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ERIC Number: ED548010
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 426
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2674-6145-2
Knowledge and Authority in Shift: A Linguistic Ethnography of Multilingual News Media in the Buryat Territories of Russia
Graber, Kathryn Elizabeth
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Michigan
How might institutional projects to improve the status of minority languages and publics have unintended and contradictory consequences? This dissertation examines media and language practices in order to illuminate the everyday sociocultural processes by which the value of knowledge is figured. It focuses on news media institutions in the Buryat territories, a multilingual region of southeastern Siberia, to advance two main arguments. First, as language shift in this region has progressed, media in the once-dominant native language, Buryat, have taken on an increasingly symbolic (rather than informational or referential) social role, with content becoming more culturally circumscribed. Second, although media institutions position themselves--and are locally interpreted--as monolithic arbiters of linguistic authority, encapsulated in a strong Buryat literary standard, they in fact manifest great diversity in ideology and praxis, shaped by the material demands of specific mediums. This situation presents an indexical disjuncture between the authority granted to individuals and their actual linguistic practices, unevenly extending the imprimatur of institutional authority over practices that would not otherwise be interpreted as "standard." The study interweaves archival, ethnographic, and sociolinguistic data, drawing on 19 months of multi-sited field research conducted between 2005 and 2011 in the Buryat territories of the Russian Federation. Generations of speakers in this region have been shifting from Buryat to Russian, while experiencing rapid transformations in demography, economy, and lifestyle. By focusing on the heavily ideologized and authoritative domain of news media, this dissertation illustrates how linguistic and cultural knowledge and authority are renegotiated in the context of dramatic changes that are experienced not only as language shift, but as profound sociocultural shift as well. In particular, it describes instances of insecurity, shame, and other emotional responses in interactions to show how possessing such knowledge and authority in this context becomes a moral concern. An additional contribution of the dissertation is methodological. The study integrates production data from newsrooms with consumption/reception data from audiences and formal linguistic analyses of texts and transcripts, employing a novel holistic approach to elucidate how the language used and manufactured in institutional settings circulates from and into other domains of daily life. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Russia