Volume 9, Issue 1, 2013
In American evangelical culture, men’s Bible studies are a key site for negotiating and reproducing ideologies about ‘godly masculinity.’ Here, the ideal of an evangelical man is modeled, tried on, and held up for inspection. In their gender performances, these young men draw from three different models of masculinity, each with its own superaddressee (Bakhtin, 1981) and gender schedule (Goffman, 1977). The two more widely-used models are associated with a more hegemonic young American masculinity and with an evangelical model of masculinity— models which directly conflict with one another in terms of their prescriptions for masculinity. Through such strategies as competitive but self-deprecating narration, use of military and sexual analogies, and humor rooted in the Bible, the men are able to simultaneously draw from these two conflicting models. In their interactions, these men also creatively navigate between the two by appealing to a highly local third model of masculinity associated with their local congregation. This model, which offers semiotic resources from ‘hipster’ or ‘intellectual’ culture, resists both of the more widely-used models.
This article focuses on the role of teachers in shaping spoken interactions in civics education classrooms in southeast Spain. The main mode of instruction in such classes is what I call dialogic debate, a genre requiring agentive exchange among classroom participants and predicated upon the notion that competitive stancetaking yields salutary orientations toward contemporary life. Class discussions were to move youth toward critically reflexive and broadly humanist stances, but the oppositional exchanges that actually took place were at odds with the peaceful dispositions that the lessons were meant to inspire. I introduce the notion of ontological status attribution—a variant of stancetaking resources well documented in the linguistic anthropological literature—to show that, in their quest to socialize youth to civic ideals, teachers fomented face-threatening classroom atmospheres in which developmental and cultural differences constituted key indexes of students’ perceived democratic fitness.
Many scholars have shown that gestures may be used to organize interactive engagement, including such things as turn-taking, participation, and narrative structure (e.g., Goodwin, 1984; Haddington, 2006). More recent work has shown that gestures may also serve as a type of dialogic embodied action (Arnold, 2012), connecting and relating utterances to one another and promoting engagement among speakers. However, within the research tradition that looks at the ways in which gestures resemble each other within interactional sequences, less attention has been given to examining how gestures are not simply reproduced but are actively negotiated as a crucial part of the meaning-making process. In this article, I will examine the ways in which participants negotiate the relationship between sequences of focal and iconic gestures that are formally and/or functionally related to each other. Similar to dialogic resonance in speech (Du Bois, 2007, 2010b), gestural resonance involves the activation of affinities across utterances—and here I take an utterance to be the interactionally gestalt boundaries of both speech and bodily behavior. While much previous work has focused on the ways in which gestural resemblance can promote agreement and understanding, here I investigate the relation of gestures by analyzing the differentials between gestures—that is, the degrees to which across-turn gestures are and are not the same. The defining feature of gestural resonance is that gestures are actively reformulated to varying degrees in order to achieve a variety of interactional functions. That is, participants are—through embodied action—actively commenting on the semantic content of a prior gesture and, where present, its accompanying talk.