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Keywords:

  • Action;
  • ethnography of communication;
  • nexus analysis

Nexus analysis takes human action rather than language or culture as its unit of analysis. We take one specific case to illustrate the methodology as well as its continuity with the project of Hymes, and of Boas before him, to take action against racism. A nexus analysis takes the constitution of human social groups and languages as a problem to be examined, shifting the focus away from groups toward action as the prime unit of analysis. This shift disrupts power relations between ethnographer as participant and observer and those observed who are now participants and observers in partnership, with consequences concerning when, where, and with whom ethnography can be done, consequences for the security of subjects as well as national security. We begin where inequality is perceived and analyze the actions that bring that about, our analysis itself being a form of action.