the question about his academic identity, which is directly addressed by a number of contributors to this issue. For Peter Vail, “Ron Scollon was as much an anthropologist as he was a linguist. Especially clear in his Athabaskan research, his work represents a singularly American anthropological tradition in what is perhaps its most thought-provoking branch, Boasian linguistic anthropology.” For Sigrid Norris, “Ron was always – and really always had been – foremost interested in language just like all the other professors there (Georgetown Linguistics).” But as Sigrid further points out, “He firmly believed that language was a part of a whole and that the whole needed to be investigated in order be able to investigate and understand the language used in interaction.” We can in fact trace this perspective all the way back to his earlier work in child language acquisition, in which he concluded “understanding one aspect of language development involved understanding every other aspect of language and development” (Lyn Fogle). To this discussion, Suzie adds: “When I met Ron he was avowedly nonliterate. We did not subscribe to a newspaper for at least 7 years. We sent away all our books. From the time Ron was at Yongsan in 1958 he became concerned with action, reading Nishida and Zen. Being a good student, he learned what his linguistics professors taught him, but from the beginning, as the student says, he was concerned with what Brenda was doing with her ‘words’. When I met Ron he was a musician, and his interest in rhythm was always primary” (email communication). No matter which disciplinary label we assign him, all of the essays in this issue reflect Ron as a scholar who spent his career and life engaged with social issues in the real world and, by his very own example, made us feel hopeful that research on language and discourse can indeed contribute to positive social change. This is clearly seen in Alexandra Johnstone’s introduction of his 2008 book Analyzing Public Discourse, Guy Shroyer’s reflection from the perspective of a political scientist, and Jackie Lou’s summary of his and Suzie’s 2004 book Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet. Moreover, Ron’s belief that discourse analysis can and should be socially relevant is testified by Anna Marie Trester’s projects in intercultural communication training, Cecilia Castillo-Ayometzi’s work with ethnic minorities in a city government and Yuling Pan’s role as a sociolinguist the U.S. Census Bureau. Each essay in this issue is a window into Ron’s massive intellectual mind and, taken collectively, they paint a vivid portrait of him as a teacher, mentor and a friend. Many of our contributors remarked in their essays that Ron had changed their perspectives on the world by challenging us to question what have been taken for granted, for example, the notion of “culture” (Cecilia Castillo-Ayometzi; Yuling Pan), “context” (Guy Shroyer), and “narrative” (Andy Jocuns). He deconstructed these concepts so thoroughly that, as Barbara Soukup put it, Ron not only helped us “think outside the box,” but showed us “how to take the box apart, 4

eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University.

consider its shape and content, and then ask who put the box there in the first place and why.” What made Ron a “master advisor” (Andy Jocuns) was that he encouraged his students to challenge his own ideas (Tom Randolph), welcomed dialogue and gave “his students a voice that made us feel as if we were on par with him” (Andy Jocuns). As a teacher, however, Ron did not tell us how to put the deconstructed pieces together. Instead, he sent his students on a journey of discovery. This journey was often “unsettling” (Barbara Soukup) and seemed like a “wild goose chase” (Andy Jocuns). But by the end, when we found the goose, we realized that Ron had helped us become more independent researchers. We were never left alone on this journey though. Ron was always there, listening and relating to us with a sense of openness and gentle humor (Najma Al Zidjaly; Anna Marie Trester; Ingrid de Saint-Georges). When we went to him (in person or via email) with questions, puzzlement, or frustration, he often told us stories, stories that showed us that he had been there as well, stories that showed us an alternate perspective to view the problem, stories that are remembered and will be retold for generations of students and scholars to come. As much as a collection of retrospective reflections on Ron’s work and life, this special issue is also intended to be anticipatory. As both Tom Randolph and Alexandra Johnston remarked, the singular question that Ron has always been concerned with is “Is this useful?” We hope this special issue will serve as a reference point to those readers who are interested in bringing about positive social change through discourse analysis by making accessible the vast and diverse body of Ron’s lifetime’s work. We hope readers will find in this issue ideas for their own research as our contributors did while working, talking and hiking with Ron. We hope this is a conversation that will be continued. Jackie Jia Lou & Inge Stockburger City University of Hong Kong & Georgetown University October 26, 2009


eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University.

Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis Lecture prepared for Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark

Ron Scollon The critical realist (Bhaskar) position takes it that there are objects (including humans) in the world which exist quite independently of our accounts of those objects. When we turn the focus to human (social) action, however, we find that our analyses work on raw materials which consist of accounts of actions. The view I take is that accounts are no less real, but they are inevitably multiple in every instance. Consequently, analysis of human action must give central theoretical attention to the production of the accounts which lie at the foundation of that analysis (Burke 1945; Scollon and Scollon (2004). This includes both the accounts of participants in the focal actions and the accounts of those actions given by analysts. Narrative social analysis is now a fruitful framework for the study of social action used in fields as disparate as urban design (Jensen and Richardson2004), political science (Jessop 1997; Miller 2007), organizational studies (Czarniawska 2004) and linguistics (Johnstone 2001). Nevertheless, there is a latent or perhaps more manifest problem with such analyses. With rare exceptions the concept of narrative used in such research is what Gardiner (1991) refers to as Aristotelian profluence. As Jessop (1997) puts it: All narratives…have three key elements: (a) a selective appropriation of past events and forces; (b) a temporal sequence with a beginning, middle, and end; (c) and a relational emplotment of the events and forces and their connection to some overarching structure which permits some causal and moral lessons to be drawn. p 30. As a corrective to this Greco-Euro centric view of narrative, in this lecture I will elaborate five highly contrastive forms of narrative: 1. Aristotelian profluence (Gardner 1991), 2. episodic repetition characteristic of folk tales the world over, 3. ‘the turn’ characteristic of Chinese narratives such as found in The Dream of the Red Chamber, 4. ‘wayang’ as found in Javanese shadow theater (Becker 1979), and 5. ‘entropic nomadic’ characteristic of Chipewyan and other Athabaskan groups in native North America (S Scollon 1982, Witherspoon 1977). I will argue three points. First, while it is possibly the case that people who live within the Greco-Euro cultural space do actually act within Aristotelian narrative modes, in every case I have examined this is a completely pre-theoretical assumption imposed upon whatever data the analysts are using. This needs to be theoretically examined and tested. Second, whenever the data being analysed cross over into other cultural domains such as in European – African refugee aid analysis, it should be assumed that things do not operate within assumed narrative structures. Much translation work needs to be done to simply understand the basic underlying assumptions about accounts of actions of all parties. Third, because of the first two points, until further theorization and analysis is done it must be assumed that to simply apply an Aristotelian profluence analysis constitutes an unacceptable degree of pre-theoretical forced shaping of an analysis.

Speaking here in Aalborg is always a pleasure. I’ve been here now several times and must admit that on each occasion I have found myself shifting away from the idea that I was here to say something to others while I was shifting toward the idea that I am here to learn something. Such has been my experience working with Paul McIlvenny and Pirkko Raudaskoski and others here, most recently including Ole Jensen as my own interests have moved toward trying to see how language is materially located in the spaces and places we inhabit. I have never failed to come away from Aalborg with a conceptual suitcase full of newly acquired goodies that I have enjoyed unpacking and playing with when I got home. I expect this visit will be all the more intellectually rewarding because the occasion is this

eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Suzie Wong Scollon.

Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis

conference. And I see my role in it as just showing everybody my nearly empty suitcase in the hopes that I’ll be rewarded with yet more ideas for things I might fill it with. NARRATIVE: SMALL, MEDIUM OR LARGE? Today I want to talk about two things. Or it might be better to say I want to talk about one thing but at two different levels. The one thing I want to talk about is how we interpret accounts of action in making social analysis. You could say I want to talk about narrative, but narrative is a huge topic and I really want to focus much more narrowly. But there are two levels I might use to talk about narrative. Let me start with a brief example. In a news story about the City of Kirkuk in Iraq on the PBS Newshour program on this past July 28th, Peter Galbraith commented: there's a real sense of grievance on the part of the Kurds and many of the Turkmen over the history. And there's no shared narrative as to who this city and province really belong to (Galbraith 2008).

I’m interested in the phrase ‘shared narrative’. There are a few things here we could think about. The first is concerning Galbraith’s point. We could argue over whether or not there is a shared narrative among the Kurds and the Turkmen over who the city of Kirkuk and its province belong to. I think it’s fair to say that most social analysis is carried out at that level. We pretty much assume we know what it means to speak of a ‘shared narrative’. And I certainly don’t want to say that this is wrong or inappropriate. It’s how we talk and these are major issues on which global security rides. But the substance of the analysis is not what I want to talk about here. I’m a linguist and even though I might have a lot of opinions about Iraq or about Kirkuk, I’m speaking to you as a linguist and if I have anything useful to say, I think it should rest on my experience as a linguist, not on my personal views about Iraq or Kirkuk or Mr Galbraith for that matter. And so it is the linguistic problem I want to address here and that problem comes at two levels. The first level is simply trying to answer the question: What does it mean to talk about two parties in a dispute having a ‘shared narrative’. In other words: What’s a narrative in the first place? Now this isn’t a general question about narrative that we might ask a literary theorist or the man on the street about. When I ask ‘what’s a narrative’ I mean to ask: What is a narrative as an analytical tool for conducting social analysis? What is it that gives some bite to the analysis that has to do with narrative? Is narrative just a fancier word for ‘story’? And, for that matter, is ‘story’ just another way of talking about something like ‘what they say about the situation?’ And if it’s that trivial a use of the idea of narrative, does Galbraith really just mean, ‘There’s no agreement about who the city and province really belong to’? In other words, if a social analyst is just using the idea of narrative to dandy up his speech in public discourse, we should not worry too much about it; it’s just a basic question of speech style. We all know what he means anyway. A linguist can just go back to listening to the news broadcast and worry about Iraq. There’s enough to worry about there without fretting over linguistic questions too. And some uses of ‘narrative’ are just too silly for even a linguist to worry about. Eric Alterman (2008) lamented in the Guardian online what he called ‘The media’s myopic obsession with campaign narratives over events of real significance.’ In a story covering the Clinton – Obama struggle for nomination as the presidential candidate for the Democratic Party, he cites ABC news’s ‘The Note’ from the day before. He quotes ABC news as 7

Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis

saying, ‘Clinton heads to Nevada on Thursday with the campaign narrative gusting at her back’. Alterman continues quoting the ABC news story when it, in turn cites J Patrick Coolican of the Las Vegas Sun who wrote, ‘Clinton is now the protagonist in a new national narrative.’ Nowhere does one find any concrete suggestion of just what a narrative might be even at the most basic level of a story. Nowhere do we get any of the contents of any of these narratives. We see from the lead that narratives contrast with ‘events of real significance’. We see from the Coolican quotation that the American nation has a narrative, a new one at that. But I am at a complete loss to understand how a campaign narrative may gust at anyone’s back. What in the world is that supposed to mean? The way I see it, these uses of ‘narrative’ can be fairly easily set aside. These writers are using the word ‘narrative’ rather loosely now that it’s become a catchy way of talking about events in the world. In contrast some social analysts really do mean to be talking about narrative and it’s their work I want to focus on. These social analysts are using the idea of narrative – narrative as a form of discourse, narrative as a genre, narrative as a formal linguistic structure to bring something to the argument of the public discourse and to the social analysis made of the argument. Derek Miller is someone who uses narrative in this more formal way. In his recent book, Media pressure on foreign policy (Miller 2007) he makes it quite explicit how he uses the idea of narrative in his analytical work. His central interest is in what John Gardner (1991) calls ‘profluence’. Miller reviews Garner’s point as follows: Gardner defines the term ‘profluence’ (which comes from Aristotle) as, ‘[o]ur sense, as we read, that we are “getting somewhere.”’ (Gardner 1991:20) [Gardner] then goes on to explain, the conventional kind of profluence—though other kinds are possible—is a casually [sic] related sequence of events. This is the root interest of all conventional narrative . . . . What the logical progress of an argument is to non-fiction, event-sequence is to fiction. Page 1, even if it’s a page of description, raises questions, suspicions, and expectations; the mind casts forward to later pages, wondering what will come about and how (1991:21)

The central idea of a story, then, is the narrative progression of events that are all causally linked through argument, or event sequence, and are unified around some central, unresolved tension that creates curiosity in the reader or listener. What this in turn implies is that ‘the story’ is best identified by looking not at its characters or scenarios, but by the unresolved tension that functions as the unifying theme of all that transpires. (Miller 2007:58,59) Miller uses narrative as a serious analytical construct. He defines narrative by reference to Aristotle through Gardner. This is something like the way narrative is used by Carroll (2007) when he writes in the opening paragraph of commentary, If Columbus is the beginning of the story, and, say, Lincoln is the middle, what is the end? Each episode of the American narrative surfaced a problem, which prompted attempts to resolve it, which led in turn to a new problem. This movement from problem to resolution to new problem and ever new efforts to fix things is what makes the American story great.

Carroll concludes his commentary as follows: Does all of this reveal a deeper flaw in our moral narrative itself? After all, we say today that our story began with Columbus. But what about the ones who welcomed him?

In this commentary Carroll uses the Aristotelian idea of narrative in which there is a beginning, a complicating middle, and then a concluding resolution. Though he doesn’t get 8

Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis

explicit about the profluence, that is, he doesn’t make clear what the narrative tension is to which he alludes in his closing comment, perhaps we could infer that in this American narrative the tension that produces profluence lies in the space between the aboriginal inhabitants of the continent and the European-based occupation. ARISTOTLE AND URBAN BRANDING Among those who have been most clear in how they are using the idea of narrative in their social analysis is the urban designer and Aalborg’s own Professor Ole Jensen. With degrees in political science, sociology, and planning, Professor Jensen works in the Department of Architecture and Design, Urban Design, and Urban Planning and Mobility. In recent writing Jensen (Jensen 2007, Jensen and Richardson 2004, Jensen and Thomsen 2006) has described and made excellent use of what he refers to as the narrative turn in planning and social theory. He mentions others such as Barbara Eckstein and James Throgmorton (2003), Ruth Finnegan (1998) and Leonie Sandercock (2003) who are also taking this turn along with him as well as Barbara Czarniawska whose book Narratives in Social Science Research (2004) makes it clear that this narrative turn is a serious interest in using narrative as an analytical tool across a wide range of research in the social sciences. It is characteristic of Jensen’s writing that he begins his paper ‘Culture Stories: Understanding Urban Branding’ (2007) by laying out quite clearly what he means by narrative. To do this Jensen calls upon Jessop’s (1997) definition. Like all narratives, [public narratives] have three key elements: (a) a selective appropriation of past events and forces; (b) a temporal sequence with a beginning, middle, and end; (c) and a relational emplotment of the events and forces and their connection to some overarching structure which permits some causal and moral lessons to be drawn (1997: 30).

Of course Jessop’s definition of narrative is essentially the Aristotelian narrative arc including not just the three-part structure but also the idea of what Gardner (1991) calls profluence – a tension which moves the story along toward crisis and resolution. The focus of Jensen’s analysis are two competing stories about the same place. The two stories Jensen juxtaposes both begin in the defunct industrial area along the harbor of the City of Aalborg. The two stories then diverge. In the Municipal story the cultural center is developed in the second stage. The end resolves with Aalborg having a newly achieved highculture status among small cities in Europe. The opposition story is more complex. Beginning in the same defunct industrial area, the second stage in the story is the development of green spaces and mixed residence and services. At the point we join these evolving stories, this second stage has been lost by the opposition – the cultural center is going ahead toward completion. This, then, entails only the third stage which is an end in tragedy, further entrenchment of elitist and power interests. Jensen’s method of analysis does not rest at mere description nor does it rest at a merely analytical account of the cultural urban branding of the new ‘culture hub’ of the City of Aalborg, Denmark. His approach is to consider narrating and story-making to be actions of specific agents such as the Aalborg Municipality (in the persons of a City Alderman, City Council Member, or the Aalborg Municipal website) and members of a ‘local community organization’. In the discourse of the Municipality, the two representations (the now defunct industrial district on the harbor front and the planned cultural and university center, the House of Music) at the first level are narrated into a simple ‘before and after’ sequence: Before it was industrial but now it will be a cultural center. Then at the next level they are 9

Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis

put on a storyline of lower levels (industry) to higher levels (music, architecture) of culture. Then at the level of discourse, this storyline is set within a discourse of contemporary shifts from manufacturing to an international discourse of ‘interurban competition and branding based upon new cultural strategies and plan-making’ (p. 17). In contrast and in direct conflict with this story-making is the storyline of the ‘local community organization’ which begins with agreement on the fundamental representations and with their narration into a sequence. At this point, however, the storylines diverge as the resistance to the Municipal plan puts these narrated events on a storyline of elitist capturing of shared municipal space for the exclusive use of more wealthy and powerful citizens. It is the storyline of a power grab, not one of municipal improvement. Jensen’s use of narrative/story analysis is insightful and clarifies much about how actions taken by social actors in positions of power come to achieve their commonsense and naturalized position. Pehaps we are not surprised when we come to the end with the discouraging conclusion that, from the point of view of the opposition, there’s nothing to be done. The story is too powerful, too naturalized, and too strongly embedded in the enabling discourse of interurban competition and branding for any opposition to find space for the continued production of a competing story. Now what I want to consider is whether this story could be told in any other way. Is it possible to narrate these representations not just as a different storyline but on the basis of an entirely different narrative foundation. You will have guessed that my question was rhetorical and so my answer is that, yes, we can do that and, further, it is important for us to learn how to do just this contrastive narrative storytelling. What is needed are not just new stories for old discourses but entirely new story structures. Now the obvious question is: How do we find and learn to use not just new narratives but new narrative structures? My answer is that it is very fruitful to look outside of the Western Aristotelian narrative tradition and see how other people put their stories together. OTHER PEOPLE, OTHER KINDS OF NARRATIVE When I started I said I had two concerns. At the first level I wanted to try to understand how analysts are using the idea of narrative in social analysis. I think it is clear that there are two trends going on but only one of them is really serious about it. Derek Miller and Ole Jensen as well as the others I’ve mentioned and many more are looking into social phenomena through the lens of narrative analysis. They are looking for the positing of narrative tensions and then their trajectories of complication until a resolution is achieved. Further, they are showing how such an analysis sheds some light on how structures of power enable some narratives and not others. That is very important and useful work, but it’s not my main interest. Or I should say there’s a prior question we need to address. This is main my interest: a larger, more difficult, but logically prior question: What happens when we begin to realize that the narrative structure used by Miller, Jensen and others is a local phenomenon with a particular history in the rhetorical and philosophical historical trajectories of very specific cultures? What happens when we begin to realize that the Aristotelian narrative arc is not, in fact, the universal skeleton of all stories but a rather tightly fitted lens which makes it extremely difficult for us to see any other realities? It would be easiest if I could just step up and help you take off this Aristotelian lens and assist you in fitting another one, and then another one after that, and so on until you’d seen the much richer panoply of narrative shapes the world’s languages and cultures offer us. But that is very difficult. You are likely to have learned quite a bit about Aristotelian poetics somewhere back in your schooling and so I’m guessing that you will be fairly familiar with what I have


Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis

already said. And then what I need to do is to outline a few other ways in which narrative is structured as people construct stories of the world. First I’ll look at narratives as used by the Athabaskan people who live in Native North America, I’ll follow that with a look at Chinese narrative. That will be followed with Javanese Shadow Puppet Theatre performances and then, finally, narratives in the Arabic-speaking world. But that won’t give you the view-through-the lens that you really need to begin to believe me on your own evidence. I’m afraid I can’t do what’s really needed in the short time I have left today. About the best I can hope to do is just to raise in your minds the real possibility that using the idea of narrative as a tool for social analysis might be seriously problematical or at least very limiting whenever social or cultural circumstances come together in which relevant parties are viewing some social events through different narrative lenses. When China and the US sit down to discuss trade imbalances, I’d argue that the central question is not: Do they have a shared narrative? The central question is the deeper one: Do they have a shared idea of what a narrative is? You will have probably guessed as well that this lecture is a kind of trailer for the movie, a ‘coming attractions’ that I hope will whet your appetite (and mind) for the real thing which will be, I hope, a full-length book on the subject of narrative in social analysis. In preparing this talk I have realized that I would need to write at book length in order to have the space to lay out the argument in fuller detail, to give somewhat extended examples, and to point the reader to the main literature covering contrastive cultural narrative analysis. For now I’m afraid the best I can do is just raise the problem. Now a few more caveats before moving ahead. One problem I face in this task is common to anyone who seeks to draw a generalization about something as rich as narrative in any culture. With enough detail and nuance, it comes to seem that anything can be narrative; narrative can be anything. One version of that line of thinking is to say, ‘You focus on the narrative arc in Aristotle’s poetics. Yes, of course, but that was a long time ago and nowadays we can do almost anything with a narrative. Haven’t you even read Vonnegut or John Fowles or seen the Muppet Movie where characters read the novels they are themselves part of?’ Well, yes, I have and I’d say Cervantes got that down in the Second Book of Don Quixote quite some time ago as far as that goes. My answer to that is direct: I am not engaged in literary criticism and history here. We have abundant evidence that for all the critical interrogation of the idea of narrative in literature, the Aristotelian narrative arc and profluence is still the dominant idea of narrative in ‘the West’. In mystery novels, popular fiction, Hollywood film scripts, and, as I’ve suggested, in social analysis the idea of the Aristotle profluent narrative arc is the dominant template by which analysts are working. It is largely asserted as the universal definition of a narrative. Another problem which is a little harder to fend off is the invidious comparison. So often a comparison is made simply to illustrate the superiority of one of the positions being compared. And so it can happen that comments about the Aristotelian narrative arc are taken to mean that western narrative fiction is somewhat superior to any other form of narrrative and so, consequently, saying somebody else does it differently is to try to take them down a notch or two. It is not unlike asking: What kind of a car is a bicycle? It’s missing two wheels, has no engine, the driver has to supply all of the power, it tends to tip over when it goes slow and yet it can never go as fast as a car. A bicycle is a poor substitute for a car in this invidious comparison. Nothing could be farther from my goal here. My goal is to elaborate our thinking about narrative so that we will have richer resources to draw from when we use narrative as a tool in making social analyses. In my view it enriches our range of analytical tools to understand that while there are narratives which work through processes of sequence, 11

Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis

narrative tension, and the resolution of tension, there are also narratives which may take a wide variety of forms and with differing ways of leading toward a conclusion. I want to take a rich interpretation of a sort of Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. I want to think that if any human culture is capable of structuring their world in a particular way, all human culture can do it. What’s at stake isn’t whether or not we can come to understand narrative in non-Aristotelian ways. We can and regularly do. The question I want to pursue is whether we can come to enrich our narrative social analysis, first, by taking other narrative traditions seriously enough to study them and then, second, to bring that knowledge back into our own social analyses to see what kinds of things we might have been missing. To do this I will give all too brief sketches of four other narrative traditions beginning with Athabaskan narrative. ETHNOPOETIC FORM IN ATHABASKAN NARRATIVE Athabaskan people form a language and cultural complex which extends from above the Arctic Circle in Alaska and Canada downward along the mountain cordilleras of the North American continent to northern Mexico. The most famous language groups are the Navajos and the Apaches in the continental Southwest. Our own work encompasses the Chipewyan, Gwich’in, Koyukon, and Tanacross languages and includes primary recording of oral narratives, transcription, linguistic and ethnopoetic analysis, and translation into English. I am starting here with these Northern Athabaskan languages focusing on Chipewyan because this is the narrative tradition I know best through my own direct studies. But I am also starting here because this is a narrative tradition in which ethnopoetic form is pre-eminent. While you’ll be unfamiliar with Athabaskan narrative it is like beginning a study of narrative through studying narrative in the poetry of Spenser, Shakespeare, Keats, or Yeats where poetic form provides the most salient structure of profluence. You know you’re getting on toward the end because you’ve only gone 11 lines. Athabaskan is my oldest and most enduring love in both linguistic and narrative analysis and so I am tempted to linger here and enjoy myself. Sadly, I’ve learned over the years that the ethnopoetics of Athabaskan narratives is an enthusiasm which is largely not shared by others so I will be brief and stick to the essentials. On a good summer day at Fort Chipewyan, Alberta we took a car load of kids out to the lake to play on the beach and in the water. There were lots of activities and adventures in the course of the few hours we spent there. On the way back in the car all of the kids were talking at once about what they’d been doing when one piped up and said, ‘Mara, make it a story!’ Mara, a ten year old, said, ‘O.K.’, and all the kids fell silent to listen. Mara went on, ‘Once we went to Allison Bay….’ and continued on with a full-blown narrative of the trip from leaving town to our return and the moment she was in just then, the telling of the story. I tell this story to make a few points about Athabaskan storytelling and Athabaskan narrative. First of all, it’s a skill known and practiced by everybody though some like Mara are known to be very good at it. Second, telling a story is a way to organize experience, and not esoteric experience either. It’s often the immediate experience of everybody present right there and then. Third, listeners take on their role as listeners with the same alacrity with which Mara took on her role as story teller. Fourth, social cohesion is a primary goal in story telling. Finally, narratives are formally structured with careful opening and closing narrative frames as well as formal cohesive words, phrases, pauses, and rhythms throughout. That’s the ethnopoetics part of it. Although I can’t show you in the few minutes we have here, Athabaskan stories are as formal in structure as a Shakespearean sonnet with its 14 lines of 5foot iambic pentameter and its specific line-rhyming scheme, abab/cdcd/efef/gg 12

Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis

It is important to emphasize that even though I am basing my comments here on Athabaskan, even more specifically on Chipewyan narratives, this ethnopoetic formality has been described for many other, perhaps we could risk saying all, Native American/First Nation people by Melville Jacobs, Dell Hymes, Gary Snyder, Dennis Tedlock, Richard Dauenhauer, Robert Bringhurst and still many others. In my view this ethnopoetic elegance and formality is the big discovery about Native American/First Nation languages since the first descriptions of their complex phonologies and grammars by Boas, Bloomfield, and Sapir two or three generations ago. But I can’t dally here and so I just have to hope that you’ll at least accept my statement at face value that Athabaskan narratives are pre-eminently poetic. I will try to give you some details of that form and then make a few suggestions about how this might shed some light on narrative more generally for the purposes of narrative social analysis. Athabaskan narratives are explicitly and formally framed with opening prologues and closing epilogues. You always know when somebody is telling a story. Prologues vary, of course, across a range of formulaic initials: ‘People were camping,’ ‘There was a man named Old Axe,’ ‘Once I made a canoe,’ ‘There was a boy whose body was covered with scabs,’ ‘Once a man went out hunting,’ ‘A man was walking along,’ or, as Mara put it, ‘Once we went to Allison Bay.’ Stories are closed with a return to camp or at least a return to the state of the characters at the time of the opening prologue, ‘They returned to camp,’ ‘And Old Axe lived with the people,’ ‘I used that canoe for a long time,’, or ‘The boy was handsome and led the people.’ As the final punctuation there is a word such as sni in Chipewyan: ‘It is said.’ Having such clear openings and closings in many ways obviates the Aristotelian concern with profluence, with what moves the story along. Still this does not mean that Athabaskan narratives are without internal cohesion. Far from it. There is an elaborate system of lines, verses, stanzas, scenes, acts, and parts. Each of these levels of structure is marked, not by rhyme or counting of lines but with pauses, and formal markers. For example, the words ’εkúú, kúú, húú, hú, and ú may all be translated ‘and then’ but they mark five hierarchical levels of the structure. These discourse markers bracket narrative units and then within those units there is a system of anaphoric and cataphoric reference which buttresses that analysis as narrative units. One aspect of Athabaskan narrative, like the narratives described by the other ethnopoetic analysts I’ve mentioned, is the use of pattern number. We are familiar with the Aristotelian dictum of threes – beginning, middle, and end. It’s everywhere from movies to sermons, folktales like Golidlocks and the Three Bears to journalistic accounts of US history. And so non-Athabaskan people encountering Athabaskan narratives are comfortable with the places where the story uses a 3-part pattern. Unfortunately, Athabaskan stories also use 4part and 5-part patterns and this leaves non-Athabaskans puzzled over where the extra parts came from or what they are doing within the story. To anticipate my conclusion just a bit, I’d like to suggest that most of the narratives we encounter in the world cannot easily be made to fit an Aristotelian tripartite structure. Why not just learn to accept stories in four or five parts as well? The only requirement is the patience to keep listening after the third part closes. Before leaving Athabaskan narratives I need to say something about how narratives function because it seems to me that within narrative social analysis as I understand it, most often the focus is on how narratives work to do things and that mostly amounts to organizing power on the side of the storytellers. There’s relatively little interest in or even evidence of analysis of the structures of the narratives themselves.


Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis

In Athabaskan narratives one finds a wide range of themes which appear across different narratives with great regularity. Hidden prowess is revealed so that ugly or weak characters are revealed to be actually powerful and strong; the people who recognize this are rewarded. There is a permanent state of war with enemies and within that it is always good to kill an enemy. Trickery is an important war skill but it is improper manners to just injure the enemy and leave them for others to kill; that’s no fun at all. We also see that individuals with special powers are necessary for the society but their powers are dangerous. There is a widely found theme that people with special powers – mostly men but not necessarily so can kill, they can take multiple partners, and they don’t work but this is in exchange for leading the band and especially for successful hunting. I think it is important first to recognize these recurrent themes as cultural premises being articulated by the storytellers, but not to consider them the narratives themselves. In other words, I think it is important and useful for narrative social analysis to make a distinction between narrative and premise. A premise can be called out by simple reference or may even be presupposed. I’d like to think that a narrative takes some telling. Which brings me to my final point about Athabaskan narrative telling. Narratives are told to transmit cultural knowledge – things such as how to hunt wolves, bears, or beaver and how to make canoes. They are also told to make cultural premises explicit and vivid for listeners. Mostly, however, everybody knows both the premises and the stories. As we will see with classical Arabic narrative rhetoric, narratives are not told to make a case or build an argument or to transform the world through imagination. They function for Athabaskans to reiterate and ramify what it is assumed is already known or at least should be known. The best telling of a story is, in fact, simply an allusion to it. The ‘teller’ says ‘Raven Head,’ and the listener nods knowingly and says nothing, but it is understood that someone has been behaving badly and is courting danger by doing so. I say this to bring out the idea that narrative social analysis may well need to focus on the multiple functions of narratives. As Haviland (2008) writes in his article aptly subtitled ‘Plurifunctional narratives,’ a narrative may be told as an exercise in power through forcing a favorable representation of actions of some social actors, but it may also be told to authorize given cultural premises, or, for that matter, simply to entertain and make the time pass. There seems to me a danger in either treating narratives as monofunctional on the one hand or in setting aside as uninteresting narratives which do not fit one’s a priori functional scheme. What does this all say about narrative social analysis? Or what can we take away from this brief excursion through Athabaskan ethnopoetic narrative structure? First of all, in practice narrative social analysts probably should not be overly worried about all of the ins and outs of ethnopoetic structure. We can see, though, that most narrative social analysis begins in medias res, in the middle of things. We don’t bring narrative analysis to bear on social issues until the story is fairly well underway, perhaps most often not until there’s a crises to be dealt with. Put another way, narrative social analysis is largely retrospective to begin with and then anticipatory. It might be well to search around for actual prologues and to learn to recognize them when they first occur. In the second place it seems that much could be learned by looking for the structural ways in which narratives gain cohesion. At the level of social issues structural cohesion could well lie in such places as legislative or legal procedures. A narrative which has no structural forms of cohesion may well be a narrative which cannot be told. It may often be more important to know how do we get from this minor episode to the next one than to have any grasp of an overriding and grander narrative. This suggests cautions which we might be on the lookout for. For example, profluence may not be based at all on the inherent tension among characters or actions or events. That tension could easily be a side-effect of procedural structures rather than the 14

Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis

cause of forward movement. I did some work with the US Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service. This is the agency which sells and maintains leases for resource development offshore. In the specific case I worked with, the Minerals Management Service sold leases for oil companies to drill in the Beaufort Sea offshore of Alaska in the Arctic Ocean. The long legal process began with an announcement in the Federal Register of the schedule of leasing auctions. It was over two years from when the process had been set in motion, Environmental Impact Statements had been publicly vetted, Environmental Assessments had been made in response to those Statements, and government permission was legally granted for the oil exploration to go ahead before activists opposed to this action took notice and began working against the drilling in the Beaufort Sea. The profluence in this case was a lengthy set of legal procedures. The abundant narrative tensions between environmental groups and oil companies, between Alaska Native groups in the area, between the Alaska government and the Federal government over sharing out of expenses and royalties, and many others were the heart of media attention to the issue but they were using a structure of Aristotelian profluence, not a structure of episodic but cohesive linked narrative structures. The difference was not at root a lack of shared narratives; it was a lack of shared structures of profluence. EXISTENTIAL FLUX IN CHINESE NARRATIVE My ground becomes less substantial as I go along here; at least that is true concerning my own levels of expertise and experience. As I turn to Chinese narrative I am not completely ignorant, but close. I do read Chinese and have heard in person many narratives both in Chinese and as told by Chinese people in English. But when it comes down to it, I have read just one full length novel in Chinese, the 18th century Rulin Waishi of Wu Jingzi. This is known in English as The Scholars. I have also read portions of the 18th century Hong Lou Meng of Cao Xueqin in Chinese. This is known variously as The Dream of the Red Chamber or A Dream of Red Mansions or as I have read it, in the full length novel version in English under the title of The Story of the Stone. All five volumes of it. Also I have read the 16th century Xi You Ji in part in Chinese and then in English. This is the highly popular Journey to the West, also known in Arthur Waley’s translation as Monkey. That’s relatively slim pickins for scholarship and so here I’ve also had to rely on the scholarly literature about these works as well as about Chinese narrative. Andrew W. Plaks has been particularly useful. Events and non-events The most obvious first mystery is why are the popular English versions so short and the Chinese versions, or for that matter the newer full English versions so long? For years the Dream of the Red Chamber circulated in a single English volume, a small paperback. Then new translations came out, one in five paperback volumes and another in three hefty volumes of 500 plus pages each. Arthur Waley’s Monkey was a single paperback; The Journey to the West comes out in four volumes, some 1858 pages in total. It’s clear that the translators have at first worked it out that somewhere between 3/4ths and 4/5ths of the original just won’t work with English readers. Why not? There is in western literary civilization, according to Plaks (1977), a tendency to conceive of human existence in terms of a continuous succession of events in time, with the resulting sense of the event as a quasi-substantive entity, the stuff of which existence is made....In contrast to this general reification of the event as a narrative 15

Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis

unit, the Chinese tradition has tended to place nearly equal emphasis on the overlapping of events, the interstitial spaces between events, in effect on non-events alongside of events in conceiving of human experience in time (1977:315). It is difficult when you see it from within this Western sense of events to really make out what Plaks means by ‘non-events’, but he mentions at least static descriptions, set speeches, and discursive digressions among them. There are also a host of poetic forms from outright full poems by prestigious authors to poems presumably written by characters in the story, often quite minor characters at that. Or there are endless banquets with talk all around, very little of which does more than pass the evening for the characters and dozens of pages for the reader. A Western reader, if I can take myself as an example, comes to these non-events and thinks, ‘O.K., I can safely skip this and pick up the story a bit later.’ I’ll admit that it’s much like the reader of the Iliad who feels it’s safe to skip the catalog of the ships. Two things are important in these reader responses to much of what is told in a Chinese narrative. First, a Western reader feels there is both a superabundance of detail and little episodes and other extraneous material and at the same time the reader feels there is rather skimpy emplotment and character development. Second, Chinese readers love these stories in their full mix of ‘events’ and ‘non-events’. Plaks refers to the relationship between these two event-units as a ‘logical relation of non-dialectical dualism’ (1977:316). Building on this relationship Plaks writes that in contrast to the Aristotelian emphasis on unity, Given the logic of interrelated and overlapping categories that service as the underpinning of traditional Chinese aesthetics, it is not surprising that the notion of artistic unity was never canonized as a central critical principle (1977:331).

What’s crucial, he argues, is not the overarching emplotment but the ‘interweaving, or ‘dovetailing’ of episodes and smaller units’ (1977:334). He continues, While the aesthetic impulses of the art do not demand a unitary coherence imposed from the outside, as it were, by an overall design of narrative shape, the successful work does hold together as an aesthetic unit on the basis of internal interconnecting links between episodes—the mortar between the bricks (1977:334).

He goes on to say, The idea that the aesthetic coherence of Chinese narrative is to be perceived in the interstitial, rather than the architectonic, dimension is not unrelated to the point made earlier about the conception of the event as the radical unit of human experience in different cultural spheres. Since in Chinese narrative, as in Chinese philosophy, existence is conceived of in terms of overlapping patterns of ceaseless alternation and cyclical recurrence, it follows that any attempt to mimetically reduce that experience to discrete models—mythic or geometric plots such as lend themselves to the aesthetic sense of unified narrative shape—would appear erroneous from the very start (1977:334).

Plaks clarifies by saying that what he is referring to is the view of phenomenal flux underlying the Book of Changes, philosophical Taoism, yinyang and five-elements cosmology, Sinicized Buddhism, and hence Sung-Ming NeoConfucian metaphysics—in other words, the logical underpinnings of the entire literary civilization (1977:335).


Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis

He uses two terms ‘complementary bipolarity’ and ‘multiple periodicity’ to characterize this continual existential flux in Chinese thought and narrative. Complementary bipolarity refers to ‘the ubiquitous patterns of waxing and waning, or ebb and flow,’ whereas multiple periodicity refers to the various conceptual schemes originally derived from the seasonal cycle but eventually abstracted to apply to sequences of five, twelve, sixtyfour, or other numbers of terms (1977:335)….what we observe in the structural patterning of Chinese narrative is an interminable overlapping—a dense web of intermingled events and non-events that obviates any sense of unilinear plot development and hence clouds the perception of artistic unity (1977:337).

One consequence of this is that Chinese narratives tend to reach a climax—or a logical end-point—long before the literal terminus of the book….Following such a point, the often voluminous remainder of the works lags on as a sort of lame-duck narrative section, in which the central vision of the author gradually peters out, fades away, or changes its focus….This impression is particularly strong in those works in which we experience a gradual gathering of actors onto the stage: the robber band, the maidens in the garden, the harem of beauties, the defenders of legitimate succession, followed by their steady, inexorable dispersion through death, departure, or perhaps the author’s loss of interest (1977:338-339).

This existential flux was most strongly brought home to me in my reading of The Scholars. The book opens with a chapter which introduces several characters and an event which set a tone and frame for the book. Unfortunate for an Aristotelian reading those characters and that event are never mentioned again. Beginning in Chapter Two there is a steady waxing and waning and interweaving of characters and events. Typically a crisis arises involving a few characters. As the sense of crisis strengthens, other characters come knocking at the door or board the boat drifing down the river. Those characters then become involved with some of the original group while at the same time some of the original characters leave, disembark or, in fact, just disappear from narrative view. The crisis is forgotten in the heat of a new problem developing among the new constellation of characters. And so it continues through Chapter Fifty-Four by which time one has no memory of the cast of characters one has met through the intervening chapters. It does not matter; they will not return. Finally, as the book itself says for Chapter Fifty-Five, ‘four new characters are introduced to link the past with the present, and the story ends with an epilogue’ (Wu 1973:5). While this existential flux sounds much like my own life or perhaps even yours, we need to remember that this is not a mere chronology of either a particular life or a particular place, it is a carefully crafted extended literary novel which has been very popular in the two and a half centuries since it was first published. It is still widely known today. There is much more which could be said about Chinese narrative. Much more. And I hope that those whose expertise is greater than mine will forgive my simplifications here. My only point from the aspect of narrative social analysis is that Chinese narratives may be strikingly divergent from proto-typical Aristotelian narratives. No narrative arcs. No tripartite structure. And certainly no profluence based on increasing tension and its resolution. On the other hand with just this rough guide in mind one could see how a Chinese narrative social analyst might be considerably more flexible in developing an analysis of the give and take, in fact the existential flux, of day-to-day sociopolitical action.


Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis

COINCIDENT EPISTEMOLOGIES IN JAVANESE WAYANG NARRATIVE That’s three narrative traditions now—Aristotelian, Athabaskan, and Chinese. Shouldn’t it be enough? It’s a nice Aristotelian number to have three of them to compare. But I’m not willing to let my argument rest there, partly because I want to give you the experience of a pattern number of five rather than three—yes, I know, it seems like I’m going on longer than I should at this point. But I also want to briefly introduce two more aspects of narrative which I think are very important to my overall concern with narrative social analysis. The first of these comes from Javanese shadow theater, or ‘wayang’ narratives as Pete Becker (A L Becker 1979) writes about them. The second point comes from Barbara Johnstone’s (1983) writing about Arabic narratives. In each case I will focus on just a few points which we can make use of for narrative social analysis. Becker begins his study of Javanese shadow theater wayang narratives by making a comparison to Aristotelian expectations as I have done here. He argues that the basic constraints in Aristotelian narrative structure—unity, completeness, temporal sequence and causality—are rooted in the iconic understanding of tense in Indo-European languages. In Indo-European languages, as Becker puts it, Past, present, and future are taken as facts about the world rather than facts about language. Tense is not iconic in all language-cultures and hence temporal-causal linearity is not the major constraint on textual coherence in all languages (1979:218).

The major consequence for narrative of this iconic foundation of reality in the tense system of Indo-European languages such as English (or Danish for that matter) is that, If meaning comes from temporal-causal sequences, then epistemologies do not, and cannot, change from episode to episode….That is, Jay Gatsby, Godzilla, Agamemnon, John Wayne, and Charlie Chaplin do not and may not appear in the same plot (1979:219).

Wayang narratives, however, are founded on simultaneous, multiple times, and coincidental juxtapositions of multiple epistemologies. Cohesion is based on place, not time. According to Becker the coincidence of multiple epistemologies is what gives excitement to Wayang narratives. As he writes, The major epistemologies are (1) that of the demons, the direct sensual epistemology of raw nature, (2) that of the ancestor heroes, the stratified, feudal epistemology of traditional Java, (3) that of the ancient gods, a distant cosmological epistemology of pure power, (4) that of the clowns, a modern pragmatic epistemology of personal survival. All of these epistemologies coexist in a single wayang….Each epistemology, each category of being, exists within a different concept of time, and all the times occur simultaneously. That is, nature time, ancestor time, god time, and the present are all equally relevant in an event....We might say that Gatsby, Godzilla, Agamemnon, John Wayne, and Charlie Chaplin—or their counterparts—do appear in the same plot, and that is what causes the excitement; that clash of conceptual universes is what impels the action (1979:224).

Unlike the Aristotelian unity of place, time and action, a plot may begin at any time in a story, but it must always begin and end the action in court. It then departs from this place to have its center in nature, and return to the court. The unity of the wayang narrative is brought about through narrative form, not the Aristotelian unity of place and time. These are fractured into multiple coincidences.


Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis

For me these two aspects of wayang narrative are the most interesting: First, the narrative excitement caused by coincident epistemologies along with their multiple time scales and, second, the narrative cohesion which is based on place rather than time. It would not be hard to argue that common news broadcasting has learned much about using place to provide narrative cohesion. A continuing breaking news story gains continuity by having the commentator stand at 10 Downing Street, on the White House lawn, or in front of earthquake rubble to signal that we are continuing ‘the same’ narrative discontinuously in time from the last news broadcast. And when the President of the United States dons a flight suit from central casting and steps out onto the soundstage to declare ‘mission accomplished’, the Terminator is Governor of California, and John McCain declares that nations do not invade other nations in the 21st century, Barack Obama, Britney Spears, and Paris Hilton are all staged by Obama’s opponent as just so many celebrities, we find we might be much closer to a Javanese shadow theater play of multiple and coincident epistemologies than we once might have thought. PRESENTATION AS PROOF IN ARABIC NARRATIVE From Javanese shadow theater we can see that narrative form owes much to linguisticgrammatical iconic epistemology. Aristotelian narrative logic is inseparable from the tense grammatical logic of Indo-European languages. This does not mean, of course, that the narrative arc cannot be used meaningfully in languages which lie outside of the family of Indo-European languages. The contemporary literatures of the world show that much crossfertilization of narrative forms can and does occur. Nevertheless, Javanese shadow theater as well as Athabaskan and Chinese narrative demonstrate that the Aristotelian narrative logic is not the human universal that many analysts have supposed it to be. Johnstone says that the Arabic language is not just a vehicle for Arabic narratives nor is it just an influence on narrative in an indirect or Whorfian sense through being a way of structuring Arabic ideas of reality. She argues that the language itself is the central character as well as the motivating mechanism of Arabic narratives. In a few words, people tell and enjoy narratives because of their love of the Arabic language itself. Hafez (1993) writes of the theatricality and collectivity of the traditional maqāba which dominated narrative in the oral tradition for a millenium right up to very recently. These stories which have been told again and again in cafes and bazaars throughout the Arabic-speaking world feature a central trickster figure who is always seen duping an assembly of important people. He accomplishes his tricks and his duping of these assemblies through the use of wild and extravagant rhetoric. He is a master of high-flown uses of Arabic which his audiences cannot rise to answer or in some cases even comprehend (HämeenAnttila 2002) and the people love him for it. In another study Leeuwen (2007) comments that the combination of entertaining story and moral admonition was the ‘quintessence of fictional literature (7)’. As to what moved the story forward, it was the withholding of the truth. In the case of the maqāba narratives the key aspect of the narrative form is that the trickster-hero who is known from the outset by the audience is not recognized by the narrator until the main story is accomplished. In the Thousand and One Nights Scherezade keeps herself alive by telling such engaging stories that the king grants her life each day to live to tell another story that night. After 1001 nights he has finally come to see her merit and lets her live. Johnstone (1983) calls this strategy presentation as proof: It consists of ‘persuading by repeating, rephrasing, clothing and reclothing one’s request or claim in changing cadences of words’ (1983:48). This applies equally to narrative function and to argumentation. She 19

Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis

argues, in fact, that reasoning from primary causes to effects is not much used in preference to repetition in presentation. This is not merely saying the same thing over and over again, of course. It is an elaborate and rhetorically rich panoply of lexical couplets (‘aid and assistance’, ‘illusion and imagination’), morphological parallelism, syntactic parallelism, what she calls ‘cognitive accusatives’ like ‘one thing that indicates a decisive indicating’ or ‘because political occurrences occurred’, conceptual parallelism, and reverse paraphrasing. She summarizes this rhetorical strategy of presentation as proof with the Arabic proverb, ‘Enough repetition will convince even a donkey’ (1983:48). To those of us who are incompetent to read or listen to Arabic narratives this might seem a bit exotic until we remember such common phenomena as saturation advertising campaigns in business and politics. While it is entirely familiar, what it is not is Aristotelian. DOES IT HELP US TO KNOW ABOUT DIFFERENT NARRATIVE STRUCTURES? My goal in taking your time today has not been to play with exotica of linguistic structures around the world as much fun as that can be for a dyed-in-the-wool linguist. And I want to be clear that I am not suggesting that just because there is a novel like The Dream of the Red Chamber that this is how all Chinese think and put together their stories. Would anybody imagine that Finnegans Wake would tell us everything about the Irish or an Ian Rankin mystery novel would tell us all there is to know about the residents of Edinburgh? Would a reading of Kierkegaard give us a reliable map of the minds of all Danish for that matter? Of course not. I will stand by what I have said about these narrative structures but I don’t want to put forward a theory of absolute cultural narrative relativity. My point is that you can’t know in any a priori way just what narrative template someone might be using. It’s an empirical question that needs to be worked out. And having an answer is a prerequisite to using any single narrative template as a means of interpreting their actions and developing one’s analysis. Furthermore, in every narrative tradition a narrative is an abstraction away from a highly complex world in which we’re always stuck in medias res, in the middle of things. Taking the more developed ideas of narrative I have suggested here gives us places to look where important issues and problems and characters have been airbrushed out by our narrative framing. We live in a world in which there are very complex relations between prior events and subsequent outcomes. Perhaps nobody is competent to really establish actual cause and effect lines of development. I think it might it be useful to imagine that we’re missing something important when we just assume that the Aristotelian narrative arc and the Aristotelian unities of action, time, and place are enough to understand such a complex world. I think it is useful to consider formal structures of law and policy development such as legislatures, congresses, and parliaments as narratives in the Athabaskan sense where progressing through the forms and formal procedures gives the narrative its profluence. It can be useful to accept the existential flux of events as they develop as the narrative without forcing inconclusive resolutions. Why not consider the coincidence of multiple epistemologies to be the narrative profluence as we see happening so often when religious ideologies coincide with scientific ones and pragmatic day-to-day economic ones? And when we recite causal analyses over and over again with rhetorical flair we might even want to see some of our own Aristotelian narrative analyses as repetition to convince a donkey as happens daily in the news commentaries of political pundits. 20

Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis

What I am imagining is that we might be more flexible in our thinking about the issues of social and political life that occupy so much of our time and analytical space these days. I hope I have given you some ideas about just how our analyses might be made richer if we could grasp and really believe the fundamental idea that others may not think like we do at all. They may even put together their arguments and tell their stories with forms that seem entirely mysterious to us at the outset. My hope is that we could learn how to read other narrative forms and create new narratives within those new forms and in doing so make both our own lives and our analyses richer. References

Alterman, Eric. 2008. Blowhards and windbags. The Guardian/UK, January 12, 2008. Accessed January 12, 2008, 5:29p AKT Becker, Alton L. 1979. Text-building, epistemology, and aesthetics in Javanese shadow theater. In Alton L. Becker and Aram Yengoyan (eds), The imagination of reality: Essays in Southeast Asian Coherence Systems. Norwood, NJ: Ablex 211-244. Carroll, James. 2007. A Troubling Turn in American History. Monday, October 8, 2007 by The Boston Globe. Online at: http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/10/08/4390/, accessed 8 October 2007, 3:13pm AKDT Czarniawska, Barbara. 2004. Narratives in Social Science Research. London: Sage. Eckstein, Barbara. 2003. Making space: Stories in the practice of planning. In Barbara Eckstein and James. A. Throgmorton (eds.), Story and sustainability: Planning, practice and possibility for American cities. Cambridge, Mass.:MIT PRess. 13 – 36. Finnegan, Ruth. 1998. Tales of the city: A study of narrative and urban life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Gardner, John. 1991. The art of fiction: Notes on craft for young writers. New York: Vintage. Goffman, Erving. 1979. Footing. Semiotica 25 (1/2): 1–29. Hafez, Sabry. 1993. The genesis of Arabic narrative discourse: A study in the sociology of modern Arabic literature. London: Saqi Books. Haviland, John B. 2008. Postscript: Plurifunctional narratives. Text & Talk 28-3: 443-451. Hämeen-Anttila, Jaakko. 2002. Maqama: A history of a genre. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag. Jensen, Ole B. 2007. Culture stories: Understanding cultural urban branding. Planning Theory 6(3):211-236. Jensen, Ole B. and Tim Richardson. 2004. Making European space: Mobility, power and territorial identity. London: Routledge. Jensen, Ole B. and Bo Stjerne Thomsen. 2006. Performative Urban Environments – Increasing Media Connectivity. Paper for the MediaCity – Media and Urban Space Conference, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany, 10 -12 November 2006 Jessop, Bob. 1997. The entrepreneurial city: Re-imagine localities, redesigning economic governance, or restructuring capital? In: Nick Jewson and Susanne Macgregor (eds.) Transforming cities: contested governance and new spatial divisions. London: Routledge. 28 – 41. Johnstone, Barbara. 1983. Presentation as proof; the language of Arabic rhetoric. Anthropological Linguistics 25: 47-60. Leeuwen, Richard van. 2007. The Thousand and One Nights: Space, travel and transformation. London: Routledge.


Aristotle Fails to Persuade the Donkey: Conflicting Logics in Narrative Social Analysis

Miller, Derek B. 2007. Media pressure on foreign policy: The evolving theoretical framework. New York: Palgrave. Plaks, Andrew H. 1977. Towards a critical theory of Chinese narrative. In Andrew H. Plaks (ed.) Chinese narrative: Critical and theoretical essays. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 309 – 352. Sandercock, Leonie. 2003. Cosmopolis II: Mongrel cities for the 21st century. London: Continuum.


To Start from the Beginning: Conversations with a One Year Old Lyn Wright Fogle Teacher’s College, Columbia University

Professor Scollon remarked once in a seminar I was taking that no one (at Georgetown at least) remembered that his early research had investigated child language acquisition. His dissertation work on the development of syntax was published as a book Conversations with a One Year Old (Scollon, 1976) and in a condensed form as a book chapter (Scollon, 1979). In this review I will attempt in a small way to reclaim the memory of that work by examining its contribution to applied linguistics and, in keeping with the other reviews in this issue, discuss how it influenced and relates to my own research. Conversations with a One Year Old presents a holistic depiction of the language development (including phonology, syntax, pragmatics, discourse structures, and interactive roles) of one child (Brenda Wong) from the one-word to two-word stage (ages 12 to 24 months for Brenda). Scollon made at least two important findings in this study: (a) that discourse competence (specifically the ability to express topic-comment structures) developed before syntax and (b) that interaction with (and not just input from) more competent interlocutors facilitated development. Scollon identified a pattern in Brenda’s speech that he called “vertical constructions.” These constructions were different from horizontal constructions, or sentences, because they represented different one-word utterances that were connected semantically but separated by pauses, intonation contour, and stress and therefore were represented on different lines in the transcript as in the following example: 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131

Kh a Kh a Kh a Kh a (R)




Gɔo Go bəiš bəiš bəiš bəiš bəiš bəiš bəiš bəiš bəiš What? Oh, bicycle? Is that what you said? Na’ No? Na’

eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Virginia Zavala.

To Start from the Beginning: Conversations with a One Year Old


No—I got it wrong? (1976, p. 109)

Vertical constructions appeared during Brenda’s transition from the one-word to two-word stage of language development as in the above example where Brenda first says “car” then “bus” and then “go” to form the proposition “the bus or car goes” after she heard a vehicle pass by on the street. Scollon’s work on this topic is cited in textbooks on language acquisition (e.g., Ingram, 1989; Hoff, 2001). The term “vertical construction” has also been used in second language acquisition research to describe similar patterns of interaction between language-learning adults and more competent interlocutors (Ellis, 1994; Mackey, Gass, & McDonough, 2000). Further, the use of vertical constructions has been prescribed as a discourse-based language intervention for the treatment of communication disorders (Skarakis-Doyle, 1995). The application of the concept of vertical construction to these other fields, then, has suggested ways in which first and second language learning processes overlap and in the primacy of discourse structure, as opposed to syntactic structure, in making meaning with limited linguistic resources. Although Scollon does not refer to the work of Vygotsky or other Soviet psychologists (some of which was not even available to U.S. audiences at the time) in this first book, this is one of the foundational studies that connected children’s language development to interaction with adult caregivers and the sociocultural context of acquisition more broadly (e.g., Bruner, 1983; Kulick, 1992; Ochs & Schieffelin, 1984; Schieffelin & Ochs, 1986). Atkinson (2002) for example, listed Scollon’s vertical construction along with other studies on scaffolding and collaborative discourse as work that “reconceptualize[s] the child and the caregiver as an interactional unit in their accomplishment of sociocognitive tasks that the child could not perform independently, and therefore, as a central mechanism of developmental growth” (p. 532). As I reread Conversations carefully, I was surprised at how child-centric the analysis was. Vertical constructions were almost by definition child-initiated and served as a way for Brenda to determine the topic of conversation (as Scollon outlines in Chapter IX: The function of constructions) and get an adult’s attention or participate in an activity such as bookreading with a pre-determined routine in which Brenda was able to set the agenda. This pattern left Scollon feeling like “the old deaf auntie who cannot understand anything anyone says” (1979, p. 217) as he describes the above episode where he asks Brenda multiple questions about her utterance and still “gets it wrong.” Scollon noted that Brenda clearly had a meaning to express, it was just that the adults with whom she conversed did not always understand her. Concomitantly, the process of getting adults to understand led to the practice of linguistic forms and eventually language development. The data from Brenda suggest that even very young children initiate and direct interactions based on what they know how to do and what they need to know to expand their competences. The issue of how children or learners direct their own language learning opportunities in interaction is one that I explore in detail in my own dissertation research. Professor Scollon encouraged me to view language learning as a real world problem rather than an opportunity for bolstering a theoretical paradigm. He stressed that language learners were people (or social actors) who occupied many roles (children, nieces, sons, etc.). Conversations with a One Year Old concluded that understanding one aspect of language development involved understanding every other aspect of language and development. Starting with this work, I believe it can give the reader of Ron Scollon’s books insight into the origins of his later work and the bigger questions he addressed (e.g., How are sensorimotor perception and language tied?; How are literacy, spatiality, and spoken language related?; and How are discourse structures and communication related?). For the 24

To Start from the Beginning: Conversations with a One Year Old

student starting a thesis project, this book gives a detailed picture of the challenges faced by a young researcher who set out to develop an innovative approach to the study of child language and in doing so became a revered scholar and mentor to whom many students, authors, and academics from various fields have turned for inspiration and guidance. References

Atkinson, D. 2002. Toward a sociocognitive approach to second language acquisition. Modern Language Journal, 86(iv), pp. 525-545. Bruner, J. 1983. Child’s talk. Learning to Use Language. New York: Norton. Ellis, R. 1994. The study of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hoff, E. 2001. Language development. Belmont: CA: Wadsworth. Ingram, D. 1989. First language acquisition: Method, description, and explanation. New York: Cambridge University Press. Kulick, D. 1992. Language shift and cultural reproduction. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. Mackey, A., Gass, S. & McDonough, K. 2000. How do learners perceive interactional feedback? Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 22(4), 471-497. Ochs, E. & Schieffelin, B. 1984. Language acquisition and socialization: Three developmental stories and their implications. In R. Shweder and R. LeVine (Eds.). Culture theory: Essays on mind, self, and emotion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 276-320. Schieffelin, B. & Ochs, E. (Eds.) 1986. Language socialization across cultures. New York: Cambridge University Press. Scollon, R. 1976. Conversations with a one-year old: A case study of the developmental foundations of syntax. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii. Scollon, R. 1979. A real early stage: An unzippered condensation of a dissertation on child language. In E. Ochs & B. Schieffelin (Eds.) Developmental pragmatics (pp. 215228). New York: Academic Press. Skarakis-Doyle, E. 1995. Discourse-based language intervention: An efficacy study. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 17(2), 11-22.


Ron Scollon and The New Literacy Studies Virginia Zavala Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú

Since I met Ron Scollon in 1998 I have been impressed by the way he eclectically combined different topics, disciplines and methodologies and moved along academic and professional positions. While I was a Ph.D student at Georgetown I was captured by his book Narrative, literacy and Face in Interethnic Communication, which he published with Suzie Scollon in 1981. Although it was one of his first books (28 years ago!) this piece of work remains very up to date in relation to contemporary discussions about language socialization and literacy studies. In fact, according to Gee (1996) it constitutes one of the foundational pieces of work of what is known today as “The New Literacy Studies”, an interdisciplinary approach that views literacy as a symbolic system grounded in social practice (Street 1984, Heath 1983, Scribner & Cole 1981, Barton 1994, among others). One of the chapters from the book that delighted me was “The Literate Two-YearOld: The Fictionalization of Self.” It is a case study of how a two-year-old child (Rachel, his daughter) learned and was taught “the fictionalization of self” required for what he and Suzie called “the modern consciousness and essayist literacy.” In this chapter, the authors show that the essayist style of literacy can be characterized as decontextualized language, which can be found in two areas: the creation of an explicit, grammatically and lexically marked information structure which is high in new information and the fictionalization of the roles of author, audience and character in the telling of stories. The first aspect refers to how the child creates clearly bounded information units without hesitation, interruption or recycling, which reveals a good understanding of the explicit intonation structure of written text. The second aspect –which is also one of the hallmarks of written text- refers to the ability to understand the essential distance of authorship from the text by taking the distance of third person when the author also constitutes the character of the story. What is interesting about this chapter is that the authors contrast these language socialization patterns of their daughter with a group of kids from Arctic Village, Alaska. As they remarked, these children “were not learning to speak by means of the same process as the very ordinary children who had been described by us and by other researchers in the literature” (58). In fact, the oral stories gathered from these children were contextualized, indexical, conversational and not fictionalized. Besides these differences in terms of information structure and fictionalization of the self, the Scollons also found differences in social roles and values related to literacy. For example, while it was appropriate for Rachel to display abilities in literacy to adults and older children, listen to older people read and read a text aloud, children from Arctic Village were expected to be quiet and reserved in relation to an adult and it was arrogant to presume a full display of the text as a performance. The Scollons’ discussion has important implications for research in literacy and education because they propose a correlation between parental or caregiver patterns of instruction in the first years and development of literacy skills later in school. This means that while children like Rachel will have an advantage because of the way they have been socialized at home, children from other non-mainstream contexts will find it more difficult to develop the schooled literate orientation. Literacy is thus viewed a social practice that includes much more than the mechanics of spelling and conventions of elegant visual display. eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Virginia Zavala.

Ron Scollon and the New Literacy Studies

Through their analysis, the Scollons make unconscious parental instruction in literacy explicit and reveal important cultural differences in language socialization, which had not been discussed before. By making the ordinary remarkable, they question what we assume as “normal” and “universal” and suggest that these practices actually constitute culturally situated behavior. This makes their analysis very powerful. When I was in my last year of Ph.D. courses at Georgetown I remember a period of crisis when I did not have a topic for my dissertation. When Ron Scollon was hired in 1998 I took a course with him called “Discourse as social practice” during my last semester of coursework and I started to discover new discourse perspectives that I had previously not known. During this course he encouraged me to find sociocultural perspectives on literacy that I could use in designing a dissertation proposal. Although he knew perfectly what I was looking for, he did not give me the answer in advance but guided me so that I could discover it myself. That was his style. When I learned about “The New Literacy Studies” I felt that I had discovered a framework that allowed me to reconcile my academic options with my social and political interests in relation to my country’s problems. From then on I was very enthusiastic to work on a proposal with an interdisciplinary framework that integrated discourse analysis, critical theory and an ethnographic approach. I decided to spend seven months in a peasant community conducting fieldwork for my dissertation about literacy and schooling in the Peruvian Andes. But the problem was that I did not know how to conduct an ethnography. When I felt lonely or if I did not know where my research was pointing to, Ron Scollon was a key interlocutor. He constantly wrote me emails (which I still keep) that displayed great enthusiasm towards what I was gathering in the field and also contributed some initial data interpretations. I used to send him pictures and I remember that he laughed at my problems with eating guinea pigs. His support for my work continued until the dissertation defense in 2001 and, although I never saw him after that, we remained in contact through e-mail until a few months before his passing away. I really feel that the perspective that I now have on language and society comes from what I learned from Ron Scollon. And I always think that if he had not arrived at Georgetown in 1998 I would not be the same person I am now. The courses I teach at my university, the research I conduct by myself or in interdisciplinary research teams, or the workshops I conduct with school teachers carry a strong imprint of Ron Scollon and his work. His legacy is strongly maintained in Perú, as my students read his work (including “The Literate TwoYear-Old”) and are as impressed by it as I was when I first read it.


Barton, David. 1994. Literacy: An introduction to the ecology of written language. Oxford: Blackwell. Gee, James Paul. 1996. Social linguistics and literacies. Ideology in discourses. London: Taylor & Francis (Second edition). Heath, Shirley Brice. 1983. Ways with words. Language, life and work in communities and classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Scollon, Ron & Suzanne B.K. Scollon. 1981. Narrative, literacy and face in interethnic communication. New Jersey: Ablex. Scribner, Sylvia and Michael Cole. 1981. The Psychology of Literacy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Street, Brian. 1984. Literacy in theory and practice. New York: Cambridge University Press.


Focus, Literacy, and Power Peter Vail National University of Singapore

Ron Scollon was as much an anthropologist as he was a linguist. Especially clear in his Athabaskan research, his work represents a singularly American anthropological tradition in what is perhaps its most thought-provoking branch, Boasian linguistic anthropology. This is not happenstance. Ron was a student of Li Fang Kuei in Hawaii, and Li himself was a student of Edward Sapir. Unlike many Boasian anthropologists studying Native Americans, however, Ron’s writings on Athabaskan were not salvage operations preserving relics of dying cultures; rather, Ron’s work showed quite clearly how Athabaskan discursive patterns persist and how they continue to impact interactions in social fields like education and intercultural communication, often independent of (or at least interdependent with) the language actually being spoken in those interactions. To this vein of linguistic anthropology, Ron brought interactional sociology, styled especially on Erving Goffman, and with it emphases on both social interaction orders and interlocutor-view interpretations of the 'definition of a situation'. Unlike some Boasians, Ron did not appear to give much credence to a hypostatized notion of ‘culture’ at all. That is, instead of simply attributing perceived differences to the phlogiston of culture, Ron carefully explicated the brass tacks out of which ‘culture’ is built and by which ‘cultures’ may be differentiated. Unsurprisingly, he pinpointed how otherwise vague differences attributed to the ill-defined term ‘culture’ stem from dissimilar interaction orders and worldviews instantiated in language use. Ron’s 1984 article Cooking it Up and Boiling it Down: Abstracts in Athabaskan Children’s Story Retellings, which he coauthored with Suzanne Scollon, provides a fine example of this. As with many of his writing on literacy, Cooking it Up, Boiling it Down rejects the stark difference between orality and literacy, posited as 'the great divide' by scholars like Jack Goody and Walter Ong. Just as there are multiple literacies, so too are there multiple oralities, and it doesn't do much good to lump them together in a supercategory (see Scollon & Scollon 1995 for more discussion of this). More importantly, Ron saw the emphasis on literacy vs. orality as distracting, placing undue importance on the medium of communication at the expense of its social purpose. In Cooking it Up, Boiling it Down, Ron analyzes school literacy, but orients his analysis according to ‘focus’, a Goffmanesque term referring implicitly to the purpose of a given communicative interaction. In a highly focused interaction, one of the interlocutors (likely that one in a position of authority) maintains unilateral demands on the outcome of an interaction. Filling out a form, for example, would be an example of a highly focused interaction mediated by literacy: a person filling in a form must conform to the parameters, and thus the authority, of those who designed it and are eliciting the information. In relatively non-focused interactions, ‘making sense’ of a situation is left up to participants, and it is their interpretation that shapes the interaction’s ostensible goal. Focused and unfocused interactions rely on starkly different configurations of social power, personal volition and interpersonal relations. When a situation arises in which the participants of an interaction make different assumptions about the degree of focus appropriate to that interaction, conflict ensues. Such is the case among Athabaskan students in public schools, who view the purpose of the school as far less focused than the school itself does. As Ron demonstrated, measuring literacy becomes nonsensical when students approach literacy tasks assuming different expectations of focus. If a term like ‘cultural difference’ is to have any utility at all, it must be construed as just such concrete differences eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Peter Vail.

Focus, Literacy, and Power

in situational understanding, and on the broader ideologies of personhood on which they are ultimately based.1 Approaches to literacy like Ron's remain critical to anthropology today. ‘Focus’ (and the conflicts and misunderstandings it engenders) is a ubiquitous phenomenon of social interaction in all countries, a basic tool of state-building and power consolidation. The blind, unreflective attachment to hierarchical power implicit in focused interactions stymies even sincere attempts at cultivating democracy and equality. Literacy plays a key role, and as Ron (1988) pointed out, reading and writing, however mundane they may appear, are always political acts. References

Scollon, Ron. 1994. ‘Cultural Aspects in Constructing the Author.’ In D. Keller-Cohen (Ed.), Literacy: Interdisciplinary Conversations (pp. 213-227) Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, Inc. Scollon, Ron & Scollon, Suzanne. 1984. ‘Cooking it Up and Boiling it Down: Abstracts in Athabaskan Children’s Story Retellings’ In D. Tannen (Ed.) Coherence in Spoken and Written Discourse (pp. 173-197) Norwood, NJ: ABLEX Publishing Corporation Scollon, Ron & Scollon, Suzanne. 1988. ‘Storytelling, reading, and the micropolitics of reading.’ In J. E. Readance & R. S. Baldwin (Eds.), Dialogues in literacy research: Thirty-seventh yearbook of the National Reading Conference (pp. 15-33). Chicago: National Reading Conference. Scollon, Ron & Scollon, Suzanne. 1995. ‘Somatic Communication: How Useful is ‘Orality’ for the Characterization of Speech Events and Cultures?’ In Uta M. Quasthoff (Ed.), Aspects of Oral Communication (pp. 19-29) Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.


In other works on literacy, Scollon deploys similar concepts from interactional sociology, notably ‘face’. See for example Scollon (1994).


The Watch and Maxims of Stance: Tools for Interactional Sociolinguistic Analysis of Discourse Beyond the Face-to-Face Margaret Toye Independent Scholar

Mediated Discourse as Social Interaction (MDSA) was the first book I read at Georgetown in the fall of 2001, and it is the one I have reached to time and again since. From the outset it challenges the sender-receiver model of media discourse that was so prominent in my undergraduate days as a Communications Studies major. Ron proposed that, say, news discourse is not interaction between a journalist and a reader, but rather among news journalists and among readers. Along with introducing MDA, this book shows that interactional sociolinguistics can be used in the examination of media discourse (and all mediated discourse, really), and that is what got me always going back to it. One of the concepts that was influential to me is the watch. Like his faculty colleagues at Georgetown, Ron was influenced by Erving Goffman, and in this case by Goffman’s (1983) theory of interaction units. While Goffman proposed the with (where two or more people are perceived to be together) and the platform event (where one or more people present a spectacle for others to watch) Ron’s watch accounts for occasions where a person or a group are paying attention to some spectacle. The spectacle can be anything that can be looked at--a book, a computer screen, graffiti, a beautiful sunset, a passerby. The watchers’ communication is characterized by the interaction order where their main activity is watching something else. So, when a family is sitting around watching TV, they and the TV form a watch. Their interaction is among themselves and not, of course, with the TV. What they’re watching is the result of the many interactions among television producers. To use Goffman’s (1981) terms, they are ratified hearers of those producers’ interaction. This approach really influenced my thinking as I began to explore interaction about media, interaction in the production of television, and computer-mediated communication. For example in examining exchanges on a message board for fans of a TV show, I considered the fan an observer first of the TV spectacle (forming a watch) and then of the spectacle that appears on the computer screen. Message board communication is a series of watches: a participant is engaged in a watch as he reads a message; and then another reader and a different computer screen form another watch as the reader observes the new message as spectacle, and so on. Ron expands on this watch concept in analyzing the transition from with to watch, considering what happens when people take photographs of each other. A ‘photo-event’ is characterized by three frames (Bateson’s (1972) influence is clear). In the setting frame, the people in the with figure out who will take the photo and who will be photographed. In the adjustment frame, the movement of those in the photo is restricted as they settle into their pose, and the photographer has the right to determine how and when the photo is taken. In the snap frame, the photographer puts her face behind the camera and finger on the shutter release button, while the subjects freeze their pose (“Cheese!”). This snap frame is the watch itself, ended with the click of the camera. The watch then transitions back to a with. eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Margaret Toye.

The Watch and Maxims of Stance: Tools for Interactional Sociolinguistic Analysis of Discourse Beyond the Face-to-Face

Ultimately, the photo is the text that results from this interaction, which can then become a spectacle in another watch, e.g. when posted on Facebook. I used this framework to examine interaction on the set of an improvised TV series. In the setting frame actors and producers scurried around the set and all manner of interaction occurred, in the adjustment frame they took their positions and talk related to the upcoming scene and was done mostly by the people primarily involved in it, and in the snap frame interaction took place among the actors, as their characters. Looking at this discourse in terms of these frames opened up the chance to explore the footing shifts that ensue from frame to frame, especially by actors who in the adjustment frame are just themselves, and in the snap frame are other people entirely as characters. I think that this framework can be useful in the study of all kinds of performances and other kinds of spectacles. In fact I also explored the notion of a message board participant, like an actor, enacting a carefully developed character in an online spectacle. What I also find really important in MDSA is the concept of maxims of stance, which he weaves through all the topics covered in the book. Ron maintains that considering an interaction in terms of participants’ defining the situation, attending to their identities and relationships, and only then attending to the topics, reveals the social construction of the identities of the participants in the interaction. He argues that in interaction participants claim identities for themselves and project identities on others; claims and projections that are in turn ratified or rejected in interaction (again influenced by Goffman [1981]). He shows this identity-claiming does not just happen in face-to-face discourse but also occurs in mediated discourse like TV news broadcasting. So, Ron argued that interactional sociolinguistics, with its interest in participants’ joint construction of the situations they are in and of the identities they present, can be applied in the analysis of media as mediated discourse. Ron told me that prior to writing the book, he had had a paper rejected over and over again because “ ‘mediated discourse’ CAN NEVER BE social interaction!” He wrote MDSA, perhaps, to prove them wrong and thoroughly argue the case. His former student Rodney Jones has argued for this as well (e.g. Jones 2004), and I was happy in my dissertation work to also explore this too. I was surprised when Ron told me that I was the only person to really get excited about his maxims of stance, as I feel they contribute valuably to interactional sociolinguistics and allow for analysis of discourse beyond the faceto-face. References

Bateson, Gregory. 1972. A theory of play and fantasy. In Steps to an ecology of mind. New York: Ballantine. Goffman, Erving. 1981. Footing. In Forms of talk. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 124-159. Goffman, Erving. 1983. The Interaction order. American Sociological Review 48: 1-19. Jones, Rodney. 2004. The problem of context in computer mediated communication. In Philip Levine and Ron Scollon (eds.), Discourse and Technology: Multimodal discourse analysis. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 20-33. Scollon, Ron. 1998. Mediated discourse as social interaction: A study of news discourse. London: Longman.


Mediated Discourse and Social Interaction: A Reflection Sigrid Norris Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand

When Ron Scollon came to Georgetown University in 1998, he taught Mediated Discourse Analysis and I was one of the lucky students to take this very class. Here, we read – and desperately tried to understand – his 1998 book Mediated Discourse as Social interaction. When I say that we desperately tried to understand, I mean that many of the students in his class were seriously engaged in discussions about the points of view extrapolated in the book, inside and outside class, at Georgetown, while having coffee, during lunch, at parties, at bars, or while hiking. We were discussing amongst ourselves, with Ron, and with other professors. Ron’s thoughts were seriously groundbreaking and, at the very same time, highly controversial. It appeared that one either took on his view of the world, or one opposed it. Few, if any, tried to take the middle ground. Why was this book – and with it the method/theory of Mediated Discourse Analysis (MDA) – so controversial at Georgetown Linguistics at the time? The answer is really quite easy. There, on the one hand, we were embedded in a linguistics department, one that is very well known around the world for its sociolinguistics and discourse analysis which focus on language and text. Ron, on the other hand, postulated that the action, and particularly the mediated action, is the unit of analysis. The utterance, he claimed, was but one example of a mediated action. All other actions, whether it was walking, throwing a ball or handing an object, were just as much mediated actions that could and needed to be understood as parts of interaction. A mediated action, so we quickly learned, was not an easy notion. Here, Ron built on Jim Wertsch (building on Vygotsky), claiming that a mediated action was an action taken by a social actor with meditational means. Every mediated action is taken in a site of engagement, where a site of engagement is not simply a place, but is a window that opens the possibility for the mediated action to occur. Albeit, one needs, as he reiterated many times, also take into account that the mediated action is the one-time irreversible action, which always is part of a practice. For example, if you (as the social actor) hand (hand, arm, utterances, lips, etc, are all meditational means) a book (another meditational means) to your friend (another social actor), this is a mediated action; at the same time, this mediated action is part of the practice which we call handing (and also other practices such as the practice of reading, exchanging books, etc.) and the mediated action becomes possible because of other mediated actions that have occurred prior and/or are taking place simultaneously and the place and time that make this handing a book to your friend possible. With his attention to actions, meditational means, sites of engagement, and practices rather than utterances in context, to many, Ron’s focus appeared to be different than that of other professors in the sociolinguistics concentration. However, I would claim that the focus was in fact the same: Ron was always – and really always had been – foremost interested in language just like all the other professors there. Where he did differ was in the theoretical assumption: He firmly believed that language was a part of a whole and that the whole needed to be investigated in order be able to investigate and understand the language used in interaction. Whereas others believed that the investigation of the language used shed ample light upon the whole of an interaction. Thus, Ron brought to Georgetown Linguistics a new theoretical framework which was controversial at first but also groundbreaking. Today, the framework has spread throughout the world, being taught and utilised by many scholars interested in examining and producing positive change in social interaction. My own eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Sigrid Norris.

Mediated Discourse and Social Interaction: A Reflection

thinking has been highly influenced by Ron’s thought, and I have developed a framework for Multimodal Interaction Analysis based on Mediated Discourse Analysis and have co-edited a book with Rodney Jones, introducing MDA. Although Ron has developed the framework much more in depth and in greater detail in later books, MDA for many scholars began with the book Mediated Discourse as Social Interaction, in which Ron extrapolated his ideas of mediated action, meditational means, sites of engagement, and practice. It is also the one book that had the most influence upon my thinking. When I teach MDA, I always ask my students to start with this book, because it is my favourite and it changed the way I view the world. References

Scollon, Ron. 1998. Mediated Discourse as Social Interaction: A Study of News Discourse. London: Longman. Norris, Sigrid and Rodney H. Jones. 2005. Discourse in Action: Introducing Mediated Discourse Analysis. London and New York: Routledge.


Remembering Ron Scollon through Mediated Discourse Tom Randolph Sookmyung Women’s University

I am honored and thrilled to be invited to remember Ron Scollon, aware as I am that this reflection should be mediated by my memories of his 1998 book, Mediated Discourse as Social Interaction. I’ve been asked, or it’s been implied, that we should limit our reflections to particular books of Ron’s – but anyone who’s spent a moment looking at his theoretical framework recognizes the futility (and invalidity) of such a restriction. However, I’ll try to use the book (and not myself) as primary means. When new professor Ron Scollon introduced himself to us new students before classes began in 1998, he told us he wasn’t sure the framework in the book was going to prove to be useful, and being useful was perhaps the most important thing to him. That hooked me. That inspiring fall semester of 1998 that Sigrid Norris mentions (hers was Spring, 1999, I guess) is probably what kept me in graduate school at Georgetown, and I thank this book for the focus of my studies and the genesis of several deep and valued friendships, the most significant of which was with Ron. Every useful paper I wrote in those two years was motivated by a simple crossdisciplinary idea on p. 33 that is not even Ron’s originally, “…any social encounter … has as its ongoing highest priority to position the participants … in relationship to each other.” I pointed this line out to Ron and our classmates, and for the rest of my studies I was warmly ‘positioned’ against my new friends as the guy who argued that we humans are inherently and perhaps unconsciously selfish and self-serving on an ongoing basis, using each other as mediational means at every site of engagement. There is an inherent irony in the book that fueled countless heated (creative, not destructive) communications among Ron and his mentees, as well as our friendships, and a lot of Ron’s future work. In spite of the ‘highest priority’ label attached to agentive positioning, the book conveniently refrains from attempting to analyze human agency at sites of engagement, and yet it is only the agents themselves who utter the language that we all went to Georgetown to study. I remember telling Ron that while I loved using the MDA framework to have another, closer look at various interactions, I could not see the framework being useful to me in getting at the actions human actors make unless it could account for both the actors and the means they mediate their positioning actions with at sites of engagement. Ron agreed that he’d have to do something about that. Perhaps it was my comment, and perhaps it was unconscious (or not), but I found myself repositioned with Ron as a highly-valued reader… And presto – Ron had a zillion new articles, books, and jargon items in press before I, or any of the rest of us, could get back to our laptops. We do not need Mediated Discourse (Scollon 1998) or its issue, Nexus Analysis (Scollon and Scollon 2004), to reveal that our gang used the Mediated Discourse book, Ron himself, and each other as primary mediational means to learn how to do Graduate School that year, and in so doing begat nexus analysis. I should also say that Ron’s focus on modest, open-minded, egalitarian and tolerant inquisitiveness made voluminous quality output a lot easier than it could have been. Meanwhile, our discussions around the book and framework allowed me to develop a fuller understanding of classroom hegemonies as a teacher trainer. To this day I see mediated discourse analysis and nexus analysis as by far the most useful (and most under-hyped) of the several positioning theories out there. eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Tom Randolph.

Remembering Ron Scollon Through Mediated Discourse

I’d like to close by pointing out just how far-reaching is the impact of the abovementioned book, as mediated by all of us who worked, hiked, and drank fine ale with Ron and each other. I left Georgetown in 2000, and over the years lost touch with the developments in the nexus analysis field. Ron and I communicated fairly often, but our discussions were mostly about less scholarly matters. News of his illness eventually returned our conversations to his work, but I’d missed a fair amount. Our second-to-last significant communication ended on 10/24/08. Two days prior, I had received an unfinished paper from Ron in which he’d finally built a road from Mediated Discourse to ‘GoD’ (his tongue-incheek acronym for ‘Geographies of Discourse’), and in so doing had begun drilling down through Nexus Analysis to explore the social power of actions in our hegemonic world: “the real power of action still remains at the level of the individual human actor acting with the semiotic tools of language, discourse, sound and images. (p. 9)” Thus my reflections on Mediated Discourse as Social Interaction are mixed up with my career and the life of one of my best friends, who wrote his own coda in that paper, highlighting for everyone the usefulness of MDA and nexus analysis as a mediational means for truly social actors committed to social change. And yeah, I “humphed” at this last effort, and suggested to him that he needed to classify his actions in terms of power and provide a taxonomy for the terms “power” and “action.” He answered, “Still a good reader. I'll do something about the “power” question. I hope. Or maybe I'll just say: “Hey, this thing's GoD, He/She don't have to answer to questions about power. Depends on how many functioning mornings there are between now and then. (Randolph: unpublished email, 10/24/2008)” I look forward to seeing how his gang gets at the analysis of power in the years to come. The concept of power only gets a couple of paragraphs in Mediated Discourse as Social Interaction, but Ron seemed to think nexus analysis and GoD were allowing him to get a handle on it. It surprises me, in hindsight, to see how much power (in that sense) Ron himself wielded, that we barely noticed at the time, and how empowering it was for the rest of us. “The real power of action” is that it never dies. References

Scollon, Ron. 1998. Mediated Discourse as Social Interaction: A Study of News Discourse. London: Longman. Scollon, Ron and Suzie Scollon. 2004. Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet. London: Routledge. Scollon, R. 2008. Geographies of Discourse: Action Across Layered Spaces. Unfinished manuscript. Lecture prepared for "SPACE = INTERACTION = DISCOURSE", International Conference, 12 -14 November 2008. Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark. [Comments or queries on this draft should be directed to Suzie Wong Scollon: [email protected]])


Facilitating Intercultural Communication Anna Marie Trester Georgetown University

I came away from my very first conversation with Ron (brainstorming research project ideas as a student in his Ethnography of Communication class) with a strong sense of purpose about finding ways to connect what we were learning in class with real-world issues and problems. Years later, as I now begin to make my way as a researcher, I am trying to stay connected to that inner voice, paying attention for opportunities for making a difference because of who I am and what I care about as a sociolinguist. Those which have been speaking to me the loudest lately have involved using sociolinguistics as a tool for enriching conversations about cultural awareness and mutual understanding across social groups, and the book that I keep turning to in preparation is Intercultural Communication. Ron’s style of mentorship has always been to lead by example, and I take courage as I watch his feet even in the pages of this book where he and Suzie take us through some of the insights that they have gained over the years of conducting research, teaching, training, and consulting work using a discourse approach to interaction, based in ethnography, interactional sociolinguistics, and critical discourse analysis. Inspired by their example of service, in this review, I consider how this book has informed my own recent efforts to find professional applications of sociolinguistics. Essential to any cross-disciplinary endeavor, the book begins by directly addressing some of the misconceptions about language that any person seeking to share linguistic insights will be likely to encounter. Language is necessarily inherently ambiguous, and after reinforcing that this is not the fault of careless speakers or the result improper or insufficient education, but rather a central property of language, the Scollons relate that miscommunications are to be expected in all communication and especially in communication across cultures. This realization is significant because when speakers come to “expect problems of interpretation,” it will lead participants to “question their own immediate interpretations” and additionally take the extra step to “probe the other conversationalist further to see if their interpretations are correct” (23). I have found this appreciation of the complexity of social interaction to be valuable in helping conversationalists to have more realistic expectations for interacting across cultures. In truly promoting “smooth discourse.” all participants will need to make an effort, and not just expect other groups to accommodate to them. While not an easy goal, the book reiterates that the value of such work lies in a deeper understanding of both others and of ourselves. Focusing on actual practice, and showing “what really happens when people are actively communicating across boundaries of social groups” (13) Ron and Suzie demonstrate with humility, patience, and gentle humor that even with the best of intentions, it is extremely difficult to raise one’s self-awareness when it comes to discourse-level aspects of communication. Describing one training in which participants video recorded themselves and transcribed their workplace interactions, they focus on one participant who they advised to focus particular attention on leaving more time for others to respond. He was concerned about the lack of active turn-exchanges on the part of participants in meetings that he chaired. When he returned to the follow-up session, they found the following in his transcript: 1. Does…. 2. Anyone… eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Anna Marie Trester.

Facilitating Intercultural Communication

3. 4. 5. 6.

Have something… you’d… like to… ask, well if not we’ll move onto the next item on the agenda which is the

date…. As the Scollons point out, while this speaker had “certainly left very long (and disturbing) pauses,” he had not left them at “the crucial points where others might take the floor” (84). This example reminds me of some lessons I have learned from Ron, which are firstly, that our work must whenever possible be guided by the needs of community members themselves, addressing the problems as they themselves understand them, but crucially, the theories that we teach must always be (re)informed by practice. Finally, and perhaps most nerve-wracking at times, as teachers, we must never fear the pedagogical power of mistakes as this “mistake” has been more instructive than ten examples of interactions that flowed more smoothly. At the time of writing this review, I have a few windows open on my computer as I am also concurrently preparing an article about language for diversity practitioners, and a lecture about interactional sociolinguistics for law students taking a mediation course. The book that I am using to create these pieces (and of course this review) is the same, as much of my thinking is built on a foundation of Ron and Suzie’s construction. The message I hope to be able to share with these audiences includes the challenge of self-reflection and the value of always recognizing and unpacking presuppositions and assumptions (both my own and those of others). Following Ron’s advice to support my assertion, by SHOWING instead of telling my reader about the importance of raising awareness of interdiscourse communication, I will close here with one final example, one to which the Scollons return throughout their book, namely the difference between an inductive pattern of organizing discourse (in which the minor points of an argument are placed first and where the main point is then derived as a conclusion from those arguments) and a deductive pattern (in which the main point is introduced first and the minor or supporting arguments afterwards). Such differences are largely unconscious (I never was aware of my own conversational style as being inductive in this way), but such strategies can inform our interactional expectations and strategies to such an extent that lack of awareness can result in the main point literally getting lost in presentation. Additionally, we are likely to come away with poor impressions about members of groups which do not share our same strategies (feeling that they are too aggressively direct, or conversely that they never seem to get to the point). Of course, the intent in highlighting the difference is not to insinuate that either approach is inherently better, but to challenge speakers to examine their own behavior and better understand differences in expectation. Working with Ron has always challenged me and pushed me beyond my own expectations of myself and my own understanding of my abilities, and even in my last conversations with him last Fall he was challenging me still. I was sharing with him some of the struggles I was facing in teaching my own Ethnography of Communication class when he reminded me that what we do as sociolinguists is tremendously challenging because it is a deeply human endeavor. Growth can be messy and we all introduce our fears and limitations and emotional responses in addition to our informed and logical reactions. People are unpredictable, and things will often “go off the rails.” But as he reminded me, this is also what makes this work so important and valuable. The lesson that I carry with me as I move into conversations across disciplinary boundaries is to be open and honest and aware (of language, of culture, of myself) as possible to be effective in facilitating discovery. 37

Intercultural Communication and Ron Scollon: A Reflection Yuling Pan U.S. Census Bureau

I first came across Ron and Suzie’s book of Intercultural Communication: A Discourse Approach when I was looking for a textbook to teach the course of intercultural communication in the summer of 1996. I immediately fell in love with the book: other books on intercultural communication that I had searched were either too academic or too culturespecific. Ron’s book was very refreshing to me in that it showed a perfect balance of theoretical inquiries and practical implications. I have used this book in my classes and in many of my research projects even since. In my opinion, this book made three important contributions to the field of sociolinguistics and intercultural communication: they are the notion of discourse system, the grammar of context, and the three politeness systems. Most significantly, each of these concepts offers an overarching theoretical framework for the study of intercultural communication and provides a systematic approach to the analysis of language use. It is a very useful book for researchers as well as students. The first notion is discourse system, which consists of four key elements: ideology, face systems, forms of discourse, and socialization. This notion is helpful and insightful in looking at intercultural communication because it places language communication in relation to other systems (history, cultural value, politeness system, education, and media of communication). Many intercultural communication issues can be better explained by using this approach because language use reflects and connects with social and cultural practices. I also like the Scollons’ definition of culture by looking at discourse systems. Culture can be defined in multiple ways, but the Scollons’ definition of culture on the four key elements of discourse system can help researchers focus on key aspects of language use and key factors that affect communication across cultural groups. The second significant contribution is the notion of the grammar of context, which is based on the ethnography of communication. The grammar of context includes seven main components: scene, key, participants, message form, sequence, co-occurrence patterns, and manifestation. This concept is useful to contextualize and analyze interaction in any social setting. The concept of context is essential to sociolinguistic studies, but the definition of context varies considerably depending on the study. The Scollon’s grammar of context well defines the concept of context and, again, offers a systematic framework to study language use in relation to textual and contextual factors. The Scollons’ approach to the study of politeness is different from traditional treatment of politeness in that their approach ties the Brown and Levinson’s ([1978] 1987) concept of face to social and cultural systems. The Scollons outlined three types of politeness systems that are distinct from one and another, and yet, connected with each other. The three politeness systems are deference politeness system, solidarity politeness system, and hierarchical politeness system. To them, cultural differences in politeness behavior can be explained in these three types of politeness systems. What impressed me most is Ron’s deep concern for social action and social issues through the lens of linguistics. He approached linguistics with a mission to resolve social issues in the real world. His vision of linguistics is reflected in the book of Intercultural Communication. In this book, the Scollons linked discourse analysis with various kinds of intercultural communication, including professional, generational, regional, and corporation eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Yuling Pan.

Intercultural Communication and Ron Scollon: A Reflection

communication. This book is not a mere academic exercise to analyze intercultural communication, but a practical approach to bridging cultural differences in the use of language. The same set of principles outlined in the book can be applied to studying communication in any community of practice or in any language and culture. That is what makes this book valuable and timeless. I have been using the basic concepts in this book in my current position as a sociolinguist, leading the language and measurement research program at the United States Census Bureau. In my Census Bureau work, I deal with data in multiple languages and communication issues in multiple cultures. I rely heavily on the frameworks specified in the book of Intercultural Communication to develop systematic ways to examine language and cultural barriers for U.S. Census Bureau’s mission. I have constantly used the book’s principles to conceptualize research projects to tackle intercultural communication problems in developing key Census Bureau messages to communicate with the diverse U.S. populations. Ron’s works always remind me to look for ways to resolve real world or social issues (in my case, language barriers for data collection) through the lens of linguistics, and to have a vision of developing a high-level structure or framework to handle specific language problems. That is something unique about Ron’s works.


Brown, Penelope & Levinson, Stephen C. 1987. Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Scollon, Ron and Suzanne Wong Scollon. 2001. Intercultural Communication: A Discourse Approach. Malden, MA: Blackwell.


Some Issues of Intercultural Communication and the Work of Ron and Suzanne Scollon Cecilia Castillo-Ayometzi Georgetown University

I remember, as a graduate student, hearing some of Prof. Scollon’s lectures where he consistently reminded us to question conceptually loaded terms such as “culture,” “context,” or even “identity,” as we encountered them in the readings covered in class, or while selecting our own methodology to understand human interaction and communication. It is not until now that I am involved in intercultural affairs in a city government, as well as teaching a graduate course in intercultural communication, that I feel the urgency of getting some clarity on at least two problems that Ron Scollon posed for us when I was a student in his intercultural communication course. The first of these questions is obvious: what exactly should we mean when we use the term “culture”? The Second question is this: how do we know when we are seeing an intercultural encounter? The second question naturally follows from the first. In other words, we cannot determine what an intercultural encounter is unless we first know what we mean by “culture.” THE PROBLEMATIZATION OF “CULTURE” IN “INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION” Culture is a term that covers a contested and polysemic category, and one can just imagine how much more complicated the issue gets when incorporating into the mix related terms such as “crosscultural,” or “multicultural.” As Scollon and Scollon (2001: 128) stated, “the word culture brings up more problems than it solves.” Most importantly, they strongly assert that “[c]ultures do not talk to each other; individuals do” (Scollon and Scollon, 2001: 138). Ron and Suzanne Scollon, as evidenced in many of their writings, were constantly retuning their ideas and continuously incorporating their previous work and expanding them. This was certainly the case with Intercultural Communication. One can see how they went from conceiving Intercultural Communication as Interdiscourse Communication (Scollon & Scollon, 1995, 2001) to providing a mediational view of intercultural communication (1996a), and in later writings describing it as Nexus Analysis (Scollon, 2002; Scollon & Scollon, 2004, 2005). The Scollons held that culture would be better conceived, as Piller (2007) convincingly argues, as an imagined community (Anderson, 1991), and taking this into consideration in all of the re-workings of their theory, they advocated for a focus to be placed on an observable unit of analysis, social action. For them culture is understood as the intersection in which people appropriate the different meditational tools available to them at a particular time and place, thus inevitably also resulting in the constitution of their own social identity. In one of his lectures Ron Scollon (1996b) discusses the consequences of mismatching social and discourse identities. In later work the Scollons felt the urgency of addressing how “discourse becomes action, and action becomes discourse,” a point elegantly developed in their (2002, 2005) work on nexus analysis, which takes social action instead of the reified concept of culture or discourse as the object of study.

eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Cecilia Castillo-Ayometzi.

Some Issues of Intercultural Communication and the Work of Ron and Suzanne Scollon

ISSUES OF INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION If nexus analysis is the framework with which we can examine culture without reification, then we are left with the question of how one identifies instances of intercultural communication. Scollon (1996a, 1997) points to a problem of reification whereby when we attribute a national, linguistic or ethnic identity to people involved in an interaction, we tend to create these elements of “culture” as an analytical objects, and then assume that interactants are representatives of those objects. The danger is that we ignore what is actually going on because we assume that these people are acting as tokens of their “cultures,” ignoring their personal histories and social placements. One solution would be to consider all communication as interpersonal as opposed to intercultural, but in doing so we would fall into the traps of cognitivism and false individualism. There are, in fact, patterns of preference that groups of people share, such as the favored manner of appropriating address forms and names in interaction. Nevertheless, assuming national, ethnic or linguistic memberships overshadow the importance of much smaller groupings to which all people have memberships, that is, communities of practice (Lave and Wenger, 1991), also removes the analytical focus from what is going on in an interaction, what people appropriate to carry forward an interaction, and what these appropriated tools allow or do not allow them to do. Scollon (1996a: 10) states that “culture is a very loose collection of meditational means” organized into much smaller discourses to which all persons have access. “[T]he language we use must always be borrowed from some discourse which is located in time, history, and society, and our listeners hear not only meaning but also the time, history, and society from with we have borrowed our language.” In later work on nexus analysis, Ron Scollon (2002) makes the point that the temporal framing of an interaction can make a tremendous difference in the framing of a definition of what is going on. While some meditational means often have a certain time frame of availability for appropriation, they, and the persons who use them in an interaction, have a history and provenience. If one expands the time frame, or “circumference” of the interaction, it might appear to be something quite different. This highlights the importance of definition by both participants in the interaction, and by the analyst. Here we arrive at a very important meta-analytical question: who is framing or defining what is going on, and how? Scollon incorporates Burke’s pentad of motives (Burke, 1969[1945]) to show that there are in fact many ways in which one can interpret the origin and trajectory of an action. Scollon even argues that in most interactions, the intercultural quality is not even the most important one for understanding what is going on. So, that insight leads one to wonder about the possible motives of analysts in defining, or even obsessing with the intercultural dimension. If “intercultural” refers to politically central identity categories, as I see in the identity group politics of Washington, DC then perhaps this type of description might not be so much an ontological reading of an interaction, but a political one. This degree of arbitrariness in describing an interaction opens up the possibility of further analysis beyond simply identifying “intercultural miscommunication” in interactions. It also indicates that a lot is at stake in these interpretations. I remember when I was Ron Scollon’s student in his intercultural communication class how I longed for him to lay out for us a simple definition of “culture” and “intercultural,” and how, to his credit, he refused to do so, maintaining his intellectual integrity to the end, helping us to think these concepts through for ourselves, and to identify the problems surrounding their use in the literature. One piece of Ron Scollon’s legacy is seen in the fact that I now find myself in the same position in both my own intercultural communication classroom and in my intercultural work in government.


Some Issues of Intercultural Communication and the Work of Ron and Suzanne Scollon


Anderson, Benedict. (1991). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London: Verso. Burke, Kenneth. (1969 [1945]). A Grammar of Motives, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall. Lave, Jean and Etienne Wenger. (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Piller, Ingrid. (2007). Linguistics and Intercultural Communication. Language and Linguistic Compass. 1/3: 208-226. Online version located at: http://www.ciillibrary.org:8000/ciil/Fulltext/Language_and_Linguistic_%20Compass/2007/Vol_1_3_2 th 007/Article_5.pdf [Last accessed on May 12 , 2009.]

Scollon Ron and Suzie Wong Scollon. (2005). Lighting the stove: Why habitus isn’t enough for Critical Discourse Analysis. In Wodak, Ruth and Paul Chilton (Eds.), A New Agenda in (Critical) Discourse Analysis: Theory, Methodology, and Interdisciplinarity. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Scollon Ron and Suzie Wong Scollon. (2004). Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet, New York: Routledge. Scollon, Ron. (2002). Intercultural Communication as Nexus Analysis, Logos and Language: Journal of General Linguistics and Language Theory, III (2): 1-17. Scollon Ron and Suzanne Wong Scollon. (2001[1995]). Intercultural Communication: A Discourse Approach, Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. Scollon, Ron. (1997). Current Trends in Intercultural Communication Studies. Lecture Presented to the School of English Language Communication. Beijing Foreign Studies University, revised April 3. Scollon, Ron. (1996a). A Mediational View of Intercultural Communication. Lecture first presented to the School of Linguistics, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, 8 October, 1996, Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, Melbourne University, Melbourne Australia, 9 October 1996 and at the English Department, Guangdong Foreign Studies University, Guangzhou, PRC, 18 October 1996. Scollon, Ron. (1996b). Discourse identity, Social Identity, and Confusion in Intercultural Communication. Intercultural Communication Studies VI: 1.


Ron Scollon and the Little Blue Starbucks Book Najma Al Zidjaly Sultan Qaboos University

In Mediated Discourse: The Nexus of Practice, Ron Scollon advances the field of linguistics in general and discourse analysis in particular by questioning linguistic norms that have long been taken for granted. Chief among these are the primacy of language as a mediational means by which social identities are constructed (an unquestioned presupposition in almost all approaches to discourse analysis) and the assumptions that all practices originate in discourse and all discourses have the function of structuring practice (two unquestioned assumptions—particularly in critical discourse analysis and practice theory). While Scollon acknowledges at the onset of his book that language and action are connected, he does not take the nature of that connection at face value. As a result, the questions he investigates in his book are: In what specific ways are language and actions connected? And, what are the implications of such connection? Ron Scollon explores these questions by examining how Brenda, a 2-year-old child whose language acquisition he investigated in the 1970s, learns the action of handing objects to caregivers. Examining one particular action and the role that the accompanying discourse plays in accomplishing that action enables him to make several observations. First, there is no fixed or unique relationship between practices and discourses; instead, they are mutually constitutive. Second, actions are always meditated either by linguistic or non-linguistic means that are complex in themselves with histories and various connections. Third, discourse is best conceived as either a form of action or as a component of action because, though crucial, discourse is not a unique mediational means. Fourth, actions are social; hence, they are inherently communicative (i.e., they produce and reproduce social identities and histories within the nexus of practice or networks of linked practices in which they occur). These observations call for a new approach to discourse that centralizes action with a specific focus on discourse as both a component and kind of social action. Scollon defines this new mediated discourse approach—Mediated Discourse Analysis, or MDA—as an integrated discursive theory of social action that links non-discursive social theories (e.g., activity theory, mediated action theory, and practice theory) with theories that centralize language (e.g., critical discourse analysis and interactional sociolinguistics). Additionally, MDA draws upon approaches that centralize the dialectical relationship between discourse and action (e.g., conversational analysis, anthropological linguistics, and ethnography of communication). In so doing, it provides a remedy for polarized frameworks by centralizing action and resolves the current problematic issues of how people take action or exercise agency and the role that language plays in that process. The unit of analysis in mediated discourse theory is the mediated action. This is the moment social actors act in real time within complex nexuses of practice through the use of mediational means such as language and material objects. That is, MDA focuses on social action and only analyzes language (e.g., discourse, texts) when it is used by social actors as a crucial mediational means in carrying out particular actions. Centralizing action, however, does not insinuate that MDA is indifferent to discourse. In fact, MDA takes the position that discourse is an important but not unique mediational means. Thus, an essential task of a mediated approach is to examine the role that discourse plays in taking actions. Even though MDA focuses on action, it is similar to many approaches that centralize eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Najma Al Zidjaly.

Ron Scollon and the Little Blue Starbucks Book

language such as interactional sociolinguistics and conversation analysis. For instance, MDA concentrates also on real-time ordinary day-to-day practices. In fact, MDA focuses on the strategic means social actors employ to achieve their intended meanings through a collaborative and constant process of self- and other-negotiations. Additionally, MDA shares with interactional sociolinguistics and conversation analysis some methodological approaches: All use audio- and videotaped data and playback sessions as well as sharing similar transcription conventions. Thus, MDA is well suited methodologically and theoretically for analyzing discourse as well as action. However, because it is a theory that centralizes activism by analyzing the moments in which social action takes place, with a specific focus on discourse, it is particularly well suited for discourse research that addresses social issues and conflicts. Mediated Discourse: The Nexus of Practice is a well argued book that advances the field of linguistics by proposing a new unifying theory aimed at analyzing what really happens when people act or interact. Additionally, it is a book that resonates with many of Scollon’s students at Georgetown University. Ron Scollon wrote a book that not only places him at the forefront of academia but which reveals his gift of conveying complex ideas and theories using simple language and accessible examples. In many ways, the book demonstrates the kind of man he was: an academic whose work went beyond the ivory tower, to examine mundane, yet fundamentally complex and important human actions. First was his choice to open the book with an analytical discussion of having a cup of coffee at Starbucks (earning the book the nickname of “The Starbucks book”). Second was the book’s small size and simple blue cover (earning the book the second nickname of “The little blue book,” despite its serious and “big” content). Third was Scollon’s choice of data (a focus on the ontogenesis of a single social practice by a 2-year-old over a long period of time). Fourth was his choice to place a picture of Brenda playing with him at the beginning of the book. These examples and more help us get to know Ron Scollon—an original, scientific, and thoughtprovoking academic who was also approachable, humorous, witty, and humane. On a personal level, Ron Scollon’s little blue Starbucks book was key to my thinking and my path as a researcher of agency. On the one hand, MDA makes it clear that the concept of agency, which has an unsatisfactory history, needs to be examined further, along with many other concepts linguists have long avoided—such as context and multimodal analysis. On the other hand, his book provides researchers the necessary tools to examine such concepts that were difficult to analyze adequately before due to the lack of theorizing and lack of linguistic tools. Thus, this book is a labor of love written by a man who loved elucidating and disentangling the complexities of everyday social interaction and who had fun doing it. He and his books will continue to serve as an inspiration to others


Navigating Maps: Review and personal commentary on Ron Scollon’s (2003) The Dialogist in a Positivist World Barbara Soukup University of Vienna

When Ron Scollon retired from Georgetown University at the end of the fall term of 2005, we then-students seized this rather gloomy occasion to express our heartfelt gratitude to him for his long years of teaching and guidance, by means of a very personal present: a collection of individual notes and cards assembled on a length of string which, according to the originators of this idea and in reference to Ron's most recent work, symbolized a 'nexus' of farewells and thank-you's. In my own note to him, I remember thanking Ron 'for not only helping me think outside the box, but for showing me how to take the box apart, consider its shape and content, and then ask who put the box there in the first place and why.' To this day, I treasure the influence his teachings have had on my analytical thinking, in terms of not taking things (like objects, people, actions, and the way we talk about them) for granted or for what they seem at first glance, but to inquire into their roles and provenance, including, notably, all the visible and invisible 'discourses' cycling through. (Ron's methodology regarding how to do this is of course well documented in his books and articles, some of which are reviewed in this very eVox tribute issue.) For me as a student, becoming 'socialized' in such de-construction of my surroundings was at first an awesome and slightly unsettling experience, which left me with the obvious, big questions – is everything around us, including all my knowledge about the world, 'relative,' socially constructed, a figment of my socio-culturally shaped, educated, habituated, and manipulated mind? Here is where Ron's article on 'The Dialogist in a Positivist World' (2003) came to my rescue, laying out the field of tension between positivist and constructivist perspectives on science (and the world in general) in such a thoughtful, succinct, and utterly comprehensible way, while also indicating ideas on how to reconcile oneself with both perspectives, that I've become guilty of considering it (and recommending it to people) as a manifesto of postpostmodernist sociolinguistic inquiry (a fact Ron would certainly have had interesting comments on). In this article, Ron Scollon elucidates the relationship between what he calls the 'dialogist or constructionist' and the 'hypothetico-deductive' perspectives on human knowledge and science. The latter can be considered the 'classical' view, which comprises as key aspects "an epistemology that asserts that knowledge consists of the truth testing of statements through a set of agreed rules of discursive procedure and an ontology that asserts that knowledge is 'about' something that is itself outside of the discursive system of hypothetico-deductive procedures" (p.75). In other words, the hypothetico-deductive perspective on knowledge and science is fundamentally realist in its assertion that there is a world that is independent of our discourses about it, and rationalist in its assertion that through following rules of procedure in our discourses about the world we can come to know it in a way that is both reliable and valid; reliable in the sense that repeated attempts to know it will discover the same world if and when rules are followed, and valid in the sense that what is said corresponds in a regular and predictable way to an extra-discursive world. (75)

eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Barbara Soukup.

Navigating Maps: Review and personal commentary on Ron Scollon’s (2003) The Dialogist in a Positivist World

By contrast, a dialogist or constructionist perspective on human knowledge and science assumes that "any statements made, including scientific hypotheses, carry with them the specific positions and histories of the languages in which they are made", so that a formal detachment of a statement from the socio-cultural conditions under which it was made "is a theoretical impossibility, not just a methodological difficulty" (76). (Here, 'languages' should be broadly conceived to include the "highly formalized languages of mathematics and science".) From such a perspective, "there is an ontology – more often pre-supposed than argued – that asserts discourse as primary. That is, dialogical theory takes a semiotized world as primary, and all other worlds as discursively derived" (76). It follows that knowledge is seen as discursively constructed, and that it is furthermore open to discussion "whether or not there is anything that can be known outside of these discourses" (77). The task of theorizing, then, consists of deconstructing knowledge discourses (i.e. finding and clarifying their historical and socio-cultural antecedents that are taken for granted) and then recontextualizing them (i.e. repositioning the discourses under study in their socio-cultural context, which includes the position of the researcher) – (76). After laying out these two seemingly opposing poles within human ontology (study of the nature of existence) and epistemology (study of knowledge), Ron Scollon turns to the 'critical realism' of Roy Bhaskar (e.g. 1989) for an attempt at reconciliation. Bhaskar argues that we must accept that there is indeed a world that exists independently of descriptions of it; but, in turn, our knowledge of this world is inevitably discursively produced: "That is to say, in a few words, that critical realism takes the position of a realist ontology coupled with a constructivist epistemology" (Scollon 2003:78). This is also captured in Korzybski's succinct aphorism 'The map is not the territory' (1931[1994]). A radical constructivist position would hold that "the territory is nothing but the map; change the map and you have changed the territory"; while the extreme positivist position would be that "there is nothing you can do in manipulating your map that ultimately will affect the territory it maps" (Scollon 2003:78). Borrowing from Bhaskar and Korzybski, then, Ron Scollon argues that as humans, we have constructed a rather large number of " 'human epistemological constructs' (HECs) – maps for short" such as "languages, mathematical characterizations, photographs, road maps, cultures, semiotic codes". In describing the relationship between these constructs and the territory they are proposing to map (i.e. the 'real world'), it is, however, "impossible to take either a radical positivist or a radical constructivist position". Rather, "the realist world and our human epistemological constructs have a dialogical or dialectical relationship to each other – that is, the world exerts pressure on what we can say about it and at the same time our constructs can bring about changes in reality" (78-79). In the article, this is illustrated with the example of John Mandeville's travel writings, which were used by Columbus for guidance on his journey across the sea. Mandeville's map (which appears downright crude and false from today's perspective) didn't change the world simply by being drawn. However, on the other hand, the existence and use of the map did indeed bring about changes in human epistemological constructs (introducing notions like 'the West' or 'Indians'), which, long-term, brought about changes in the material and real world. Ron Scollon then goes on to argue that, as human languages, culture, and scientific descriptions can all be seen as HECs or 'maps' (see above), "our analyses in the social sciences and in the humanities are not at all maps of the world in any direct sense, but, in fact, they are maps of maps, human epistemological constructs about or of other human epistemological constructs, not about 'the world' in any direct sense" (79). In short, human sciences are secondary "ways of knowing ways of knowing the world" (80), unlike, perhaps, more physiological or material sciences. As such, human sciences would in fact want to take a constructivist perspective, which can actually, by means of a positioned and self-reflective philosophy, provide the tools to 'log on' to human perception and experience of 'reality'. At 46

Navigating Maps: Review and personal commentary on Ron Scollon’s (2003) The Dialogist in a Positivist World

the same time, however, it still seems necessary to grant some room at least to the possibility of 'certainty', as a "fundamental prerequisite for taking meaningful social action", or, put simply, for changing this 'reality'. In other words, influencing human 'ways of knowing the world', which may be the ultimate interest of at least some social scientists, is only meaningful if we admit the (positivist) possibility of real-world outcomes and effects. Thus, an integrated perspective seems warranted in the social sciences, drawing on both positivist and constructivist views of human ontology and epistemology, while making sure to keep up a true dialogue with the members of the particular communities of practice being studied and their experiences and concerns. I, for one, have been utterly convinced. It is to Ron Scollon's great and lasting credit that he not only laid out the argument, as in the article I have just summarized, but that he also time and again showed us students how to follow through on it. He will continue to do so as his words and teachings echo in our minds and resonate with the large readership of his books and articles around the world. References

Bhaskar, Roy. 1989. Reclaiming reality: A critical introduction to contemporary philosophy. London: Verso. Scollon, Ron. 2003. The dialogist in a positivist world. Korzybski, Alfred. 1931 [1994]. A non-Aristotelian system and its necessity for rigour in mathematics and physics. In Science and sanity: an introduction to non-Aristotelian systems and general semantics, 747- 61. 5th ed. Fort Worth, TX: Institute of General Semantics.


Analyzing Language in the Material World Aida Premilovac Independent Scholar

It is 8 p.m. and you are rushing out of your apartment building to meet your friend for dinner. You get into your car, but notice that construction has begun in some sections of your neighborhood, so you follow the construction and traffic notices to find your way to the street that will take you to the restaurant. You get to your destination and apologize to your friend for being a bit late. You place your cell phone on the table in case you get that urgent phone call and order your meal from a colorful menu after first inquiring about today’s specials. You usually look for that information written in chalk on the restaurant’s board located on the sidewalk, but this evening you did not have time to do so. You order a bottle of good French wine. When it arrives, you inspect the label, and taste it before showing an approving look and ordering an entire bottle. All this time you are trying to stay engaged in a conversation with your friend. In Discourses in Place: Language in the Material World, Ron Scollon and Suzi Wong Scollon encourage all those interested in the study of public discourse not to limit their observations to the spoken and written language, but to engage in ‘the study of the social meaning system of the material placement of signs and discourses and of our actions in the material world’ (p.211). For the Scollons, this is geosemiotics, and it consists of three main systems: the interaction order (different kinds of social interaction people engage in when they get together), visual semiotics (the ways in which visual images produce social meaning), and place semiotics (patterns that contribute to the meaning of the place). The Scollons’ framework is unique in that it combines and builds on Erving Goffman’s work on social interaction, Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen’s work on visual semiotics, and Edward T. Hall’s work on socio-cultural patterns of time, perceptual spaces, and interpersonal distances. Using the dinner story as an illustration, a geosemiotic analysis, as proposed by the Scollons, would not rest just on the language used on the street or in the restaurant – the instructions you read on the newly placed construction notices in your neighborhood, the words on the menu, or the greetings and conversation you exchange with your friend. It would also, among other things, pay attention to the location of you and your friend relative to other guests in the restaurant and to each other (e.g., Are other guests seated at an intimate distance? What contributes to this meaning of intimacy in public?); the location of the construction notices and the restaurant’s info board (e.g., Do the notices fulfill a need or give an adequate time for appropriate response?); the design and placement of images in your menu (e.g., Are they centered? What color modalities have been used?); the choice of letterform and language on the French wine label, the restaurant’s menu, and its signs (e.g., Is the wine label written in French or some other language? If the menu is written in different languages, what is the order of them on a given page?); material qualities of signs and other objects (e.g., Are they made of brass, plastic, cloth, paper etc.? Are they durable or not? Are they engraved, written in chalk, or conveyed in some other way?). These are just a few examples of the information which contributes to the understanding of the meaning systems by which language is located in the material world. The Scollons highlight that ethnographic work has to remain an important aspect of geosemiotic analyses because “[…] the understanding of the visual semiotic systems at play in any particular instance relies crucially on an ethnographic understanding of the meaning of eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Aida Premilovac.

Analyzing Language in the Material World

these systems within specific communities of practice” (p.160). A sign we may see in a different culture, for example, may remain completely imperceptible to us if we do not bother to understand the ways in which meanings are created and understood in that culture. This is equally applicable to communities within our reach. When I signed up for Ron’s Public Discourse class in 1999, which was also my first and last class with him, I was shocked when I discovered that we would not focus on the spoken language at all, but rather explore ‘language in the material world.’ This was a new and bizarre idea to me. Until then, my work in linguistics had focused mainly on narrative and conversation analyses, and I began doubting if I should stay in Ron’s course at all as it seemed removed from the field. I decided to show up for at least one session to see what it was all about. But Ron’s passionate teaching and vision of linguistics which challenged the limits of the field made me not only stay in his class but also push the limits of my own perception and undertake years of research on public and newspaper obituaries in Bosnia and Herzegovina, my country of origin. My family and friends get shocked when they see me photograph or cut out one of those death notices, or talk to people about death and death rituals. They wonder why anyone would want to do or read such a bizarre analysis. I find myself chuckling in response, just as Ron did in class when he sensed that he was pushing the limits of our imagination, and embark on a long story about Ron’s genius. I am not sure if I am persuasive enough in explaining all the benefits of my own research observations, but I am indescribably thankful to Ron for challenging my ways of looking at the world so that I have the necessary strength to try to challenge the minds of others.


How To Do Discourse Analysis: Reflection on Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet Jackie Jia Lou City University of Hong Kong Even though the word “Internet” appears in this book’s sub-title2, Ron Scollon and Suzie Wong Scollon analyze not just how discourse changes with new communication technology. In their own words, their central interest in writing this book is to “place this analysis in the broader context of the social, political, and cultural issues of any particular time” (Scollon and Scollon, 2004). Based on a comprehensive review of their own research activities in Alaska (mostly with Native Alaskans) from late 1970s to early 1980s in various social contexts, the Scollons propose nexus analysis as a kind of discourse analysis integrated with ethnography, in which the historical trajectories of individuals, institutions, and instruments involved in moments of social interactions are examined and linked. Given the wide scope of their research and the variety of methods employed, this book should not only interest researchers of computer-mediated communication but also offer insights into literacy studies, intercultural interaction, and ethnography of communication. Most importantly, it is a guide to do discourse analysis that engages directly with imminent social issues. The seven chapters can be roughly divided into three sections. The first two chapters propose the framework of nexus analysis and lay out its conceptual influences. The reader will encounter many new terms and concepts here. Essentially, nexus analysis focuses on a moment of social action involving social actors, the interaction order among them, and the occurring discourse. The key of nexus analysis is then to extend from this particular moment of social interaction and examines the historical trajectory of each component. Thus, the trajectory of an individual becomes their historical body, the trajectory of interaction order forms more stable kinds of social relationships, and the trajectory of discourses occurs in a multitude of semiotic modes.3 Chapter 3 to 6 introduce the empirical focus of the book -- the changes in communication patterns when the authors started adopting emails in the classrooms at University of Alaska in 1980s, and discuss how their earlier ethnographic work and consultation projects with Native Alaskans had motivated this change and later illuminated its effects. Chapter 4 reminds us, Internet, as all other cultural tools employed in the production of discourses, is also a socio-economic resource deeply embedded in the political economy of that time. Turning toward the first component -- historical body -- in Chapter 5, the Scollons draw from cross-cultural comparison of a pre-sentencing interview between an English speaking parole officer and a Native Alaskan client and shed light on the historical body of Alaskan native students, whose reluctance to speak in the university classroom had been negatively evaluated. Native Alaskans tend to perceive questions as invitations to reflect and introspect, rather than respond and interact, which explains why asynchronous modes of interaction, such as emails, generated class discussions more effectively in the classrooms where the authors were teaching. Chapter 6 examines how different framing of university education for rural Alaskan students as “access” or “retention” circulated through cycles of institutional discourses. Again, a multifaceted analysis of this 2 As Ron once explained in his signature way, the publisher insisted putting “Internet” in the title, because it sells. 3 Nexus analysis is, however, not limited to these three elements. To the figure on page 20, I would at least at mediational means or cultural tool from an earlier framework developed in Scollon 2001.

eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Jackie Jia Lou.

How to Do Discourse Analysis: Reflection on Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet

controversy drove one of the authors to adopt emails to reduce the distance between university instructors and students. In the concluding chapter, they apply motive analysis to their own research activities and emphasize again that social change starts with the researchers themselves as they engage and navigate the nexus of practice. Even though many of the concepts in the book, especially in the first theoretical part, might be new to the reader, they do, however, have affinity to a number of other familiar concepts with a wider circulation in sociolinguistic literature. Notably, the first word in nexus of practice reminds us of social network analysis, and the second word makes us think of the term community of practice. Similar to social network, nexus of practice avoids assuming membership boundaries. On the other hand, it shares with community of practice in its focus on action. In other words, a nexus of practice links individuals through a social action, e.g., buying a cup of coffee, rather than any fixed social relationship, e.g., kinship. And it does not presume these individuals share a set of practices. Buying coffee is a different social practice from making and selling coffee. However, the practice of handing is the link between barista and customer. Similarly, teachers and students, parole officers and clients, consultants and native bead-workers in Ron and Suzie’s study are all connected in a nexus of practice situated in Alaska in the 1980s, namely economic boom brought by oil discovery which further gave incentive for improving access to higher education for rural Alaskans. In this way, nexus of practice provides a way to concretely illustrate the micro-macro connection, “a strategy for identifying relevant processes and their interconnections” (Wortham 2006, p. 128). Since this new framework is based on a synthesis of Ron and Suzie’s numerous earlier ethnographic projects with Native Alaskans from 1976 to 1983 or so, we find many priceless tips for starting researchers like myself sprinkled throughout the book. In Chapter 4, after an overview of their work at that time in Alaska, they advise, “We believe that it was important for us that we did not try to develop our original questions as analyses in any extended form. At the first stage of engaging the nexus of practice, the questions and problems were given to us by the people and the institutions we worked with. ... The important thing we believe was to be flexible and ready to change our own ideas about what the major issues really were or how they would be best addressed.” (p.82). Once the most important research questions are found, they illustrate most remarkably in Chapter 6, how different methods such as ethnography and motive analysis (Kenneth Burke) can be well integrated with discourse analysis to locate the core of the problem and thus point to the solution. As with their other frameworks, nexus analysis was not intended to be a steadfast guideline to be followed. To borrow a metaphorical story Ron once told me in email, a theoretical framework is like a plan for building a house. When we actually start building it, we often find it necessary to modify parts or sometimes the entirety of the plan. Otherwise, the house will collapse. As Stanton Wortham (2006) also notes in his review, Nexus Analysis provides instead “a theoretical and methodological framework in which more concrete methodological guidance can be given” (p.130). While I am writing and thus thinking about nexus analysis, more questions have come up. For example, are historical body and institutionalized social relation not also parts of discourse cycles? If so, then could discourse still stand as an autonomous component of the nexus? In the past, I would have sent Ron an email with these question marks, and would have found a thoughtful reply in my inbox within 24 hours if he was not traveling. Now Suzie answers my questions in the same way and time frame . But I think they will be even happier if I do not seek answers only from them, but from reading others’ work and, more importantly, from my own empirical research. As they conclude and propose in the last chapter, “Inquiry is social activism. We now think it is the only effective form of activism” (p. 149). Moreover, I think the questions raised in this


How to Do Discourse Analysis: Reflection on Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet

book are themselves a node in the nexus of practice of social inquiry, awaiting to be resemiotized into research proposals, studies, findings, and newer questions. References

Scollon, Ron, and Suzie Wong Scollon. 2004. Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet. London and New York: Routledge. Wortham, Stanton. 2006. Review of Ron Scollon and Suzanne Wong Scollon, Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet. Journal of Sociolinguistics 10 (1): 127-131.


You, too, can be a Discourse Analyst: A Personal Review of Analyzing Public Discourse Alexandra Johnston Iowa State University

In September 2001, the U.S. government initiated the sale of several oil and natural gas leases in waters off of Alaska to energy industry corporations. When the government begins such a sale process, it is required by law to prepare environmental impact statements and make them available to the public. The public may then make submit oral and written comments in a series of public meetings. These sales were ‘strongly opposed by most members of the three Native American communities…who live on that coastline and have conducted whaling on the ice and in those waters for innumerable generations as an essential foundation of their survival and of their sociocultural organization and identity’ (25). Members of these affected communities appeared at these public hearings to go on record about their opposition. Analyzing Public Discourse outlines the method Ron developed, called Public Consultative Discourse Analysis (PCDA), to analyze the documents and transcripts associated with these sorts of public hearings. It is meant to be a training guide for undergraduate students and anyone else who wants to provide testimony in a public consultative process using basic tools of discourse analysis. Two quotes from the preface present two of my favorite points about Ron. He writes: “I have written the book because I am convinced that the field of discourse analysis not only can be, but should be, directly engaged in the processes of developing public policy, of democratic public discourse, and of social justice (Scollon 2008: ix).” Ron always inspired me with his commitment to usefulness. He adopted and adapted and created theory and methods of discourse analysis with the goal of describing, understanding and changing the world. That called to me. I want to change the world and work for social justice, too. But how much can you do when one of your chosen tools is…discourse analysis? Ron showed me, through his work and his life, how you can try to do that. He was realistic about how much could be accomplished by analyzing words and action, given the forums that discourse analysts typically have access to. But he was always encouraging and optimistic. I can’t remember a time when I left a consultation with Ron without feeling buoyed and hopeful—despite all reasons to the contrary. Ron continues in the book’s preface: “It will, perhaps, surprise you that I believe from a democratic-process point of view that it is more important for the analyst, that is you, the reader, to be committed to engagement in the process of policy development than for you to be a highly specialized and credentialed discourse analyst (Scollon 2008: ix).” Ron empowered his students. We had a workshop once on how to set up an intercultural communication consulting business. We worked through exercises in a handbook drawn from materials he created with Suzie and Yuling and at the end of the workshop he pronounced: “Now you’re credentialed.” He knew the importance of credentials, especially for those of us who felt we needed them. But he also worked to convince us that we had the tools we needed usually already within ourselves. As a student and fledging researcher, I gained confidence under his mentorship. When I proposed to videotape green-card interviews within the tightly-controlled immigration service, I was

eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Alexandra Johnston.

You, too, can be a discourse analyst: A personal review of Analyzing Public Discourse

turned down for grants by reviewers who thought I would never gain access. But Ron believed I could do it and provided consistent, constructive help. And I did it. It turns out that the public hearings on the environmental impact of drilling for oil and gas involve a bending and blending of different discourses. Ron shows that Western scientific discourse is bent to the purpose of political discourse (in presenting cases for and against drilling) and crowds out other discourses, such as those of traditional knowledge or subsistence knowledge, among others. In fact, the meetings are structured so that this is the case; only presentations based upon environmental science are deemed relevant. And the main stakeholders—the energy corporations—never appear. Their consultations with government officials are held behind closed doors under the veil of ‘proprietary information’ or even ‘national security’. In another context, Ron deemed these meetings a ‘sham’. Describing such shams and misuses of power using the tools of discourse analysis has several effects. It requires the government to respond, as by law they are supposed to do. It changes the dynamic of public discourse. It shows me that tools of discourse analysis can have an effect on the world and can shift power relations. This has been a difficult review to write. I have had to face my sadness and sense of loss. What I really want to say is that this book, out of all of Ron’s books and articles, has turned out to be one of the most meaningful to me. It was the last book that Ron sent me. I used it in teaching my first seminar in discourse analysis. Teaching that course included several other firsts. It was the first course I’d taught since graduate student days when I encountered the linking of discourse analysis and social justice in Ron’s classes. And it was the first course I’d taught since Ron died and I was without his consistent good humor and support. A class never passed in which I didn’t think about him, acknowledge my debts to him, and wish I could email him. It was important to me that I present his work for discussion and debate, in order to show a new generation of students what can be done with discourse analysis, and to honor Ron, whom I was so privileged to know as a scholar, mentor, and friend. There are no more emails flying back and forth, but the conversation continues.


Narrative Social Analysis and Some Notes on Ron as an Advisor Andrew Jocuns University of Washington

Some of Ron’s latest and unfinished work had to do with narrative and social analysis. In this view of narrative Ron sought to reconfigure how narrative was thought about and analyzed within social science proper. In the paper Ron introduced a way of producing analyses of social action critical of the ways in which social analysts have used the term narrative. He goes on to show five disparate narrative structures and the different types of narrative they produce questioning throughout the Aristotelian tripartite structure of narrative that has come to dominate narrative work in social analysis. There are a number of things that are striking about this work. First Ron never sets out to define what narrative is outright, intentionally I assume to allow for the variety of ways in which things and actions in the world might be a narrative to someone. Second while on the surface this seems as if it is a cultural relativist argument, Ron suggests otherwise noting that the point of having an understanding of different types of narrative structures is that we, as social analysts who love to analyze narrative, can never pin down exactly which narrative structure someone from even our own culture might be using. The idea that other people, perhaps even within our own culture, may use a variety of narrative structures in telling events has the potential to expand the scope of narrative and social analysis. It is worth noting that this paper was not, and perhaps is not, the end of this discussion. Ron had outlined the initial makings of a book on narrative and social analysis where he drew upon the notion of storylines derived from media studies to discuss the variety of storylines that are used in narratives. He used the concepts of onset, tension, and resolution to discuss what he referred to as the calibration of storylines and began rigorous methodological treatise to discuss the variety of ways in which storylines are calibrated. I will stop there as I do not wish to focus upon a book that was just outlined and may or may not be finished. However, it is interesting to note in the outline for this work, and the paper from which it emerged, to offer a few points about how Ron approached the subjects he was studying. As many of us know, Ron was quite a prolific writer and he always seemed to have his finger on some novel analytical approach that was ripe for the taking that would evolve into a book. Whether he was drawing our attention to a watch (Scollon 1998) as opposed to a with (Goffman 1971), the hidden dialogicality embedded within any text (Scollon 2000), the importance of rhythm in spoken language and in action (Scollon 1982, 2005), or drawing our attention to the dissipative structures that should be considered the norm in linguistic studies (Scollon 1977), Ron was constantly developing novel ways of analysis to social research and linguistics. Linguistics was not the end game for Ron; rather, he used it as a springboard to open up different lines of research. Both Ron and Suzie’s work has had an impact on a variety of disciplines from education to public policy. If there is anything that I could say about how Ron worked as an advisor that is relevant to that point is that if you broached a subject with Ron you would often find yourself reading and researching work that on the surface seemed far removed from linguistics, but after awhile you would realize that Ron was not sending you on a wild goose chase, rather he was setting you up to do something new and different. As such, when I began my studies at Georgetown I never imagined that they would lead me to an interest in education research in learning sciences. eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Andrew Jocuns.

Narrative Social Analysis and Some Notes on Ron as an Advisor

Ron was an excellent teacher. He was able to give his students a voice that made us feel as if we were on par with him. He made us feel as if our thoughts were important and that made his courses always special. Where Ron seemed like a genius in class he was a master as an adviser. Having been at a few different places since graduating I have seen mentorship handiwork enough to draw that conclusion. Some students excel in the classroom, but the real work is what happens when you are no longer taking courses and doing work on your own. At this stage many students who were stalwarts in the classroom disappear, and if I could put my finger on one thing that made Ron extraordinary as an adviser was his ability to hone me in when I needed it the most. Another interesting thing about Ron that you may not have gotten if you were not his student or had him on your committee, were the types of questions he asked. It is difficult to describe those types of questions, but I would have to say that he assumed, or rather expected you to know the basics. He once told me while advising me for my orals that if he asked me a question such as what does so and so’s paper mean to such and such a topic, I should assume that I had failed. Ron liked big open-ended questions that forced you to think about things that you may never have considered in the first place. Ron really worked at a higher logical level and he did his damnedest to get you there with him. So I will end by noting the question he asked me at my defense. It was something like: Ingrid did this, Sigrid did that, Najma did this, you did this, so what should I study next, where should I go next with my work? References

Goffman, E. 1971. Relations in public. New York: Harper and Row. Scollon, R. 1977. Dissipative structures, Chipewyan consonants, and the modern consciousness. Department of Linguistics, University of Hawaii: Working Papers in Linguistics, 9(3):43-64. Scollon, R. 1982. The rhythmic integration of ordinary talk. In D. Tannen (ed.) Analyzing Discourse: Text and Talk. Washington, DC: Georgetown University press, 335-349. Scollon, R. 1998. Reading as social interaction: The empirical grounding of reading. Semiotica 118(3/4):281-294. Scollon, R. 2000. Hidden dialogicality: When infelicity becomes infringement. In Malcolm Coulthard, Janet Cotterill, and Frances Rock (eds.) Dialogue Analysis VII: Working with Dialogue. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. 425 - 439. Scollon, R. (2005). The rhythmic integration of action and discourse: work, the body and the earth. In S. Norris & R.H. Jones (Ed.), Discourse in action (pp. 20-31). London: Routledge.


Musings on “Scollonese” and a Medley of Texts by Ron and Suzie Scollon Ingrid de Saint-Georges University of Geneva

When I work, there is often one of Ron and Suzie’s Scollon books or articles lying around my apartment. They are books and articles I keep coming back to. Why is it ? For one thing, they are books with a voice and reading them is like entering again a conversation with their authors. That voice is warm and inviting—sharply intelligent and humorous too. They are also books that keep on giving. They do not lend themselves well to quick summarizing. You cannot just close them thinking « ok, I’ve got the point ». They are books that are generously replete with many points and paths for further inquiry. They are books that kind of answer back to you: What is your own idea on this ? How could you research this topic ? They set you in motion. How is this accomplished ? If Scollonese was a textual genre, what would be some of its recurring features or ingredients ? The text might very well start from experience—and from “ a process of trying to be true to that experience and find a theory that does not violate it ” (Elbow, 2000 : 63). The experience is often a simple one and might involve a bit of narrative—buying a cup of coffee at Starbucks (Scollon, 2001), handing a bill in Honk Hong (Scollon, 1997), lighting a stove (Scollon & Scollon, 2005), nailing a floor (Scollon, 2005b), etc. The goal is to allow the ideas discussed to live in some contextually rich environment. Then, the authors invite us to engage in a process of seeing more complexity and contradiction in this experience. This can include, for example, analyzing it in more details so that it has more than two sides (Scollon, 2008), opening up the circumference of analysis (Scollon & Scollon, 2004) so that we look at it from a different timescale, changing point of view (Scollon, 2002), etc. It can also include mobilizing categories and concepts, from a vast array of fields in the social sciences— Eastern and Western—and beyond, to sort through different aspects of that experience or social reality. The point is always to get away from simple and single truths and to create instead a situation of imbalance, irresolution and nonclosure. Beyond, the authors often manage to get you to see that maybe even that more complex reality is not the whole story. At this point, as a reader, you might need to alter the very meanings you brought to the reading of the text in the first place. Your perspective has now changed, precipitating new thinking and perhaps new action. It is hard indeed to have understood or discovered something and not do anything with it. It is hard not getting puzzled or enthused reading an article by Ron and Suzie Scollon as their wide audience shows. What is my favorite piece by them ? It is difficult for me to single just one of them. There are probably five or six texts I regularly come back to : Nexus Analysis (2001); Ethnography of motives (2002a) ; What’s the point ? Can Mediated Discourse Analysis Stop the War ?(2002b) The construction of agency and action in anticipatory discourse: positioning ourselves against neo-liberalism ?(2000) ; Analyzing public discourse (2008) ; Discourses in places : language in the material world (2003). Several of these texts share the common property of including fieldguides in their midst, or tips for observations. They do not just debate about theoretical issues. They provide you with activitities for identifying some social issue and get into meaningful action about it. They give you resources for doing it. These resources are “not a set of rules, but a set of tools” readers may chose to use eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Ingrid de Saint-Georges

Musings on “Scollonese” and a Medley of Texts by Ron and Suzie Scollon

according to the specifics of the occasion and in any way they want (Scollon & Scollon, 1986), in a spirit of freedom and discovery. Of all the titles that include such a practical outlook, I have a particular fondness for a small book written about 25 years ago, largely outof-print, published by The Black Current Press, Haines, Alaska, and entitled Responsive Communication : Patterns for making sense (1986). It is this book I would like to discuss more in detail in closing. The point of departure of the book is that we live in a society where we talk much, but we have not learned to always listen well. In that context, Responsive Communication purports to “distill the essential communication patterns you need in order to become a better listener” as the introduction states (p.2). The book lays out fifty ways or patterns for transforming the way you communicate and relate to others by transforming the way you respond to them. The patterns are built on research literature drawn from linguistics, anthropology, psychology or management, and the book is a model of how research results and outcomes can be translated for a wider audience. A guiding section explains how to use the patterns to improve responsivity in the situation of interest to the reader, whether s/he is seeking to improve communication in an organizational setting or in interpersonal encounters, or to engage in personal development. What makes me particularly like this book is that Ron did not just carry the research to identify what could be features of more responsive communication. He also exerted the kind of listening and responsive communication he and Suzie advocate in this book. Whomever has shared conversations with him experienced that fabulous quality of listening—a form of listening connecting you with your own power. This book lays out a path for working on creating that relation with others. It is not just a text, it is a practical guide for engaging in a process of becoming more respectful of oneself and of others. The five last patterns read : “Tell stories – Joke – Exercise – Watch your diet – Cultivate your own humanity – Enjoy the humanity of others ”. I am grateful for Ron’s vital warmth and for each exchange and every conversation shared. I am grateful for his commitment to responsive communication. Walking in his steps, I too will try to “cultivate friends unlike myself”, “learn from others”, “not worry as much about my image as about my human identity”, “pause”, “hedge”, “do creative wandering”, “listen to accents” and “begin with small differences”. References

Elbow, P. (2000). Everyone can write. Essays toward a hopeful theory of writing and teaching writing. New York, Oxford : Oxford University Press. Scollon, R. (1997). Handbills, tissues, and condoms: A Site of Engagement for the Construction of Identity in Public Discourse. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 1(1):39-61. Scollon, R. (2001). Action and text : Toward an integrated understanding of the place of text in social (inter) action. In R. Wodak & M. Meyer (eds.). Methods in Critical Discourse Analysis. London : Sage, pp. 139-183. Scollon, R. (2002a). Toward an ethnography of motives. Martin Spector Lecture in Applied Linguistics. Center for Language Acquisition, Pennsylvania State University, October 10, 2002. Scollon, R. (2002b). What’s the point ? Can mediated discourse analysis stop the war ? Unpublished. Scollon, R. (2003). Discourses in Place : Language in the material world. London : Routledge. Scollon, R. (2005). The rhythmic integration of action and discourse: work, the body and the earth. In S. Norris & R. H. Jones (Eds.), Discourse in action: introducing mediated discourse analysis. London and New York: Routledge. Scollon, R. (2008). Analyzing public discourse : Discourse analysis in the making of public policy. London and New York : Routledge.


Musings on “Scollonese” and a Medley of Texts by Ron and Suzie Scollon

Scollon, R. (2008). Aristotle fails to persuade the donkey : Conflicting logics in narrative social analyis. Lecture prepared for Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark. Scollon, R. and S. Wong Scollon (2004). Nexus Analysis : Discourse and the Emerging Internet. London and New York : Routledge. Scollon, R. and S. Wong Scollon (2005) Lighting the stove: Why habitus isn’t enough for critical discourse analysis. In Ruth Wodak and Paul Chilton (eds) A new agenda in (critical) discourse analysis. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 101-117. Scollon, S. & Scollon, R. (2000). The construction of agency and action in anticipatory discourse: positioning ourselves against neo-liberalism. Paper presented at the Third Conference for Sociocultural Research. UNICAMP, Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 16-20.


Insights Across Disciplines: The Affordances of the Scollons’ Work for a Political Scientist Guy F. Shroyer University of the District of Columbia

INTRODUCTION: RON AND SUZIE’S SCOLLON’S MENTORSHIP My friend Ron Scollon loved to tell stories, and in his honor, with gratitude for his friendship and intellectual mentorship, I will tell a very short story about how the scholarly work of Ron and Suzie Scollon has influenced me in pursuing questions in political science. Ron Scollon was one of the most intellectually gifted people I have ever met, and in coming to know and understand his work, I have been able to overcome research problems that have puzzled, disturbed, and bedeviled me for decades. I will begin by discussing some of the epistemological and theoretical challenges I have struggled with in my political science work in general, and then relate how the Scollons’ work has helped me by providing alternative concepts that have given me awareness of some of the intellectual cul-de-sacs I have, until recently, inhabited. MY CHALLENGES IN POLITICAL SCIENCE RESEARCH I originally chose to pursue graduate study in political science because it seemed the logical discipline to work in if one were interested, as I am, in questions of power and its relation to social injustice. During my years of training in a political science graduate program, specializing in international relations, I spent my time and energy attempting to master the theories and methods of inquiry presented to me as worthy exemplars of political science research in the international relations subfield. As I reached the stage of producing a dissertation proposal, I found that many of the questions I was interested in were not easily addressed using the tools in my international relations toolkit. In political science departments, as is the case with other disciplines in the social sciences, practitioners have an interest in maintaining a unique and positive disciplinary identity based on agreement regarding the proper domain of things to be studied and on laying claim to a distinctive set of epistemological, theoretical and methodological choices as definitive of disciplinary practice. I realize now, at this stage of my journey, that the models, theories and methods employed by any given discipline are inevitably one of many possible combinations of tools one can employ for investigation, and that the usefulness of such tools depends upon the nature of the task at hand. In my case, the pursuit of answers to my questions led me to migrate across disciplinary boundaries, from political science in the areas of comparative politics and international relations, to social and cognitive psychology, and ultimately to the mediated discourse analysis and nexus analysis of Ron and Suzie Scollon. Let me review some of the challenges I faced in pursuing questions within the domain of political science inquiry, as it is generally understood, and how Ron and Suzie Scollon’s work helped me to address them. First, I have been concerned with understanding why people behave as they do in the field of power relations, and in order to explain behavior, my international relations toolkit relied on structuralist premises. Much of the formative political science literature I read as a graduate student explained why things happen by imputing “context,” “constraint,” and “rational choice.” Although I didn’t recognize it as eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Guy Shroyer.

Insights Across Disciplines: The Affordances of the Scollons’ Work for a Political Scientist

such at the time, my scholarly thought was heavily influenced by a model of “economic man” applied to the analysis of human behavior. These qualities of “economic man” include the assumption that behavior can be understood as autonomous individualistic choice based upon the individual’s adequate information about costs and benefits of a range of possible behaviors imposed by features of the “environment” enveloping the individual within a given stretch, or as Ron Scollon has put it, “circumference,” of space-time. This model can hinder recognition, based on close observation, of the social nature of human activity, by assuming that the explanation for human behavior is based upon atomistic individual utilitarian calculation (Morgenthau, 1973; Waltz, 1979, Krasner 1985; Steinbruner, 1974). While most current work in international relations deviates from this rational actor model in some ways (Allison, 1971; Keohane, 1984), the model still serves as a benchmark or ideal type, thus tending to bind alternative models to the individualist frame4. Ron Scollon’s incorporation of Kenneth Burke’s pentad of motives from A Grammar of Motives (1969 [1945]), illustrates, among other things, the great variety of configurations one can impose when interpreting social action. Burke argues that one’s explanation of an action can be variously ascribed to a pentad of motives (scene, agent, agency, act, and purpose). For example, if we were to suggest that action springs from a utilitarian consciousness, that would be an “agent” motive whereas if action was caused by an environmental force or constraint, that would be a “scene” motive, and in the case of much mainstream work in political science, and many other social sciences (Scollon, 2002), we have the co-occurrence of environmental constraint (scene) with utilitarian calculus (agent), that would be labeled by Burke as a scene:agent ratio of motives. What the Scollons’ work enabled me to see was how this ratio of motives underscored the individualist assumption of human action while substituting a one-size-fitsall explanation of individualist choice generally referred to in political science literature as “rationality” (Allison, 1971). A second feature of my original international relations toolkit had to do with the maxim that social science research is a linear process that must begin with the generation of hypotheses based upon a priori models. The Scollons’ nexus analysis (Scollon, 2002; Scollon and Scollon 2004) and the Burkean pentad of motives reveal the difficulty in ascribing a priori definitions of a “situation,” and the consequent opening up of situational definition then reveals the choices of participants and analysts in defining situations in a certain way. Not only does this undermine an objectivist epistemology, but also leads us to the very interesting question of why someone defines a situation as they do. Ascriptive, a priori application of models can obscure our own biases and agendas as well as those of others; moreover, it can lead to a deficit of hard-nosed observational groundwork and an oddly inflexible stance regarding the recursive and iterative nature of investigation. A third feature of my international relations toolkit entailed prioritizing theoretical parsimony, “elegance” of models, and theoretical scope (Waltz, 1979). While it certainly is helpful to be able to focus on what we deem to be the salient features of an object of study, I have come to see the value of observing “details” of what I am interested in studying as a hedge against the perils of reification and unwarranted inference. Thanks to the work of Ron and Suzie Scollon, I have made some progress in investigating my most compelling questions by adding new tools to the toolkit. MEDIATED ACTION AND NEXUS ANALYSIS

4 I am pleased to note that there is a great deal of creative and innovative theoretical work being done recently in international relations that offers alternatives to structuralism, much of it characterized as a “constructivism” (Wendt, 1992; Kubálková et al. 1998).


Insights Across Disciplines: The Affordances of the Scollons’ Work for a Political Scientist

So, how did Ron and Suzie Scollon help me to solve some of these intellectual problems that have been plaguing me for so many years? It all began in the early two thousands when Ron kindly asked me to talk about political psychology and social identity theory to his class of graduate students at Georgetown. While I was presenting material about cognitive identity categories, he asked me if I had ever read anything by Wertsch (Ron helpfully said “it rhymes with birch”) on action theory. I said that I had not, but that I was intrigued. This moment marked the beginning of a long intellectual journey whereby I was able to shift from explaining action as a scene:agent or scene:act ratio, to inferring about peoples’ thoughts (as in psychology, an agent motive), to, finally, actually observing what people do together and what they use to accomplish it (mediated discourse and nexus analysis). In his book Mediated Discourse: The Nexus of Practice (2001) Ron lays out a theory of human ontogenesis which included Bourdieu’s concept of “habitus” and Nashida’s notion of the “historical body.” I was amused and fascinated by Ron Scollon’s choice of an example of this ontogenesis through a detailed account of the practice of “handing.” I would never have thought that close observation of something so seemingly small and mundane could be so revealing, and I could see how the simple practice of handing was illustrative of the literal “incorporation” of practices constituting historical bodies. These new insights encouraged me to begin to focus my research attention on what people actually do and how that results in their becoming who they are. By focusing on action, all of the unsupported categorical baggage can be abandoned. Reified “context” and the attempt through inference to peek into peoples’ minds can be fruitfully disposed of in favor of asking questions like “what’s going on?” What are people appropriating to do what they’re doing? Why do I, as analyst, choose to foreground or background certain elements, or why do I circumscribe time and space to render a certain definition of what’s going on? As mentioned previously, understanding power and injustice motivated me to pursue an academic vocation in political science, and I have suspected for a very long time that an important element of these problems has to do with who people understand themselves to be in relation to others in a given stretch of space time, and who they are ratified to be by others: in other words, social identity. Thanks to the insights I have gained from Ron and Suzie Scollon’s work, I now feel that the questions surrounding social identity are manageable in a theoretical and methodological sense. We come to understand our social identity through doing things with others. This doing is a matter of using the body to take actions which are repeated as practices and ultimately incorporated into habitus. This view of becoming through action has been extremely useful for me in my ongoing research into the development of nationalism and nationalistic historical bodies of young children in the United States. Close attention to detail, in terms of repetitive collective action (practices) and the ongoing appropriation of meditational means with certain semiotic affordances in early childhood education, has allowed me to uncover the special senses of nationalistic space and time that are constructed and incorporated into habitus in public school social studies activity. Because nationalistic dispositions allow states to mobilize their people for the mass violence of warfare, these are processes worth knowing about. I wish to summarize my reflections on the value of Ron and Suzie Scollon’s work for my intellectual journey by remarking on the attitude they have held towards our type of work. I would characterize this as attention to the “so what?” question. The Scollons have seen their activity in life as being morally significant, although I don’t know if they would have put it in those terms. For them, people have a responsibility to avoid doing harm and to act for the good. Our resources of time, health, and intellect are limited, and Ron and Suzie Scollon always felt that we have a responsibility to use our resources in this sense of service to others. That means doing scholarship that really matters. If our work doesn’t measure up


Insights Across Disciplines: The Affordances of the Scollons’ Work for a Political Scientist

to the “so what?” question, then it is really not worth doing. Ron and Suzie Scollon’s contributions have consistently measured up to this standard. References

Allison, Graham T. (1971). Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis, Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company. Burke, Kenneth. (1969 [1945]). A Grammar of Motives, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall. Keohane, Robert O. (1984). After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Krasner, Stephen D. (1985). Structural Conflict: The Third World against Global Liberalism, Berkley: University of California Press. Morgenthau, Hans. (1973). Politics among Nations, New York: Knopf. 5th Edition. Scollon Ron and Suzie Wong Scollon. (2004). Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet, New York: Routledge. Scollon, Ron. (2002). Intercultural Communication as Nexus Analysis. Logos and Language: Journal of General Linguistics and Language Theory, III (2): 1-17. Scollon, Ron. (2001). Mediated Discourse: The Nexus of Practice. New York: Routledge. Steinbruner, John D. (1974). The Cybernetic Theory of Decision: New Dimensions of Political Analysis, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Waltz, Kenneth. (1979). Theory of International Politics, New York: Newbury Award Records, Inc. Wendt, Alexander. (1992). Anarchy is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics. International Organisation, 46: 391-425. Kubálková, Vendulka (Ed.) (1988). International Relations in a Constructed World, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.


Man on a Ledge: My Last Moments with Ron Scollon Rodney Jones City University of Hong Kong

The tributes collected here make up a fairly comprehensive review of Ron’s ideas, his intellectual development and the professional and personal influence he had on his many devoted students to which there is really little more I could add. So instead I’d like to use my few pages to reflect upon Ron’s death. Not his life. His death, that part of life that too often goes uncommented on. I don’t mean to be morbid, but our society is not particularly good at talking about death in any kind of direct way. We dress it up with all kinds of rites and ceremonies until it looks like something quite different from what it is. As I write this I’m sitting in the apartment in Seattle where exactly a year ago I watched Ron die, and very little seems to have changed. Books and papers and Ron and Suzie’s laptops still crowd the kitchen table. Brahms still plays from the tinny speakers of the CD player. It’s raining. I can’t help but think that watching somebody die is a kind of privilege. I don’t mean knowing somebody who’s died, or hearing of someone’s death or attending somebody’s funeral, but actually witnessing somebody die. It touches you in a fundamental way, particularly when it’s someone who’s touched you in so many other fundamental ways while they were alive. But don’t get your hopes up. There were no famous last words. No final pearls of wisdom he imparted on me. In fact, he was unconscious most of the time, and when he wasn’t he could hardly talk. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t communication going on. Like all social actions, Ron’s death was mediated through a host of cultural tools—an adjustable hospital bed which looked out of place in Ron and Suzie’s small bedroom, an IV with a button Ron or one of those caring for him could push when he needed another dose of morphine, cups with straws, disposable diapers, and a book of poetry that Suzie handed to me on New Year’s Eve, the night before he died: The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke. It was Ron’s favorite, and happened to be mine as well. And so to take Ron’s mind off his pain or to take our minds off of ours, I opened the book and began reading. I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I feel my fate in what I cannot fear. I learn by going where I have to go. Ron was perhaps rare among academics in his ability to maintain his love of reading. He read for pleasure, and whether he was talking about poetry or a detective novel he was reading or a journal article he had come across, what came across in his voice was the pleasure that the act of reading afforded him. He once bemoaned the fact that people who work in linguistics or anthropology hardly ever find the time to read anything worth reading. It’s all just ‘keeping up’ with the field. What he left out of that comment but communicated so strongly in his own approach to books was that what made something ‘worth reading’ had just as much to do with the reader as it did with the words on the page, had everything to do with one’s capacity for pleasure, with one’s capacity to learn how to read anew whenever one opened a book. eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Rodney Jones.

Man on a Ledge: My Last Moments with Ron Scollon

We think by feeling. What is there to know? I hear my being dance from ear to ear I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. There’s a story about Theodore Roethke that another teacher of mine, the late Jim Whitehead, told me when I was studying in Arkansas. Roethke, it seems, had unusual ways of challenging his students, which one day involved climbing out of the window of his eighth storey classroom at Michigan State University and walking on the ledge along the perimeter of the building, pausing at each window to make funny faces at his confused students. It was no doubt this incident, along with a number of others, that resulted in Roethke not being offered tenure. I have no idea whether this story is true or just an urban legend passed on by poetry teachers to their students. And I have no idea why this should have been the image that entered my head as I read poetry to my dying teacher. In what should have been a solemn moment, there I was, thinking about a fat man standing on a ledge. Of those so close beside me, which are you? God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there, And learn by going where I have to go. Of course, the difference between Ron and Roethke was that Ron had a habit of taking you out on the ledge with him. Coaxing you to go dangerously out on a limb with your ideas and inviting you to marvel at the view. And then – and here’s the scary part – reminding you that these ideas, these words, these theories we cook up are completely contingent, nothing but the narrowest of ledges. Not truth. Just vantage points from which, if we’re lucky, something of the truth might be glimpsed. Where we get into trouble is when we mistake these ledges for solid ground. That’s when we’re apt to slip and fall. Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how? The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair; I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. Tibetan Buddhists have a word for these vantage points, these moments when we’re neither here nor there, when we have the chance to comprehend in this ‘in betweenness’ something about our place in the whole scheme of things. They call them bardos. The most popular use of the term, of course, is to refer to the time we’re caught between one life and the next, which, if we are to believe the Tibetan Book of the Dead, is full of the most awful visions imaginable as well as with the greatest potential for enlightenment, for freedom. But this isn’t the only bardo. Anything that’s somehow in between is bardo, including this life itself, in between our birth and our death. And so, as much as Ron was at that moment standing on a ledge, so was I. Great Nature has another thing to do To you and me, so take the lively air, And, lovely, learn by going where to go. What happened next is the subject of some dispute. As I neared the end of the poem, Ron’s eyes seemed to widen, his head nodded slightly and his face twisted ever so faintly into what might have been a smile or what might have been a grimace. Suzie reckoned he appreciated my reading. His daughter Rachel, on the other hand, put it down to the fact that


Man on a Ledge: My Last Moments with Ron Scollon

he had just wet his diaper. It didn’t matter so much. Because by that time, I was reading to myself. Deep inside the process of learning how to read, a process with no end to it. This shaking keeps me steady. I should know. What falls away is always. And is near. I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I learn by going where I have to go. Ron died the next morning holding Suzie’s hand, and almost immediately a hunger filled the apartment. Because the smell of cooking food made Ron nauseous, his family hadn’t been able to cook a meal for weeks. And so we set about silently doing just that. I fear I’ve done nothing more here than ramble, that I haven’t even begun to approach my subject in anything remotely resembling the direct way I had promised. I’m not even sure myself of the point I want to make. But I know it has something to do with that meal. With the smell of food in those rooms that had so long been deprived of the aroma of cooking. With the tiny actions that went into making it. The chopping of vegetables. The heating of oil. With the presence of that dead body in the bedroom. How it seemed at once so important and so irrelevant. And so we cook. We eat. Perched precipitously on our little ledges we perform those tiny actions that lead us through our lives, some of us with our faces pointing to the ground, others with heads raised towards the sky.



BOOKS AND MONOGRAPHS 1976. Conversations with a one year old: a case study of the developmental foundation of syntax. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii. 1976. (with Fang-Kuei Li) Chipewyan Texts. Institute of History and Philology Special Publications No. 71. Academia Sinica. Nankang, Taipei, Taiwan. 1979. (with Suzanne B. K. Scollon) Linguistic convergence: an ethnography of speaking at Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. New York: Academic Press. 1979. The context of the informant narrative performance. Canadian Ethnology Service, National Museum of Man Mercury Series 52. Ottawa, Canada. 1980. (Translator and editor) Gaither Paul. Stories for my grandchildren. Fairbanks: Alaska Native Language Center. 1981. (with Suzanne B. K. Scollon) Narrative, literacy, and face in interethnic communication. Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Corporation. 1995. (with Suzanne Wong Scollon). Intercultural Communication: A Discourse Approach. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. 1998. Mediated Discourse as Social Interaction: The Study of News Discourse. London: Longman. 2000. (with Suzanne Wong Scollon and Andy Kirkpatrick). Contrastive Discourse in Chinese and English: A Critical Appraisal. Beijing: Foreign Languages Teaching and Research Press. 2001. Mediated Discourse: The Nexus of Practice. London: Routledge. 2001. (with Suzanne Wong Scollon). Second edition Intercultural Communication: A Discourse Approach. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. 2002. (Yuling Pan, first author, and Suzanne Wong Scollon). Professional Communication in International Settings. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. 2003. (with Suzie Wong Scollon). Discourses in Place: Language in the Material World. London: Routledge. 2004. (with Philip LeVine, first editor) Discourse and technology: Multimodal discourse analysis. Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics: . Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

eVox. December 2009. Vol. 3. Washington, DC: Georgetown University. © 2009 By Suzie Wong Scollon.

Complete Bibliography of Ron Scollon (1939-2009)

2004. (with Suzie Wong Scollon). Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet. London: Routledge. 2008. Analyzing Public Discourse: Discourse Analysis in the Making of Public Policy. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 2009. (translator and editor). This Is What They Say: Stories by François Mandeville. Seattle: University of Washington Press. ESSAYS, ARTICLES, AND REVIEWS 1976. Athapaskan kinship: still an open question. Review of Isadore Dyen and David Aberle, Lexical reconstruction. Reviews in Anthropology. Vol. 3, No. 1:93-102. 1977. Two discourse markers in Chipewyan narratives. International Journal of American Linguistics, Vol. 43.1:60-64. 1979. Variable data and linguistic convergence: texts and contexts in Chipewyan. Language in Society, Vol. 8, No. 2:223-242. 1979. A real early stage: an unzippered condensation of a dissertation on child language. In: Elinor Ochs and Bambi B. Schieffelin (Eds.) Developmental pragmatics. New York: Academic Press. 1979. 236 years of variability in Chipewyan consonants. International Journal of American Linguistics, Vol. 45.4:332-342. 1980. (with Suzanne B. K. Scollon) Literacy as focused interaction. Quarterly Newsletter of the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition, Vol. 2, No. 2:26-29. 1980. (with Suzanne B. K. Scollon) Ethnic stereotyping: some problems in Athabaskan-English interethnic communication. Method: Alaska perspectives, Vol. 2, No. 2:15-17. 1981. The rhythmic integration of ordinary talk. In: Deborah Tannen (Ed.) Georgetown University Roundtable of Languages and Linguistics 1981. Washington, D. C.: Georgetown University Press. 1981. Computers and linear thinking. The Computing Teacher, Vol. 9, No. 4:59-60. 1983. (with Suzanne B. K. Scollon) Face in interethnic communication. In: Jack Richards and Richard Schmidt (Eds.) Language and communication. London: Longman. 1983. Computer conferencing: a medium for appropriate time. Quarterly Newsletter of the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition, Vol. 5, No. 3:67-68.


Complete Bibliography of Ron Scollon (1939-2009)

1984. (with Suzanne B. K. Scollon) Cooking it up and boiling it down: abstracts in Athabaskan children's story retellings. In: Deborah Tannen (Ed.) Coherence in spoken and written discourse. Norwood, N. J.:Ablex Publishing Corporation. 1984. (with Suzanne B. K. Scollon) Language dilemmas in Alaska. Society, Vol. 24, No. 4:77-81. 1984. (with Suzanne B. K. Scollon) ]Run trilogy: Can Tommy read? In: Hillel Goelmen, Antoinette Oberg, and Frank Smith (Eds.) Awakening to literacy. Exeter, N. H.:Heinemann Educational Books. 1985. The machine stops: silence in the metaphor of malfunction. In: Deborah Tannen and Muriel Saville-Troike (Eds.) Perspectives on silence. Norwood, N. J.:Ablex Publishing Corporation. 1985. Language, literacy, and learning: an annotated bibliography. In: David R. Olson, Nancy Torrance, and Angela Hildyard (Eds.) Literacy, language, and learning. New York:Cambridge University Press. 1985. The land, always our motive: a report on the Alaska Humanities Forum computer network. Federation Reports, Vol. 8, No. 1:17-22. 1985. The sequencing of clauses in Chipewyan narratives. In: Johanna Nichols and Anthony C. Woodbury (Eds.) Grammar inside and outside the clause. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1986. The social construction of literacy. A review of The Social Construction of Literacy, Jenny Cook-Gumperz (Ed.) Man, Vol. 21, No. 4:781. 1988. (with Suzanne B. K. Scollon) Face in interethnic telecommunications at the University of Alaska: computer conferencing as non-focused interaction. In: Regna Darnell and Michael K. Foster (Eds.) Native North American Interaction Patterns. Hull, Quebec: Canadian Museum of Civilization, National Museums Canada. 1988. Storytelling, reading, and the micropolitics of literacy. In: John E. Readance and R. Scott Baldwin (Eds.) Dialogues in Literacy Research. Chicago:National Reading Conference. 1989. (with Suzanne B. K. Scollon) Fang Kuei Li (1902-1987), an obituary. American Anthropologist, Vol. 91, No. 4:1008-1009. 1990. (with Suzanne Wong Scollon) Epilogue to "Athabaskan-English interethnic communication." In: Donal Carbaugh (Ed.) Cultural communication and intercultural contact. Hillsdale, N.J.:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 1991. (with Suzanne Wong Scollon) Topic confusion in English-Asian discourse. World Englishes, Vol. 10(2):113-125.


Complete Bibliography of Ron Scollon (1939-2009)

1991. (with Suzanne Wong Scollon) Mass and count nouns in Chinese and English: a few further Whorfian considerations. In: Robert Blust (Ed.) Currents in Pacific linguistics. Canberra, Australia: Pacific Linguistics. 1991. Writing systems and literacy. In: William Bright (Ed.) Oxford International Encyclopedia of Linguistics. New York:Oxford University Press. 1991. In defense of writing: the contemporary merger of ethnography and fiction. Redneck Review of Literature, 20(Spring 1991):35-37. 1991. Snyder's culture. In: Jon Halper (Ed.) Gary Snyder: Dimensions of a life. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books. 1991. Metaphors of conflict: A linguist looks at Alaskan Community Conflict. Frame of Reference, 3(1):3-10. Anchorage: Alaska Humanities Forum. 1991. Review of Nora Marks Dauenhauer and Richard Dauenhauer (Eds.) Haa Tuwunaagu Yis, for healing our spirit: Tlingit oratory. Rolling Stock, 19/20:15. 1991. Going West to find yourself: Han Shan returns to China. Redneck Review of Literature, 21 (Fall 1991):6-8. 1991. Ezra Pound's Organic Categories: a case of West-East influence on the interpretation of Confucius. Redneck Review of Literature, 21 (Fall 1991):7479. 1991. Eight legs and one Elbow: stance and structure in Chinese English Compositions. In: Launching the literacy decade. Conference Report of the Second North American Conference on Adult and Adolescent Literacy: Multiculturalism and Citizenship Canada. 1993. Cultural aspects in constructing the author. In: Deborah Keller-Cohen (Ed.) Literacy: Interdisciplinary Conversations. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press Inc. 1994. As a matter of fact: The changing ideology of authorship and responsibility in discourse. World Englishes 13(1):33-46. 1994. (with Suzanne Wong Scollon) Face parameters in East-West discourse. In: Stella Ting-Toomey (Ed.) The Challenge of Facework: Cross-cultural and interpersonal issues. SUNY Press. 133-157 1995. Plagiarism and ideology: Identity in intercultural discourse. Language in Society, 24(1):1-28. 1995. (with Suzanne Wong Scollon) Somatic communication: How useful is 'orality' for the characterization of speech events and cultures? In: Uta M. Quasthoff (Ed.) Aspects of Oral Communication. Berlin: DeGruyter, 19 - 29.


Complete Bibliography of Ron Scollon (1939-2009)

1995. From Pidgin English to Professional Communication: English Teaching and the Utilitarian Discourse System. In Paul Bruthiaux, Tim Boswood and Bertha Du-Babcock (eds.) Explorations in English for Professional Communication. Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong. 21-39. 1995. Review of: ALLEN D. GRIMSHAW, Collegial discourse: Professional conversation among peers. Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Corporation, 1989, and ALLEN D. GRIMSHAW & PETER J. BURKE, AARON V. CICOUREL, JENNY COOK-GUMPERZ, STEVEN FELD, CHARLES J. FILLMORE, LILY WONG FILLMORE, JOHN J. GUMPERZ, MICHAEL A.K. HALLIDAY, RUQAIYA HASAN, & DAVID JENNESS with commentaries by WILLIAM A. CORSARO, DELL HYMES, & TERESA LABOV, What's going on here? Complementary studies of professional talk (Volume Two of the Multiple Analysis Project). Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Corporation, 1994. Language in Society, 24(3):428-432. 1995. From 'Sentences' to 'Discourses', 'Ethnography' to 'Ethnographic': Conflicting Trends in TESOL Research. TESOL Quarterly 29(2):381-384. 1995. International English and Chinese women: Clients or colleagues in the international utilitarian discourse system? Asian Journal of Women's Studies, 1(1):87-99. 1996. Discourse identity, social identity, and confusion in intercultural communication. Intercultural Communication Studies, VI(1):1-18. 1997. Handbills, tissues, and condoms: A Site of Engagement for the Construction of Identity in Public Discourse. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 1(1):39-61. 1997. (with Suzanne Scollon). Point of view and citation: Fourteen Chinese and English Versions of the ‘same' news story. Text 17(1):83-125.. 1977. Hong Kong language in context: The discourse of Ch’u. In M. C. Pennington (ed.) Language in Hong Kong at century’s end. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. 1997. Is intercultural communication a problem? Outreach 6(2):1-2. 1997. Hong Kong newspapers on the pre-transitional stage. AsiaPacific MediaEducator(2):48-59. 1997. Contrastive rhetoric, contrastive poetics, or perhaps something else? TESOL Quarterly 31(2):352-358. 1997. (with John Flowerdew). Public Discourse in Hong Kong and the Change of Sovereignty. Journal of Pragmatics 28:1-10. 1997. Attribution and power in Hong Kong news discourse: Framers, players, and observers. World Englishes 16(3):383-393. 71

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1998. (with Suzanne Wong Scollon). Literate design in the discourses of revolution, reform, and transition: Hong Kong and China. Written language and literacy, 1(1)1-39. 1998. Review of: CHASE HENSEL, Telling our selves: Ethnicity and discourse in southwestern Alaska. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Language in Society 27(1):141-143. 1998. Reading as social interaction: The empirical grounding of reading. Semiotica 118(3/4):281-294. Also published in 1998. Mediated Discourse as Social Interaction: The Study of News Discourse. London: Longman. 1998. (with Wai King Tsang, David Li, Vicki Yung, and Rodney Jones). Voice, appropriation, and discourse representation in a student writing task. Linguistics and Education 9(3):227-250. 1998. The Depicted Watch: Cross-cultural Variation in Media Pictures of People Watching Others in Hong Kong and China. In D Ray Heisey and Wenxiang Gong (eds.) Communication and culture: China and the world entering the 21st century. Amsterdam: Rodopi Editions. 205-224. 1999. Mediated discourse and social interaction. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 32(1&2):149-154. 1999. (with Vijay Bhatia, David Li, Vicki Yung). Blurred genres and fuzzy identities in Hong Kong public discourse: Foundational ethnographic issues. Applied Linguistics 20(1):22-43. 1999. Cultural codes for calls: Knocks, coughs, shuffles, and other ways of opening up social interaction on Asian and American Television. In Eli Hinkel (ed.) Culture in second language teaching and learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 181-195 1999. (with Suzanne Wong Scollon, Wenzhong Hu, Liisa Salo-Lee, Yuling Pan, Li Ming, Cecilia Leung and Zhenyi Li). Professional communication across cultures: A focus group based, three-way cross-cultural comparison. SIETAR International Journal 1(1). 1999. (with Suzanne Wong Scollon) Political, personal and commercial discourses of national sovereignty: Hong Kong becomes China. In Marju Lauristin (ed.) Intercultural communication and changing national identities. Tartu: Tartu University Press. 49 - 71. 1999. Official and unofficial discourses of national identity: Questions raised by the case of contemporary Hong Kong. In Challenges in a changing world: Issues in critical discourse analysis. Ruth Wodak and Christoph Ludwig (eds.). Vienna: Passegen Verlag. 21 - 35.


Complete Bibliography of Ron Scollon (1939-2009)

1999. Reality set, discourse analysis, and Discourse with a capital ‘D’: The rectification of names in discourse and critical discourse analysis. In Hu Wenzhong (ed.) Aspects of intercultural communication--Proceedings of China's 2nd conference on intercultural communication. Beijing: Foreign Languages Teaching and Research Press. 39 - 52. 2000. Review of: ALASTAIR PENNYCOOK, English and the discourses of colonialism. New York: Routledge, 1998. Language in Society, 29(1):138141. 2000. Plagiarism. Special issue 'Lexicon for the New Millennium.' Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 9(1):184-186. 2000. Methodological interdiscursivity: An ethnographic understanding of unfinalizability. In Srikant Sarangi and Malcolm Coulthard (eds.) Discourse and Social Life. London: Longman. 138 – 154. 2000. Generic variability in news stories in Chinese and English: A contrastive discourse study of five days’ newspapers. Journal of Pragmatics 32:761-791. 2000. Hidden dialogicality: When infelicity becomes fear of infringement. In Malcolm Coulthard, Janet Cotterill, and Frances Rock (eds.) Working with Dialogue. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. 425 - 439. 2001. Multilingualism and intellectual property: Visual holophrastic discourse and the commodity/sign. Georgetown University Roundtable, 1999. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. 2001. (with Suzanne Wong Scollon). Discourse and intercultural communication. In Handbook of Discourse Analysis. Deborah Schiffrin, Deborah Tannen, and Heidi Hamilton (eds.) Oxford: Basil Blackwell. 2001. Action and text: Toward an integrated understanding of the place of text in social (inter)action. In Ruth Wodak and Michael Meyer (eds.), Methods in Critical Discourse Analysis. London: Sage. 2001. Review of: MARNIE HOLBOROW, The politics of English. London: Sage, 1999. Language in Society. 2002. Intercultural communication and ethnography: Why? and Why not? In Colin Barron, Nigel Bruce, and David Nunan (eds.) Knowledge and discourse: Language ecology in theory and practice. London: AddisonWesley/Longman. 2002. Cross-cultural learning and other catastrophes. In Edward Bodine and Claire Kramsch (eds.) Language acquisition and language socialization. London: Continuum. 121 – 139. 2002. Intercultural Communication as Nexus Analysis. Logos and Language: Journal of General Linguistics and Language Theory. III(2):1-17. 73

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2003. The dialogist in a positivist world: Theory in the social sciences and the humanities at the end of the 20th century. Social Semiotics 13(1):71-88. 2004. Intertextuality across communities of practice: Academics, journalism, and advertising. In Carol Lynn Moder and Aida Martinovic-Zic (eds.) Discourse across Languages and Cultures. Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 149 – 176. 2004. (with Philip LeVine). Multimodal discourse analysis as the confluence of discourse and technology. In Philip LeVine and Ron Scollon (eds.) Discourse and technology: Multimodal discourse analysis. Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics: Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. 2005. The Rhythmic Integration of Action and Discourse: Work, the Body, and the Earth. In Sigrid Norris and Rodney Jones (eds.) Discourse and Action. London: Routledge. 2005. The discourses of food in the world system: Toward a nexus analysis of a world problem. Journal of Language and Politics 4(3):467 – 490. 2005. (with Suzie Wong Scollon) Fast English, slow food, and intercultural exchanges: Social problems and problems for discourse analysis. In Giuseppina Cortese and Anna Duszak (eds.) Identity, Community, Discourse: English in Intercultural Settings. London: Peter Lang. 1 – 16. 2005. (With Suzie Wong Scollon) Lighting the Stove: Why Habitus Isn’t Enough for Critical Discourse Analysis. In: Ruth Wodak and Paul Chilton (eds), A New Agenda in (Critical) Discourse Analysis. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 101117 2006. Food and Behavior: A Burkean motive analysis of a quasi-medical text. Test and Talk 26(1):105-124. 2007. The discourses of food in the world system: Toward a nexus analysis of a world problem. In Teun A. van Dijk (ed.) Discourse Studies,Vol. 5. London: Sage. 1 – 20. 2007. (With Suzie Wong Scollon) Nexus Analysis: Refocusing ethnography on action. Ben Rampton (ed.) Special Issue of Journal of Sociolinguistics 11(5): 608-625. 2008. Discourse Itineraries: Nine processes of resemiotization. In Vijay Bhatia, John Flowerdew, and Rodney Jones (eds.), Advances in discourse studies. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge 2008. (With Suzie Wong Scollon) CDA in Action: Colliding Discourses in Public Policy for Offshore Oil Exploration. In Anna Duszak and Norman Fairclough (eds.) Cracow: Universitas.


Complete Bibliography of Ron Scollon (1939-2009)

2009. (With Suzie Wong Scollon) Breakthrough into Action. Jan Blommaert (ed.) On Hymes. Special Issue of Text and Talk 29 (3): 277-294. 2009. (With Suzie Wong Scollon) Multimodality and language: A retrospective and prospective view. In Carey Jewitt (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Multimodal Analysis. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

INVITED LECTURES AND CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS 1981. Recording, translating, and publishing Native literature. Seeing with the Native Eye, a conference on Native arts and cultural heritage programs in Alaska, February. 1982. Conference on research on literacy. San Diego State University, Center for Ethnographic Research, February. 1982. Telecommunications as discourse media: implications for cultural difference. Lecture to the Department of Linguistics, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, February. 1982. Athabaskan narrative discourse: the problem of ecological units of analysis. Lecture to the Department of Linguistics, University of California, San Diego, March. 1982. Channel constraints on interethnic communication through telecommunications. Lecture to the Cognitive Sciences group, University of California, Berkeley, March. 1982. Gutenberg, Babbage, and Woz: Will Pac-Man gobble up the humanities? Lecture to the Washington Linguistics Club, December. Washington, D. C. 1984. Information and knowledge. Discussant with J. David Bolter. National meeting of the Division of State Programs, Atlanta, National Endowment for the Humanities. 1986. Language, power, and the liberal arts. Presentation with C. A. Bowers. Western Regional Meeting, Division of State Programs, National Endowment for the Humanities. 1986. Literacy and the problem of empowerment. Lecture, School of Education, University of Oregon, Eugene. 1986. Living and working in a cross-cultural environment. Seminar, Yukon College, Whitehorse. 1987. What is functional literacy? Lecture, Yukon Literacy Council, Whitehorse. 1987. Storytelling, reading, and the micropolitics of literacy. Keynote address to the National Reading Conference, St. Petersburg Beach, Florida. 75

Complete Bibliography of Ron Scollon (1939-2009)

1988. In honor of Edward Sapir. Lecture, Department of Linguistics, University of Oregon, Eugene. 1988. Responsive communication in the classroom. Lecture, School of Education, University of Oregon, Eugene. 1988. Responsive communication for educators. Lecture, School of Education, Idaho State University, Pocatello. 1988. Transforming oral literature into written literature: from Homer to Nora Marks Dauenhauer. Lecture, Tunghai University, Taichung, Taiwan. 1989. Literacy in the West and in China: some problems and questions. Lecture, Department of Western Languages, Providence University, Shalu, Taiwan. 1989. Some cultural aspects of teaching English to Asian adults. Lecture given to the Association of English Teachers in Korea, Seoul, Korea. 1990. Understanding the American mind: four generations in American business, government, and politics. Training seminar given to Kolon International Corporation, Seoul, Korea. 1990. China and literacy. Lecture to the Department of Education, University of Alaska, Fairbanks. 1990. Stance, structure, and style in Chinese English composition. Lecture to the Writers' Roundtable, University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Lecture also given at Hong Kong Baptist College. 1991. Teaching as conversation: Some cultural consequences of differences between teacher and student. Lecture to the Department of English as a Second Language, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Honolulu. 1991. Cultural aspects in constructing the author. Paper given at the Conference on Literacy, Identity and Mind, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. 1993. (with Suzanne Scollon) The Lan Kwai Fong Project: A cross-linguistic, crossmedia study of discourse. Lecture to the Hong Kong Association for Applied Linguistics, 1 November 1993. 1993. International English and Chinese women: Clients or colleagues in the international utilitarian discourse system? Paper presented in the session: Gender Ideology in Discourse, 92nd Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Washington, DC, November 1993. 1993. Both Frame and Focus: A Comparative Discourse Analysis of Chinese and English Versions of a News Story. Lecture to Anthropology, Center for Chinese Studies, English and Education, English Language Institute, and Linguistics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 22 November. 76

Complete Bibliography of Ron Scollon (1939-2009)

1994 Cultural Diversity. National School Board Association Regional Meeting, Sitka, Alaska, July 8, 1994. 1994. The construction of identity in newspaper discourse: A Hong Kong example. Joint Research Seminar, Department of English and Department of Chinese, Linguistics, and Translation, City University of Hong Kong, 14 November 1994. 1994. Theatre of discourse: A more useful metaphor for the analysis of mediated discourse. 1994-1995 English Department Lecture Series, City University of Hong Kong, 24 November 1994. 1995. Implied readers and real readers of the Hong Kong Newspaper: At home overseas. Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Department of English Research Seminar Series, 12 April 1995. 1995. The discourse approach to intercultural communication. Department of English, Sugiyama Jogakuen University, Nagoya, Japan, 24 May 1995. 1995. Attribution and power in Hong Kong news discourse: Framers, players, and observers. Second International Conference on World Englishes, Nagoya International Center, 25 - 28 May 1995. 1995. Three lectures, 16th Finnish Summer School of Linguistics, University of Jyväskylä, June 5-9, 1995 1995. Matching discourse identity to social identity: One source of confusion in intercultural communication. The Fifth International Conference on CrossCultural Communication: East and West, Harbin, China, 15-19 August, 1995. 1996. Indexing the implied reader of the Hong Kong newspaper. Paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the AAAL, Chicago, March 25, 1996. 1996. The depicted watch: Cross-cultural variation in media pictures of people watching others in Hong Kong and China. Paper presented at the Conference on Communication and Culture: China and the World entering the 21st Century, Beijing, August 13 - 16, 1996. 1966. Handbills, tissues, and condoms: A Site of engagement for the construction of identity in public discourse. Paper presented at Sociolinguistics 11 Conference, Cardiff, 5 - 7 September, 1996. 1996. Public Discourse as Micro-sociolinguistics: Ethnography in the Age of the Pager. Plenary address to the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia, Sydney, October 3 - 6, 1996. 1996. A mediational view of intercultural communication. Lecture at the Guangdong Foreign Studies University, Guangzhou, 18 October 1996.


Complete Bibliography of Ron Scollon (1939-2009)

1997. Current trends in intercultural communication studies. Lecture presented to the School of English Language Communication, Beijing Foreign Studies University, April 1997. 1997. (with Suzanne Wong Scollon) Political, personal, and commercial discourses of national sovereignty: Hong Kong becomes China. Plenary address at the Nordic Network for Intercultural Communication 4th Annual Symposium, ‘Intercultural Communication and Changing National Identities’, University of Tartu, Estonia, 8 November, 1997. 1997. Reality set, Discourse Analysis, and Discourse with a capital ‘D’: The rectification of names in discourse and critical discourse analysis. Paper presented at the Second Symposium on Intercultural Communication, Beijing Foreign Studies University, October 10-15 1997. 1998. A second sphere: Media, English and the modernizing consciousness in contemporary Chinese secondary school children. Paper to be presented at the conference ‘Images and issues: New communication research in Asia’, City University of Hong Kong, April 2-3, 1998. 1998. An internet-based ethnographic field methods course in intercultural communication: A midway reflection. Talk presented at the Quality Enhancement Project Conference ‘Quality Enhancement—Adding Value to Student Experience’. City University of Hong Kong, 21 February 1998. 1998. ‘Official and unofficial discourses of national identity: The case of contemporary Hong Kong’. Lecture presented at the workshop ‘Western Europe between Nationalism and Globalization: The Discursive Construction of European National Identities’, Institut für Sprachwissenschaft, University of Vienna, 16 - 19 April, 1998. 1998. Intercultural aspects of communication in business and professional settings. Talk to the Beijing International Society, 14 May 1998, Finnish Embassy, Beijing. 1998. Intellectual Property, Culture, and Technological Diffusion. Short presentation to the 3rd Annual Jacques Ellul Society Conference, Washington, DC. October 17, 1998. 1998. Intertextuality across Communities of Practice: Academics, Journalism, and Advertising. Plenary address at the 24th University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Linguistics Symposium: Discourse Across Languages and Cultures. September 1998. 1998. (with Suzanne Wong Scollon, Yuling Pan, and Ming Li) Intercultural differences in professional communication: Professional communication between Hong Kong and Beijing Paper presented at SIETAR Congress 98: Asia/Pacific Basin, Tokyo, November 19-24, 1998.


Complete Bibliography of Ron Scollon (1939-2009)

1998. (with Suzanne Wong Scollon, Wenzhong Hu, Liisa Salo-Lee, Yuling Pan, Li Ming, Cecilia Leung and Zhenyi Li). Professional communication acrosss culturews: A focus group based, three-way cross-cultural comparison. Paper presented at SIETAR Congress 98: Asia/Pacific Basin, Tokyo, November 1924, 1998. 1998. (Second author with Yuling Pan, first author, and Suzanne Scollon) The corporate construction of the global person. Paper presented in the session ‘Globalism in Hong Kong Public Discourse: Post-modern ideology and local resistance’ at the Annual Meetings of the American Anthropology Association, Philadelphia Dec 2 - 6, 1998. 1998. Plagiarism and discourse representation as hegemonic social practice: Ownership and positioning. Paper presented in the session ‘Globalism in Hong Kong Public Discourse: Post-modern ideology and local resistance’ at the Annual Meetings of the American Anthropology Association, Philadelphia Dec 2 - 6, 1998. 1998. Globalism and the New World Dynasty: Person, property and power in intertextuality. Chairman’s comments for the session ‘Globalism in Hong Kong Public Discourse: Post-modern ideology and local resistance’ at the Annual Meetings of the American Anthropology Association, Philadelphia Dec 2 - 6, 1998. 1999. Hidden dialogicality: When infelicity becomes infringement. Plenary Talk given at the Conference on Dialogue, Birmingham, April 9, 1999. 1999. The dialogist in a positivist world. Talk given at the Critical Discourse Analysis seminar, Birmingham, April 6-7, 1999. 1999. Intercultural communication: Problem, solution, new problem. Talk given at the University of Califronia, Berkeley Language Center, March 12, 1999. 1999. Multilingualism and intellectual property. Paper presented at the Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics 1999, May 6 - 8, 1999. 1999. Intellectual property and the new literacy studies. Preliminary statement for the worshop 'The New Literacy Studies and the Global World', University of Wisconsin, Madison, June 2 - 6, 1999. 1999. Current problems in mediated discourse theory. Lecture, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, City University of Hong Kong, July 27, 1999. 1999. Theory in the Social Sciences and the Humanities at the end of the 20th Century: The Dialogist in a Positivist World. Lecture, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, City University of Hong Kong, August 3, 1999.


Complete Bibliography of Ron Scollon (1939-2009)

2000. Cross-cultural learning and other catastrophes. Paper given at the conference on 'Language socialization and acquisition: Ecological perspectives', March 17 - 19, Berkeley Language Center, UC Berkeley, California. 2000. Mediated discourse: An integrated theory of sociolinguistic action. Paper given at the Sociolinguistics Symposium 2000, 'The interface between linguistics and social theory', University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol, 27 - 29 2000. 2000. (with Pan Xiaping as first author) Reading multimodal, multicoded texts: The problem of meaning in a contemporary hybrid system--Shop and other signs in Hong Kong. Paper to be presented in the panel 'Changing Modes of Discourse in a Changing World' at the 7th International Pragmatics Association Conference, Budapest, July 2000. 2000. Intellectual property as corporate cognition: The discursive production of the corporation as person. Paper to be presented in the panel 'Critical Discourse Analysis and Cognition' at the 7th International Pragmatics Association Conference, Budapest, July 2000. 2000. (with Suzanne Scollon) Inscription and the politics of literate design. Paper presented at the Georgetown Roundtable, May 4 – 6, 2000. 2000. (with Suzanne Scollon, second author). Physical emplacement of texts in shop signs: When ‘NAN XING WELCOME YOU’ becomes ‘UOY EMOCLEW GNIX NAN’. Paper presented in the session ‘Problems in Visual Semiotics’, III Sociocultural Research Conference, Campinas, Brazil, July 16 – 20. 2000. (with Suzanne Scollon, first author). The recursive discursive construction of agency and action: Positioning ourselves against Neo-liberalism. Paper presented in the session ‘Discursive construction of agency in multimodal texts and human action,’ III Sociocultural Research Conference, Campinas, Brazil, July 16 – 20. 2002. Nexus Analysis: Toward an ethnography of motives. Martin Spector Lecture in Applied Linguistics, Center for Language Acquisition, Pennsylvania State University, October 10, 2002. 2002. Mediated Discourse Analysis: Engagement, navigation, and change through nexus analysis. Public lecture, University of Aalborg, Denmark. 2002. (with Suzie Wong Scollon). Nexus analysis: Expanding the circumference of discourse analysis. PARC Forum, Dec 12, 2002. Palo Alto Research Center. 2004. AAAL: Action, activity, activism, and linguistics. Plenary lecture, American Association for Applied Linguistics, Portland, May 1 – 4, 2004. 2004. Discourse analysis: Is it useful; is it enough? Six areas of development in contemporary discourse analysis. Lecture at the University of Aalborg,


Complete Bibliography of Ron Scollon (1939-2009)

Denmark, August 16, 2004 and at the University of Oslo, Norway, August 23, 2004. 2004. (with Suzie Wong Scollon). Fast English, slow food, and intercultural exchanges: Social problems and problems for discourse analysis. Inaugural talk, The University of Turin, Conference on Identity, Community, Discourse: English in Intercultural Settings, 30 September – 2 October 2004. 2004. Alien corn: Agriculture and intercultural communication. Quentin Johnson Linguistic Lecture, University, Iowa State University, December 3, 2004. 2004. (with Suzie Wong Scollon). Multimodality, virtual networks and social change: Problems in multimodal discourse analysis. Lecture at the Center for Multiple Languages and Literacies, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, November 13, 2004. 2006. Social interaction as bodies and objects in spaces: A geosemiotic perspective on Language, Mind, and Society. Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University, March 3, 2006. 2006. Representation, semiosis, and action: A geosemiotic perspective. Department of Architecture and Design and the Department of Language, Culture, and Aesthetics, Aalborg University, April 4, 2006. 2007. Contexts of learning and action: Geographies of discourse, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Geneva, February 7, 2007. 2007. Geographies of discourse: Making the idea of context concrete in discourse analysis. Cross London Seminar, King’s College London and the Institute of Education, London College, February 8, 2007. 2007. Consultative Discourse Analysis, Language, Ideology and Power Research Group, Lancaster University, February 12, 2007. 2007. Literacy: Connectors and appliances, routes and itineraries, Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, Institute for Advanced Studies, Lancaster University, February 13, 2007. 2007. Geographies of discourse: Geographies, discourse, and textual culture. Symposium on New Developments in Textual Culture, Stirling University Textual Culture Group, February 17, 2007. 2007. Geographies of discourse. Department of English Education, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan, March 23, 2007 2007. Food, democracy, culture, and murder: The gun in four geographies of discourse. Symposium on ‘Critical approaches to the analysis of the media discourse: their possibilities and limitations from intercultural perspectives', Waseda University, Tokyo, March 24, 2007 81

Complete Bibliography of Ron Scollon (1939-2009)

2007. Social interaction, GIS, and Globalization: Can these and should these be integrated? Georgetown University: GLS 2007, March 30, 2007. RESEARCH REPORTS AND COMMISSIONED PAPERS 1981. (with Suzanne B. K. Scollon) Computer conferencing in instruction. Report to the University of Alaska Instructional Telecommunications Consortium. 1981. (with Suzanne B. K. Scollon) Increasing the responsiveness of the Learn/Alaska Network. Report to the University of Alaska Instructional Telecommunications Consortium. 1981. Human knowledge and the institution's knowledge. Final report to the National Institute of Education on grant No. G-80-0185 "Communication Patterns and Retention in a Public University." 1986. The Axe Handle Academy: a proposal for a bioregional, thematic humanities education. Juneau, Alaska:Sealaska Heritage Foundation. 1987. Print, palaver, and prime time: four essays on the media and public discourse. [The problem of power (with Suzanne Scollon); Time and the media; The Axe Handles Academy; The incredible shrinking Man] Anchorage, Alaska:Alaska Humanities Forum. 1987. (with Suzanne Scollon) How to teach thematic comparative literature. Juneau, Alaska:Sealaska Heritage Foundation. 1988. (with Suzie Scollon) Speaking of literacy. Anchorage, Alaska: Alaska Humanities Forum. 1992. (with Suzie Wong Scollon) Individualism and binarism: A critique of American intercultural communication analysis. Department of English, City Polytechnic of Hong Kong, Research Report, No. 22. 1993. Maxims of Stance: Channel, relationship, and main topic in discourse. Department of English, City Polytechnic of Hong Kong, Research Report, No. 26. 1993. (with Li Chor Shing David, Poon Lau Woon Yee Wanda, Rogerson-Revell Pamela M, Scollon Suzanne, Yu Shiu Kwong Bartholomew, Yung Kit Yee Vicki) Contrastive Discourse in English and Cantonese Newsstories: A Preliminary Analysis of Newspaper, Radio, and Television Versions of the Lan Kwai Fong New Year's Newsstory. Department of English, City Polytechnic of Hong Kong, Research Report, No. 29. 1994. (with Suzanne Wong Scollon) The Post-Confucian confusion. Department of English, City Polytechnic of Hong Kong, Research Report, No. 37.


Complete Bibliography of Ron Scollon (1939-2009)

WORKING PAPERS 1975. A sketch of Kutchin phonology. Working Papers in Linguistics, Department of Linguistics, University of Hawaii, Vol. 7, No. 3:17-87. 1976. The framing of Chipewyan narratives in performance: titles, initials and finals. Working Papers in Linguistics, Department of Linguistics, University of Hawaii, Vol. 7, No. 4:97-107. 1977. Dissipative structures, Chipewyan consonants, and the modern consciousness. Working Papers in Linguistics, University of Hawaii, Vol. 9, No. 3:43-64. 1982. Gatekeeping: access or retention? Working Papers in Sociolinguistics, No. 96. Austin: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. 1991. (with Suzanne Wong-Scollon) Three essays on "Post-Confucian Asians in contemporary Alaska" Anchorage, Alaska:Alaska Humanities Forum. 1993. Cumulative ambiguity: Conjunctions in Chinese-English intercultural communication. Perspectives, Working Papers of the Department of English, City Polytechnic of Hong Kong, Vol. 5 (1):55-73. MEDIA PROJECTS 1979. (with Eliza Jones) Interethnic communication. Number Five in the Series of videotapes on language in Alaska, Talking Alaska. Fairbanks, Alaska:Alaska Native Language Center. 1988. (with Suzie Scollon, Jim Sykes) Opening the literate mind. Five 30-minute public radio programs (with discussion guide) on literacy, community, and education. Anchorage, Alaska:Western Media Concepts.


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