Linguistic Anthropology in 2008: An Election-Cycle Guide



ABSTRACT  Loosely following the structure of the U.S. election cycle, I identify some of the more important institutions and events that have recently served as venues for field-building scholarly practices and processes in linguistic anthropology. I examine various trends and concerns animating recent publications on language and social life. I discuss the ongoing impact on the field of recent major works that attempt to codify methodological and theoretical approaches to the intersection of language and society. I also consider some of linguistic anthropology's emergent ventures, including new collaborative projects and new proposals for interdisciplinary work. Finally, I discuss some of the political implications of academic specialization, disciplinary boundaries, and impending “generational shift,” both in the subdiscipline and the academy generally. I close by raising questions about future directions and possibilities for research in linguistic anthropology and other interdisciplinary enterprises. [Keywords: linguistic anthropology, interdisciplinarity, linguistic ideology, semiotic practices, linguistic variation]