Being in the Cloud

Analysis of Discourse in Online Communities

Authored by: Tracy LeBlanc-Wories

The Routledge Handbook of Linguistic Anthropology

Print publication date:  September  2015
Online publication date:  August  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415834100
eBook ISBN: 9780203492741
Adobe ISBN: 9781135050900


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Anthropology rests on a strong foundation of fieldwork. Since Boasian tradition has underscored getting out of the armchair and into the field, we have had many evolutions in both practice and perspective to reflect current academic trends, reinforcing the fact that anthropology is a dynamic area of study. When conducting fieldwork in anthropology, one has a plethora of choices for methods – participant observation being the most popular – but in linguistic anthropology, we have a special set of concerns and ethical quandaries to attend to before setting off into the field. Many of those concerns include understanding who the speaker is and who the audience is and from whose “data” exactly we are to seek permission to document, perhaps transcribe, interpret, and potentially publish. All disciplines share some fieldwork and ethical concerns, specifically acquiring the appropriate permission from institutions, communities in question, and any funding bodies; however, in linguistic anthropology, these concerns are confounding because of the question of who.

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