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The Discursive Construction of the German Welfare State: Interests and Institutionality


Anthropology Department
Southern Connecticut State University
501 Crescent Street
New Haven CT 06515


This article consists of an initial theoretical attempt to describe “interests” as widespread social phenomena which emerge specifically from discursive interaction. I focus on the way in which the indexical signaling of discourse participation roles and public/private standings provide key conditions of possibility for the emergence of interests in interactional real time. The case at hand involves the German welfare state, a social institution which is constituted both on the local level of my fieldsite (a working-class suburb of the former East Berlin) and on the national level (through the popular media and through the circulation of laws, policy documents and the like). [Germany, welfare state, interests, indexical orders, institutionality]