Социальная репрезентация через язык: теория и практика социолингвистики и дискурсивного анализа
The article reviews research traditions and new findings pertaining to the issue of ‘language in society’ over the period from circa 2005 to 2020. Specifically, we discuss some of the tenets and analytical toolkits of American and Western European traditions of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology, as well as the strands of discourse analysis that integrate the former and/or the latter into their theoretical framework. Such contemporary schools of thought are represented, among others, by Michael Silverstein, Penelope Eckert, and Asif Agha in the USA, by Mary Bucholtz, Kira Hall, and Nikolas Coupland in the UK, by Jan Blommaert in the Netherlands, and by Jürgen Spitzmüller and Barbara Soukup in Austria. The topics and concepts discussed in the article include social indexicality of linguistic signs, enacting social relations between speakers, ethno-metapragmatics, and (social) styles. We begin with an overview of the ‘third wave’ of sociolinguistics, which has been focused on exploring linguistic variation as a medium used by individuals or groups for evoking or (re)constructing the ‘social world’. It is discussed how sociality is being enacted by individuals, how semiotic ties are set between a linguistic sign and social value, how persistent social attribution is created, and how all these phenomena can be explored through analysis of indexical tokens and types. Indexicality is seen here as the capacity of a (linguistic) sign to ‘point to’ a variable of the context of its usage. Social indexicality is thus seen as evoking such social value as forms of identity and communicative roles and social relations drawing on these forms. An overview of the history of sociolinguistics also serves to illustrate the transformation of views on agentivity, identity, and linguistic/semiotic objects: from the static view of identity as predefined by the social structure and (passively) projected through various semiotic media, including language, to a more perforative contemporary view of identity as (creatively) stylized in social encounters. It is further contended that a crucial prerequisite for such stylization is the malleability and mutability of social/indexical meanings, with so-called ethno-metapragmatics — reflexive activity targeting said meanings and signs carrying them — being the process driving the change. Finally, we show how these theories and methods can be traced to ideas expressed by Russian/ Soviet scholars of early and mid twentieth century.