Aware that categorical thinking imposes restrictions on the ways we communicate, Stephen R. Yarbrough proposes discourse studies as an alternative to rhetoric and philosophy, both of which are structuralistic systems of inquiry.
Discourse studies, Yarbrough argues, does not support the idea that languages, cultures, or conceptual schemes in general adequately describe linguistic competence. He asserts that a belief in languages and cultures "feeds a false dichotomy: either we share the same codes and conventions, achieving community but risking exclusivism, or we proliferate differences, achieving choice and freedom but risking fragmentation and incoherence." Discourse studies, he demonstrates, works around this dichotomy.
Drawing on philosopher Donald Davidson, Yarbrough establishes the idea that community can be a consequence of communication but is not a prerequisite for it. By disassociating our thinking from conceptual schemes, we can avoid the problems that come with believing in an abstract structure that predates any utterance.
Yarbrough also draws on Mikhail Bakhtin's dialogism to define how utterances operate in life and to show how utterances are involved with power and how power relates to understanding. His discussion of Michel Meyer's problematology treats the questions implied by a statement as the meaning of the statement.
Yarbrough introduces readers to a credible theoretical framework for focusing on discourse rather than on conceptual schemes that surround it and to the potential advantages of our using this approach in daily life.
Alabamians have always been a singing people. The settlers who moved into the various sections of the state brought with them songs which reflected their national origins and geographical backgrounds, and as they spread into the hills and over the lowlands they created new songs out of the conditions under which they lived. Also, they absorbed songs from outside sources whenever these pieces could be adapted to their sentiments and ways of life. Thus, by a process of memory, composition and recreation they developed a rich body of folk songs. The following collection a part of the effort to discover and preserve these songs.
Considering the communicative and symbolic roles of language in articulating national identity, Yasir Suleiman provides a fresh perspective on nationalism in the Middle East. The links between language and nationalism are delineated and he demonstrates how this has been articulated over the past two centuries.
Straddling the domains of cultural and political nationalism, Suleiman examines the Arab past (looking at the interpretation and reinvention of tradition, and myth-making); the clash between Arab and Turkish cultural nationalism in the 19th and early 20th century; readings of canonical treatises on the topic of Arab cultural nationalism, the major ideological trends linking language to territorial nationalism; and provides a research agenda for the study of language and nationalism in the Arab context.
This the first full-scale study of this important topic and will be of interest to students of nationalism, Arab and comparative politics, Arabic Studies, history, cultural studies and sociolinguistics.
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