Well, my mind is abuzz!

Well, my mind is abuzz! I’ve spent the morning on tasks to keep things moving, there is the potential here (I think!) to really generate some momentum. I wonder how things went at the Closing Banquet? Specifically, I wonder if there were any references to FLOW, or “breaking role,” or anything else that could be “evidence” of an emerging discourse? In the last workshop I attended, Pam got up to say something about an incident that “broke my flow,” and while I was sitting in the business meeting a guy walked past me, signing FLOW and laughing. ­čÖé I know folks were using some of the terms around me, but how much further has it gone?
Meanwhile, I’m reading Billig, and he has a section on politeness (bummed I missed Jack Hoza’s workshop), and also on turn-taking. I’ve been somewhat concerned that instead of instigating an evolution in discourse, I’ve participated in reifying the current one about being in/out of role, and breaking role, etc. Some folks didn’t know these terms…I think this came up a couple of times in audience comments – clarifying that I wasn’t claiming all the examples that were shared were really “out of role” (as in bad), but simply trying to show that our talk indicates a huge range of things that we think of as “out of role,” even though we may agree that they were the right – necessary – thing to do. Billig’s take on politeness strategies is that the very fact of rules creates a rebellious desire to break them. I think that the reason there was so much laughter at some of the more extreme examples of being out of role was vicarious – most of us have been in situations where we wished we could do something like slamming the table, or walking away, or stating explicitly that the Deaf person was being ignored.
Politeness is never more apparent than in turn-taking, where interlocutors “must demonstrate that they are yielding and taking up the conversational space according to requisite norms” (Billig, p. 85). No wonder so much research has been done on this phenomena, and no surprise then, that this is where natural criticism becomes most evident.
I might have to follow up on Billig – work him into that Fulbright I hope to get?

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