A call for ethnographic investigation of justice and care in language and gender research


  • Marjorie Harness Goodwin University of California




care, embodied practices, ethnography, gender, morality, multimodality


This paper argues for an ethnographic approach to the study of principles of justice and care in language and gender research. My focus is on language practices in two basic human socialites: children’s peer groups and the family. By examining interactions in the everyday lives of peers and in families, the creativity with which humans orchestrate their everyday activities becomes visible. I problematise two prominent ideas put forward by psychologists that have influenced studies of gender and language for some time: Jean Piaget’s (1965[1932]) writings about children’s games and Carol Gilligan’s (1982) ideas about a ‘different voice’ among women.

Author Biography

Marjorie Harness Goodwin, University of California

Marjorie Harness Goodwin is Distinguished Research Professor of Anthropology of at UCLA. With a focus on video analysis and multi-modality, her research deals with the embodied practices and affective stances through which members of peer groups, families and workplaces construct their social relations with one another. She is the author of He Said She Said: Talk as Social Organization among Black Children (Indiana University Press, 1990), The Hidden Life of Girls (Blackwell 2006) and Embodied Family Choreography, Practices of Control, Care and Mundane Creativity (with Asta Cekaite, Routledge, 2018).


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How to Cite

Harness Goodwin, M. . (2021). A call for ethnographic investigation of justice and care in language and gender research. Gender and Language, 15(2), 249–261. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.20314



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