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“Whatever (Neck Roll, Eye Roll, Teeth Suck)”: The Situated Coproduction of Social Categories and Identities through Stancetaking and Transmodal Stylization


Marjorie Harness Goodwin
Department of Anthropology
341 Haines Hall—Box 951553
University of California Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1553

H. Samy Alim
Stanford University
School of Education and (by courtesy) Linguistics
Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity
485 Lasuen Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-3096


This article examines the argumentative talk of a preadolescent girls' peer group demonstrating both the co-construction of microinteractional identities as well as the coproduction of macro-social identity categories, such as race, class, and gender. Activities of social aggression are performed through embodied styling and stancetaking in the midst of oppositional moves towards a “tagalong” girl. Through transmodal stylization girls openly mock an African American working-class girl using talk associated with wealthy white “Valley Girls,” while simultaneously producing gestures associated with working-class black “Ghetto Girls.” Through the use of different communicative modalities girls simultaneously index multiple culturally salient representations. [stance, style, peer group, conflict talk, identity]