Linguistic Anthropology in 2017: It Could Be Otherwise
In this review, I discuss recent works that embody Monica Heller's (2017, 12) assertion that anthropology is about imagining alternative worlds. In the first section, Presence(s), Contact(s), and their Alternatives, I focus on work that refines our analytical grasp of the semiotic processes underlying past, current, and projected realities, possibilities, and engagements. The second section, Shifting Political Economies, deals with publications that specifically explore how political economic conditions are otherwise than was the case when linguistic anthropologists began formulating approaches to the political economies of language in the immediate post-Cold War period. In a third section, Evidence and/of Imagination, I examine how linguistic anthropological works published in the period under review have used the terms imagine/imagined/imaginary in polyvalent senses when exploring how alternative worlds are conceived and produced, and consider how this nontechnical term can allow scholars to evade or to open up questions of scale and evidence. The final section, Linguistic Anthropology Could be Otherwise, takes up work in 2017 that asks how the practice of linguistic anthropology itself could beand should beotherwise in terms of our engagements outside the field and the scope of our theoretical and political imaginations.
Hoffman-Dilloway, Erika. 2018. "Linguistic Anthropology in 2017: It Could Be Otherwise." American Anthropologist 120(2): 278-290.
Linguistic anthropology, Semiotics, Alternatives, Imagination, Political economies