Speaking through the Silence: Narratives, Social Conventions, and Power in Java

Hardcover | June 1, 1998

byLaine A. Berman

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Uncovering the structures and functions of conversational narratives uttered within natural social networks, Laine Berman shows how working-class Javanese women discursively construct identity and meaning within the rigid constraints of an hierarchical social order. She does this byidentifying the silences, the "unsaid", and by revealing both the structure and function of silence in terms of its indexical reference to local meaning. It is here that the force of the Javanese language as used in everyday interaction shows itself to be an extremely potent philosophical entity aswell as a means of social control. Thus, at least in regard to the urban poor, the book boldly questions the difference between traditional definitions of Javanese elegance and oppression. This study will contribute to our understanding of the social consequences of language use, to the linguisticknowledge of Indonesia and Java, and to such basic linguistic issues as narrative structure and function, speech levels and styles, and indexicality features.

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Uncovering the structures and functions of conversational narratives uttered within natural social networks, Laine Berman shows how working-class Javanese women discursively construct identity and meaning within the rigid constraints of an hierarchical social order. She does this byidentifying the silences, the "unsaid", and by reveali...

Laine A. Berman is at School of Australian and International Studies.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:276 pages, 9.09 × 6.42 × 0.98 inPublished:June 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195108884

ISBN - 13:9780195108880

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"Capturing the effects of state ideology and political oppression in the minite particulars of everyday talk poses enormous ethnographic and political challenges, ones not usually confronted when anthropological linguistics is wedded to the formal and functional analysis of discourse. Berman'seffort to disclose the fundamentally political nature of speech and the fundamentally lingistic nature of power deserves the attention of anyone drawn to an ethnographic understanding of language and power."--Anthropological Linguistics