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Living Memory: The Social Aesthetics of Language in a Northern Italian Town

ISBN: 978-1-4051-6882-3
272 pages
March 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
Living Memory: The Social Aesthetics of Language in a Northern Italian Town (140516882X) cover image
Living Memory investigates the complex question of language and its place at the heart of Bergamasco culture in northern Italy.

• Integrates extensive participant observation with sociolinguistic data collection
• Reveals the political and social dynamics of a national language (Italian) and a local dialect (Bergamasco) struggling for survival
• Introduces the original concept of the “social aesthetics of language”: the interweaving of culturally-shaped and emotionally felt dimensions of language-choice
• Written to be accessible to students and specialists alike
• Part of the Blackwell Studies in Discourse and Culture Series

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Series Editor’s Preface.

Preface.

Constructing Transcripts: Orthographic Conventions and Transcription Processes.

1. Introduction.

2. Bergamasco in Use: The Feel of Everyday Speaking.

3. Gendering Language.

4. Bergamasco on Stage: Poetry and Theater.

5. Modern Campanilismo: The Value of Place.

6. Bergamo, Italy, Europe: Speaking Contextualized.

7. Conclusion.

Notes.

References.

Index.

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Jillian R. Cavanaugh is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Brooklyn College CUNY. She has published in a range of journals, including Language and Communication, Ethnos, and the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology.
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• Integrates extensive participant observation with sociolinguistic data collection
• Reveals the political and social dynamics of a national language (Italian) and a local dialect (Bergamasco) struggling for survival
• Introduces the original concept of the “social aesthetics of language”: the interweaving of culturally-shaped and emotionally felt dimensions of language-choice
• Written to be accessible to students and specialists alike
See More
"An engaging study of the kinds of tensions and paradoxes that make so many minority language situations such nail biters: will conscious effort to revalorize a flagging vernacular strengthen it or kill it? Does highlighting the language’s cultural heritage revitalize it or turn it into an attractive but irrelevant museum piece? ‘Living Memory’ beautifully documents the complex and delicate situation of a stubborn Italian dialect. In doing so, it helps us understand the role language plays in contemporary debates about identity, belonging, citizenship and rapid social change."
–Don Kulick, author of Language Shift and Cultural Reproduction

"Living Memory is a very solid piece of academic work on language maintenance, shift, linguistic ideologies and cultural dynamics in an Italian region and town. It makes a significant contribution to linguistic anthropology."
–Lukas D Tsitsipis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

"With empathetic eye and ear, Cavanaugh places Bergamo's committed "locophonophiles," lovers of speaking -- as well as eating -- locally, in the relevant contexts of the wider cultural politics of European and Italian regionalism at the turn-of-the-21st-century."
–Michael Silverstein, University of Chicago

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Living Memory: The Social Aesthetics of Language in a Northern Italian Town (US $113.95)

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