The interactional construction of desire as gender
Keywords:sexuality, desire, alignment, masculinities, discourse
Recently there have been spirited debates about the role of desire in the study of language, gender and sexuality – debates largely centred around the publication of Cameron and Kulick’s (2003) volume, Language and Sexuality. In the present paper, I address two important questions arising from this debate: defining evidence of desire in interaction, and the relationship of this ‘interactional desire’ to gender and masculinities more specifically. First, I argue for a definition of desire that goes beyond sexual desire, in a direction indicated by Cameron and Kulick; following Whitehead (2002:205-221), I suggest that another kind of desire that we should think about (in addition to interpersonal desire) is ontological desire -- essentially the desire to have or emulate qualities of a particular identity. Second, I use the notion of alignment to discover interactants ‘doing’ desire of different types in interaction. Finally, I argue that these alignments and how they are accomplished are not a separate part of masculine (and other gender) constructions of performances, but are at the centre of such identities. I use three excerpts, selected for their likelihood to have desire as an issue in the speech event, to illustrate these points.
Butler, J. (1990) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. new york: routledge.
Butler, J. (1993) Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of ‘Sex’. new york: routledge.
Cameron, d. (1997) Performing gender identity: young men’s talk and the construction of heterosexual masculinity. in s. Johnson and u. meinhof (eds) Language and Masculinity 47–64. malden, ma: Blackwell.
Cameron, d. (2008) The Myth of Mars and Venus: Do Men and Women Really Speak Different Languages? oxford: oxford university Press.
Cameron, d. and kulick, d. (2003) Language and Sexuality. cambridge: cambridge university Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/cBo9780511791178
Carrigan, t., connell, r.w. and lee, J. (1985) toward a new sociology of masculinity. Theory and Society 14: 551–604. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00160017
Clift, r. (2001) meaning in interaction: The case of actually. Language 77: 245–291. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/lan.2001.0074
Connell, r.w. (1987) Gender and Power. stanford, ca: stanford university Press.
Connell, r.w. (1995) Masculinities. Berkeley, ca: university of california Press.
Connell, r.w. and messerschmidt, J. w. (2005) Hegemonic masculinity: rethinking the concept. Gender & Society 19: 829–859. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0891243205278639
Deleuze, g. and guattari, F. (1996) A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. london: athlone Press.
Deleuze, g. and Parnet, c. (1987) Dialogues. new york: columbia university Press.
Duranti, a. and Brenneis, d. (1986) The audience as co-author. a special issue of Text 63.
Duranti, a. and goodwin, c. (1992) Rethinking Context. cambridge: cambridge university Press.
Eeckert, P. (2008) Variation and the indexical field. Journal of Sociolinguistics 12: 453–476. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9841.2008.00374.x
Eckert, P. and mcconnell-ginet, s. (1992) Think practically and look locally: language and gender as community-based practice. Annual Review of Anthropology 21: 461–90. http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.an.21.100192.002333
Edwards, d. and Potter, J. (1992) Discursive Psychology. london: sage.
Georgakopoulou, a. (2007) Small Stories, Interaction and Identities. amsterdam: John Benjamins,
Giddens, a. (1991) Modernity and Self-identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. malden, ma: Blackwell/Polity.
Goffman, e. (1959) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. new york: Penguin.
Goffman, e. (1974) Frame Analysis. Philadelphia: university of Pennsylvania Press.
Goodwin, c. (1981) Conversational Organization: Interaction between Speakers and Hearers. new york: academic Press.
Goodwin, c. and goodwin, m.H. (1987) concurrent operations on talk: notes on the interactive organization of assessments. Pragmatics 1(1): 1–55.
Goodwin, c. and goodwin, m.H. (1992) assessments and the construction of context. in a. duranti and c. goodwin (eds.) Rethinking Context: Language as an Interactive Phenomenon 147–190. cambridge: cambridge university Press.
Goodwin, m. H. (2006) The Hidden Life of Girls: Games of Stance, Status, and Exclusion. malden, ma: wiley-Blackwell.
Grice, H.P. (1975) logic and conversation. in P. cole and J. morgan, J. (eds) Syntax and Semantics, vol 3, 41–58. new york: academic Press.
Gumperz, J. (1982) Discourse Strategies. cambridge: cambridge university Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/cBo9780511611834
Halberstam, J. (1998) Female Masculinity. durham, nc: duke university Press.
Holland, d. and Quinn, n. (1987) Cultural Models in Language and Thought. cambridge: cambridge university Press.
Hutchby, i. and woofitt, r. (1998) Conversation Analysis. malden, ma: Blackwell Publishers.
Johnstone, B. (2002) Discourse Analysis. malden, ma: Blackwell Publishers.
Kessler, s. and mckenna, w. (1978) Gender: An Ethnomethodological Approach. new york: John wiley & sons.
Kiesling, s.F. (2001) ‘now i gotta watch what i say’: shifting constructions of gender and dominance in discourse. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 11: 250–273. http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/jlin.2001.11.2.250
Kiesling, s.F. (2004) dude. American Speech 79: 281–305. http://dx.doi.org/10.1215/00031283-79-3-281
Kiesling, s.F. (2005) Homosocial desire in men’s talk: Balancing and recreating cultural discourses of masculinity. Language in Society 34: 695–727. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0047404505050268
Kiesling, s.F. (2006) Hegemonic identity-making in narrative. in a. de Fina, d. schiffrin and m. Bamberg (eds) Discourse and Identity 261–287. cambridge: cambridge university Press.
Kimmel, m. (2001) masculinity as homophobia: Fear, shame, and silence in the construction of gender identity. in s.m. whitehead and F.J. Barrett (eds) The Masculinities Reader 266–287. malden, ma: Blackwell.
Korobov, n. (2006) The management of nonrelational sexuality: Positioning strategies in adolescent male talk about (hetero)sexual attraction. Men and Masculinities 8: 493–517. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1097184x04268727
Ochs, e. (1992) indexing gender. in a. duranti and c.goodwin (eds) Rethinking Context: Language as an Interactive Phenomenon 335–358. cambridge: cambridge university Press.
Schiffrin, d. (1984) Jewish argument as sociability. Language in Society 13: 311–335. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0047404500010526
Schiffrin, d. (1987) Discourse Markers. cambridge: cambridge university Press.
Sedgwick, e.k. (1985) Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire. new york: columbia university Press.
Silverstein, m. (1976) shifters, linguistic categories, and cultural description. in k. Basso and H.a. selby (eds) Meaning in Anthropology 11–56. albuquerque: school of american research, university of new mexico Press.
Stivers, t. (2008) stance , alignment , and affiliation during storytelling : when nodding is a token of affiliation. Research on Language and Social Interaction 41: 31–57. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08351810701691123
Tannen, d. (1979) what’s in a frame? surface evidence for underlying expectations. in r. Freedle (ed.) New Directions in Discourse Processing 137–181. norwood, nJ: ablex.
Tannen, d. (1984) Conversational Style: Analyzing Talk among Friends. norwood, nJ: ablex Publishing.
Tannen, d. (1989) Talking Voices: Repetition, Dialogue, and Imagery in Conversational Discourse. cambridge: cambridge university Press.
Tannen, d. (1990) You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation. new york: Ballantine Books.
Whitehead, m. (2002) Men and Masculinities. cambridge: Polity Press.