Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Society for Linguistic Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Exchange
Secondary Theme: Identity and Equity
This panel explores when and how cultural differences are made predictable and manageable through genres of encounter, which we take to be genres that are structuring interactions so that communicating across class or culture is part of the reflexive structure for the interaction itself. The panelists are interested in how genres function so as to allow patterned forms of interaction that not only do not always presume shared understanding, but, in fact, might openly presume miscommunication. While these might be genres that presume miscommunication, at the same time, all participants know what is expected of them. This is the conundrum: how does everyone “know” how to play their part when the genre itself could presume a Rashomon effect at the heart of the interaction. Comparing different genres of encounter, as this panel does, allows panelists to address a number of ethnographic questions: What are some of the effects of the shared genres of encounter? When do these genres presume miscommunication? When do they flatten or foreclose communication? When and how do different genres allow miscommunication to be made visible, and when is that overlooked? What are the historical trajectories behind the emergence of sedimented and patterned expectations as well as predictable interactions when radical difference is presumed to be at the heart of the encounter? Do the genres of encounter depend on what kind of difference is being presumed – class, race or culture? Panelists analyze a range of different genres of encounter performed by traveling theater troupes, UN translators to reality show participants.