The pitch of ethnography: Language, relations, and the significance of listening.

In his article Knut Christian Myhre explores social anthropology’s relationship to, and conception of, language, and uses kinship as an example to show how the discipline presumes and entails a digital conception of social relations, which leaves little room for language as a constitutive phenomenon.

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 By drawing on certain philosophies of language, the article deploys the notion of pitch to explore the published ethnography on the Lovedu of South Africa to show how language is constitutive of social relations and the manner in which these can be conceived of as analogue phenomena. On this basis, it is argued that language must be added to recent approaches as a central concern for kinship studies. Furthermore, it is held that the activity of listening can reconfigure our approach to, and conception of, language to attune ethnography to vernacular conceptual analyses.

Tags: ethnography, exchange, kinship, language, marriage, meaning, sociality, sound, sub-Saharan Africa
Published Jan. 22, 2013 1:06 PM - Last modified Nov. 28, 2016 9:11 AM