ERIC Number: ED197589
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1980-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Straight Talk and Sweet Talk: Political Discourse in a Community of Equals. Working Papers in Sociolinguistics, No. 71.
Anthropologists have indicated that the need to act politically and to avoid the appearance of such action is marked in egalitarian societies. The perils of confrontation in such societies often foster indirect and highly allusive speech. This paper invesitgates the relationship between direct and indirect speech in an Indo-Fijian community which presents a case of the association of oblique oratory with an egalitarian social order. Two varieties of public performance are analyzed: (1) the "parbachan" or religious speeches which ostensibly deal with sacred topics but which carry a second, political message as well; and (2) the "panchayat," an ad hoc arbitration session organized to deal with a specific conflict in the community. Here issues, events, and individuals are discussed openly. While there is a range of political performances in this community, the dominant mode of conflict communication is indirection. Public political messages are deeply buried in religious speeches, and individual speakers cannot be held responsible for the secondary meanings. This accords with the notion that oblique reference is characteristic of political talk among equals. (AMH)
Descriptors: Adults, Ambiguity, Change Strategies, Communication Research, Discourse Analysis, Group Discussion, Interaction Process Analysis, Political Influences, Politics, Pragmatics, Social Psychology, Sociolinguistics, Speech Communication, Speeches
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 211 East 7th Street, Austin, TX 78701.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.