DISCOURSE-IN-USE David Bloome and Caroline Clark The Ohio State University Manuscript prepared for Complementary Methods for Research in Education co-edited by Judith Green, Greg Camilli, and Patricia Elmore to be published by the American Educational Research Association. Address for correspondence: David Bloome, Language, Literacy & Culture, School of Teaching & Learning, The Ohio State University, 216B Ramseyer Hall, 29. W. Woodruff Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210 bloome. 1@osu. edu Discourse-In-Use The concept of discourse-in-use focuses attention simultaneously on how people interact with each other, the tools they use in those interactions, the social and historical contexts within which they interact, and what they concertedly create and accomplish through those interactions. The concept of “ discourse-in-use” can be distinguished from other definitions of discourse. Discourse has been defined as stylistic ways of using language ( ), written text ( ), as a set of cultural, historical, and ideological processes (cf., Foucault, 1980), among other definitions (see Bloome, Carter, Christian, Otto & Faris, in press, for a discussion of definitions of discourse). Gee (1996) distinguishes between discourse with a lower case “ d” and Discourse with an upper case “ D. ” The former referring to ways of using language within face-to-face events and similar situations; the latter referring to broad social, cultural, and ideological processes. Whether one uses Gee’s trope of lower case “ discourse” versus upper case “ Discourse, ” acknowledgement needs to be made that people use language and other semiotic tools within multiple layers of social context and that ways of using language do not exist distinct from broader social and historical processes. We use “ discourse-in-use” to ask who is doing what with whom, to whom , when, where, and how? The concept of discourse-in-use focuses attention on how people adopt and adapt the language and cultural practices historically available in response to the local, institutional, macro-social and historical situations in which they find themselves. In this chapter, we examine methodological warrants and obligations that the concept of discourse-in-use provides for researchers interested in describing and understanding how people accomplish education. By “ accomplish education, ” we mean how people create events and social institutions that are recognizable to themselves and others as educational events and educational institutions. We view the accomplishment of education as occurring both in classroom and non-classroom settings. We begin by briefly discussing historical roots of the concept of discourse-in-use. Then, we discuss the material nature of discourse-in-use and the nature of the warrants needed to support claims regarding interpretations of discourse events. We follow the discussion of warrants by raising two key issues: animation of discourse and agency, and dividing practices. To illustrate the concepts we present, we examine a small segment of classroom conversation from a seventh grade language arts lesson. In this classroom conversation, the teacher and students had been discussing Sterling Brown’s poem, “ After Winter. ” The conversation evolved into a discussion of language variation and the particular conversational segment we use involves discussion of “ sounding white. ” Transcript 1 Conversational segment from a Seventh Grade Language Arts Lesson | 01 | Teacher | Who can explain to the concept of sounding white ↑ | | 02 | Maria | OK I have an example | | 03 | Maria | When I be at lunch and I say li+ke | | 04 | Andre | When I be laughs (aside) | | 05 | Teacher |*Wait a minute* | | 06 | Teacher | I’m sorry | | Given space limitations, the discussion is necessarily brief. For more extensive discussions of the theoretical and methodlogical issues we refer readers to Bloome et al, in press; Gee, Schiffrin, Tannen, & Hamilton, 2001; ; van Dijk, ; Woodak, ; [add others here]. Historical Roots of “ Discourse-in-use”? We trace the historical roots of discourse-in-use to two related intellectual traditions. [i] The first derives from the literary and linguistic theorizing of Bakhtin (1935, 1953) and Volosinov (1929/1973) and the use of their theories in analysis of educational processes (e. g., ). The second derives from the ethnography of communication (cf., Bauman, 1986; Gumperz, 1982a; Gumperz & Hymes, 1972; Heath, 1983; Hymes, 1974) and related intellectual traditions such as interactional sociolinguistics (cf., Gee, 1996; Hanks, 2000; Ochs, Schegloff, & Thompson, 1996) and ethnomethodology (cf., Sacks, Schegloff & Jefferson, 1974) and the evolution of these lines of intellectual inquiry in constituting an educational linguistics (cf., Bloome et al, in press; Cazden, 1988, 1992; Cazden, Jon, & Hymes, 1972; Green, 1983; Green & Wallat, 1981; Foster, 1995; Heap 1985, 1988; Macbeth, 2003; Mehan, 1979; 1980). These two intellectual traditions focus attention on the inseparability of language from the contexts of its use. Roots in Literary Theory. For Bakhtin (1935/1981) and Volosinov (1929/1973), context is historical. Every word invokes a history of its use, both what has gone before and what is to come later. Bakhtin (1935/1981) writes: The living utterance, having taken meaning and shape at a particular historical moment in a socially specific environment, cannot fail to brush up against thousands of living dialogic threads, woven by socio-ideological consciousness around the given object of an utterance; it cannot fail to become an active participant in social dialogue. After all, the utterance arises out of this dialogue as a continuation of it and as a rejoinder to it — it does not approach the object from the sidelines. (pp. 276-277) But words do not only reflect a history and a “ socially specific environment, ” they also refract that history. That is, words are located in a tension between centripetal forces that seek to maintain an ideological status quo and centrifugal forces that seek to provoke change. Part of the historical context also involves the acknowledgement of multiple voices, heteroglossia, the dialogue Bakhtin refers to above. These different voices and their histories and ideologies play against each other. Voices can be submerged and subsumed; they can harmonize; they can stand out from each other and create discord; they can create dialogue. Voices do not exist in isolation, they only stand in relationship to other voices, even if only implicitly so. For example consider an authoritative or hegemonic discourse that makes claims to autonomous truths. Such a discourse is one that has dismissed other voices, and imposes itself on another person (or people), subsuming the person as well as other voices. An authoritative discourse, however, should be understood not as an autonomous process but as a relationship among voices, among people, within and among social institutions. It is similarly so with a dialogue. A dialogue is also a relationship among voices, people, and social institutions, a relationship that acknowledges the existence of other voices. Bakhtin defines a dialogue as a discourse that allows for, encourages, and acknowledges the appropriation and adaptation of other voices. Whereas the power of authoritative discourse lies in its imposition from without, the power of dialogue lies in its mutability to become an internally persuasive discourse. Alternatively, given that any use of language always involves responses to other uses of language and other voices, an argument can be made that all discourses are inherently dialogic. At question is the nature of that dialogue, the nature of the social relationships among people, among voices, and among social institutions, and the degree to which the inherent dialogic nature of a discourse is obfuscated or acknowledged. Also implicit in any use of language are assumptions about how people make their way through space and time. Referring to novels, Bakhtin used the term “ chronotope” to distinguish different implicit assumptions about how people (characters in novels) made their way through space and time. For example, a protagonist in a novel may encounter a series of adventures but the order of these adventures is of no significance and there is no assumption of change in the protagonist over time, space, or adventures. An alternative chronotope might assume that the sequence of adventures is important and contingent and that both the protagonist and the world change over time. Bakhtin characterized different literary periods as having different underlying chronotopes. Chronotopes are not only implicit in literary works, they also exist in the narratives that people use to guide their own lives and evaluate the lives of others including the narratives that guide educational processes, curricular models, educational evaluation, and educational research (cf., Bloome & Carter, 2001, Bloome & Katz, 1997; in press). Although chronotopes are rarely made explicit, they are not deterministic. Rather, through their interactions people instantiate and challenge an extant chronotope, reconstructing what has been implicitly “ given. “. Although not explicitly noted by Bakhtin, inherent in his and Volosinov’s discussion of language is the construct of intertextuality, first named by Kristeva (1986). In brief, any word, utterance, or text, has relationships with other words, utterances, and texts, and the meaningfulness and significance of a word, utterance, or text derives in part from those intertextual relationships. However, the intertextual relationships are not simply given in the text itself (although there may be various linguistic signs suggesting an intertextual relationship, for example citations), but rather intertextual relationships are constructed by people in interaction with each other (Bloome & Egan-Robertson, 1993). Intertextual relationships need to be proposed, recognized, acknowledged, and have social significance (Bloome & Egan-Robertson, 1993). Roots in The Ethnography of Communication and Related Intellectual Traditions. The inseparability of language from its contexts of use is also found in the ethnography of communication and related intellectual traditions. Focusing on how culture influences how people use language in their everyday lives, ethnographers of communication and others have examined variation in the language practices people use in their everyday lives. How people greet each other, argue, make romance, create coherence, tell stories, listen, construct and show engagement, joke, share information, form social groups, alienate and isolate others, establish social and cultural identities, among other social activities, are inseparably connected to their culture, to their shared ways of acting, thinking, believing, and feeling. One goal of the ethnography of communication and related intellectual traditions has been to describe the diverse language practices people employ across cultures. For example, how do people engage in storytelling in different ethnic cultures? Educational researchers building on the ethnography of communication have noticed that occasionally cross-cultural miscommunication occurs in classrooms because the language practices of the classroom may differ from that of the students’ home. For example, the ways of telling a story in a classroom may be different than those in the student’s home culture (cf., Scollon & Scollon, 1981; Michaels, 1986). Even when such differences are subtle, they can have negative consequences for the students unless the cross-cultural differences are recognized and accommodated (e. g., Au, 1980; Foster, 1992). Another goal has been to describe how people in interaction with each other, through their face-to-face interactions create recognizable social and cultural practices and what interactional obligations and opportunities do these social and cultural practices have for participants. For example, ethnomethodologists have focused attention on question and answer conversations and the “ rules” for engaging in such conversations both in and outside of classrooms. What are the rules for who has the floor to speak and who will get the next turn at talk? How do they know when the question asking event is over and they are moving on to another social practice? From the perspective of an educational linguistics, at issue in questions such as those above is both the structure and the meaningfulness and import of the social practices teachers and students create through their interactions. For example, researchers have identified a pattern of classroom interaction labeled initiation-response-evaluation/feedback (I-R-F). The teacher asks a question, a student responds, and the teacher evaluates the response providing feedback. In part, at issue in the identification of the I-R-F sequences in classrooms is investigation of the opportunities and obligations made available through I-R-F sequences. Researchers have focused attention on the complexity and import of I-R-F sequences for social relationships between teachers and students (e. g., ), for academic learning (e. g., Cazden, 2003; Nystrand, ; O’Connor & Michaels, ), for student evaluation and assessment (e. g., ), for socialization (e. g., ), for classroom management (e. g., ), for race relations in classrooms (e. g., Bloome & Golden, 19 ), and for cross-cultural communication (e. g., Cazden, 19 ; Gee, ). What social and cultural work an I-R-F sequence does cannot be assumed or predetermined but must be determined through examination of the particularities of its enactment and how people, teachers and students, respond to each other. A related goal associated with the ethnography of communication and related intellectual traditions has been to examine how people interactionally construct specific events building on each other’s interactional behavior as they adapt extant linguistic and social practices in order to create new meanings, new social relationships, and new social accomplishments. Implicit in this goal is the assumption that people do not merely enact given social practices and do not merely reproduce given systems of meanings. Rather, they are constantly exercising agency in adapting the language and social practices given within a social setting in order to address changing situations and circumstances and to create new circumstances and situations. That is, people act and react to each other (Erickson & Shultz, 1977). Educational researchers have examined how teachers and students challenge given institutional identities such as being labeled learning disabled (e. g., Clark, 1993), create learning opportunities (cf., Green, 1983; Rex, 1999), co-construct failure (e. g., McDermott, 1982; Bloome, Puro, & Theodorou, 1989), challenge and redesign academic curriculum (e. g., Bloome et al, in press), among other educational processes. Description Of The Interactional Processes Through Which People Concertedly Construct Events Capturing discourse-in-use requires description of the linguistic features people in interaction with each other use as they mutually construct an event. Capturing those features is not a technical matter as much as a theoretical one, and thus researchers may differ in how they define basic units of analysis, create transcripts, and define linguistic features (Du Bois, 1991; Edwards, 2001; Ochs, 1979). By linguistic features we are referring to the broad range of semiotic tools that people have available for communicating their intents and responding to each other. These include verbal, nonverbal, and prosodic behavior, use and manipulation of objects, and the coordination of their behavior with each other. Gumperz (19 ) has referred to these linguistic features as contextualization cues since it is through these cues that people signal both their intentions and what the social context is taken to be. Part of the obligation in for educational researchers interested in capturing discourse-in-use is describing how people use contextualization cues to construct educational events, how they communicate their intents and construct the social contexts within which they interact. For example, consider Table 1 which shows the contextualization cues that define and accompany the message units[ii] from a small segment of an instructional conversation. Table 1 Sample of a Description of Contextualization Cues to a Transcript | Line # | Speaker | Message Unit | Description of Contextualization Cues | | 01 | Teacher | Who can explain to the concept of | Stress on “ who” | | | | sounding white ↑ | rising intonation pattern peaking at end of message unit | | 02 | Maria | OK I have an example | Stress on OK | | | | | OK acts as a place holder | | | | | Flat intonation pattern after OK | | 03 | Maria | When I be at lunch and I say li+ke | Stress on “ When” | | | | | Stress on first “ I” | | | | | Stress on second “ I” | | | | | Elongated vowel in “ li+ke” | | 04 | Andre | When I be laughs | Different speaker | | | | |“ When” overlaps part of “ Li+ke” | | | | | Repetition of “ I be” intonation and style pattern | | | | | Speaker stops verbal message at end | | 05 | Teacher |*Wait a minute* | Greatly increased volume | | | | | Nonverbal hand questions | | | | | Highly stylized voice and intonation pattern | | | | | Stress on “ Wait” | | 06 | Teacher | I’m sorry | | Lower volume | | | | | Cessation of highly stylized voice and intonation pattern | | | | | Mock intonation pattern | | | | | Pause after sorry | The description of the use of contextualization cues requires description of their use in time and in relationship to what has gone before and what will come later. That is, the meaningfulness of a contextualization cue — a stress, a sigh, a shrug, an overlap, an intonation pattern, etc. — is not given in the contextualization cue itself, but only in relationship to what has gone before and the evolving working consensus among the interlocutors about what is happening at that time (cf., Green & Wallat, 1981; ). As teachers and student interact with each other, they mutually create events with boundaries. They signal these boundaries to each other. There are the boundaries between one message unit and another, between one interactional unti and another, between one activity and another, between one phase of a lesson and the next, between instructional time and non-instructional time, etc. For example, in Table 2 the Teacher begins an interactional unit initiated by a question in Line 01. A student responds and begins a narrative, all of which are signaled by contextualization cues so that her interlocutors (the other students and the teacher) know what interactional behavior is expected of them (that is, when a person is rendering a narrative the interlocuters are expected to listen without interruption unlike the previous interaction which involved student response to teacher questions). Although Andre attempts to characterize his comments as an aside (as indicated by the contextualization cues he uses), the Teacher redefines his aside as an interruption in the next message unit changing the interactional unti to a new conversation focusing on the content and appropriateness of Andre’s aside. The Teacher, Maria, and Andre use contextualization cues to signal and contest boundaries between different types of inteactional units (recitation, narrative, aside commentary, lecture). Boundaries are not given by one person, by a teacher or a student, although a person may propose a boundary. Rather, boundaries are mutually created as they must be mutually agreed upon. Thus, a teacher might signal a change from one phase of a lesson to another perhaps by making a statement. But if the students do not respond to that signal and validate it, then no transition will have occurred. The importance of boundaries is that they signal to interlocutors changes in the interactional rights and obligations they have toward each other and they signal potential changes in what is happening and the shared interpretive frameworks that might be employed at that time. For example, as a classroom lesson moves from a series of I-R-F sequences to a narrative, the rights and obligations for participation for the teacher and the students change and the interpretive framework for evaluating behavior and content changes as well. Thus, in Table 2, Andre’s behavior which might have been acceptable during the more free form question-answer discussion was not appropriate once Maria began her narrative. Description, therefore, is not a process of coding communicative behavior, but rather one of situating behavior within the flow of social interaction. The meaningfulness of any communicative behavior or of any stream or sequence of behavior is not found within itself but in its use and import within the flow of social interaction. People engaged in interaction with each other must constantly monitor what is happening in order to assign meaningfulness to communicative behavior. Similarly, whatever claims researchers might make about what is happening at any particular moment in an educational event need to be argued in terms of the use and import of communicative behavior within the context of the flow of social interaction. Yet, even such situated claims and arguments need to be tentative as the meaning and import of any specific moment within an ongoing event can be redefined later (Bloome, 19 ). A particular comment made by a student or a particular series of exchanges between a teacher and a student can be interpreted one way by interlocutors at the time of their occurrence, but later they can be referenced and the meaning of that behavior or series of exchanges renegotiated. For example, Maria’s use of the habital be form in line 03 in Table 2 (“ When I be at lunch … “) is first framed by Andre as either an inferior way of speaking or as ironic (since Maria is complaining of being accused of “ speaking white” when she is using a feature of African American Language) but later in the instructional conversation the Teacher makes clear that she uses the habitual be, that it is used by educated people, and that use of the use of the habitual be is not wrong or inappropriate. In brief, the Teacher recontextualizes the linguistic behavior. In sum, any communicative behavior can be recontextualized. Meaning is never determinate. Nor is the meaningfulness of any communicative behavior monolithic. First, although interlocutors may have established a working consensus for interpreting each other’s behavior within a particular event, they may have only done so at a surface level. Each person may be bringing to the event interpretive frameworks from their own histories or cultural backgrounds that are not shared. And although the communicative behaviors each produces is sufficient to create an ongoing and coherent event, beyond the production of the event itself, the interpretation of what occurred during that event varies widely. Thus, researchers, like the people engaged in the event themselves, must distinguish between the production of the event itself (what Bloome, Puro, & Theodorou, 1987, call procedural display) and the meaningfulness of that event on multiple levels. For example, one of the institutional obligations of schools is to produce events that look like “ schooling. ” The conversation in Table 2 looks like “ schooling. ” The teacher is asking questions, standing mostly at the front of the class, the students are sitting at their desks, raising their hands for a turn at talk, and discussing a poem introduced by the teacher earlier in the lesson. In part, the meaningfulness of an event is in its location within a series of events. Sometimes interlocutors signal the series of events in which they are embedding an event in they are participating. But sometimes the broader series of events is assumed and interlocutors only need to signal the broader series of events if they detect confusion or disagreement. But it is also the case that the series of events which contextualizes any particular event can be disputed and contested. As a result, the meaningfulness of an event or of a communicative behavior within an event can vary even among those in interaction with each other. For example, in the event shown in Table 2 involves an interruption to Maria’s story by Andre and opens a question about the legitimacy of the habital-be form (and more generally, the legitimacy of African American Language). Maria is locating the topic (“ speaking white, ” using the habitual-be, African American Language) within her own experiences (when she is at lunch). Andre relocates it within the context of a peer group classroom conversation. The Teacher relocates the interruption and the topic within the broader topic of understanding language variation and then later in the lesson she uses their discussion of the habitual-be to raise questions about the poem they had read and at the end of the lesson she uses the interruption to raise questions about the ethics of interpretation. She tells the students at the end of the lesson: a lot of you are making excellent comments but they are devoid of you as a person. It’s very easy to make generalizations about people or about other people when you’re able to take yourself out of it, But when you put yourself back into your statements, put yourself in relationship to your comments you’re making, and then see if the comment still works In brief, the Teacher’s comments at the end of the lesson propose a reinterpretation of the instructional conversation that has occurred on that day and previously in their classroom. She is proposing a reinterpretation about what counts as valid knowledge. Whether the Teacher’s proposed reinterpretation is interactionally validated cannot be known at that time as the lesson ends and the students leave. The task for the researcher is to examine subsequent events, such as instructional conversations the next day in the language arts classroom for public validation, whether explicit or implicit, of the teacher’s proposal about what counts as valid knowledge. More generally stated, the task for a researcher interested in the meaningfulness and import of any educational event is to build a data-based argument in ways similar to that which interlocutors would use to assign meaningfulness yet knowing that meaning is indeterminate, multiple, and not necessarily fully shared among the interlocutors. Material Nature and Organization of Discourse Practices Discourse-in-use is material and requires geography. The words, prosody, nonverbal behaviors, and manipulation of objects are all material, they have substance. So, too, the bodies of those engaged in interaction. Consequently, discourse-in-use is subject to all of those processes associated with material production, distribution, and consumption. Consider the instructional conversations that occur in classrooms. Students and teacher enter into a physical space (a classroom) that has been pre-established with a particular size, lighting, and given furniture Some elementary classrooms include alcoves just big enough for a table of six to seven students and a teacher. Even the people and the types of people have been predetermined. The number of people in the classroom is a material condition influencing how people can engage in discourse. Implicit in this classroom geography are ideological assumptions about the kinds of social and cultural practices, the discourse practices, that will occur there and the space has been manufactured to encourage those social and cultural practices. Similarly so, time has been pre-established. It is not just that there is an official beginning and ending time, rather for most teachers the school day is previously segmented, and pre-determined distinctions are instructional time and play time (e. g., recess, lunch). Calendar time is also pre-determined. Evaluation schemes also define time: by a certain point in the year, the students are expected to have gone through particular curriculum units and to have demonstrated competence in predetermined skills. The social and cultural practices in which teachers and students are to engage are also given materially. Through the provision of textbooks, teacher guides, instructional materials (e. g., paper, pencils, software), the location of blackboards, etc., particular social practices for interaction between teachers and students are encouraged. Further, teachers, students, and others (e. g., administrators, parents) hold expectations for what social and cultural practices will occur in the classroom space as they define education through the instantiation of those social and cultural practices. If those expectations are not fulfilled, they will react and their reactions are part of the material conditions of classroom discourse. In brief, teachers and students step into a given chronotope and a set of given social and cultural practices defined as education that are materially manifest. They step into a given discourse. Their history and the historical context of their discourse-in-use does not begin with their first day of school, but rather with deeper roots and materially so. One of the obligations of educational researchers interested in discourse-in-use in classroom settings is to describe, interpret, and explain the production of the material conditions of classroom discourse. Yet, despite the given material conditions, teachers and students are not dependent variables. Although the material conditions may constrain what they can do and how they might interact with each other (or more positively stated, provide encouragement and affordances to engage in particular social and cultural practices), people also act upon those material conditions, adapt given social and cultural practices, and create events that in small measure or large eschew the social and cultural practices given. As a history of such events is made, that history may become part of the material conditions of classroom discourse. It is not just that the given space might be re-arranged or expanded (e. g., use of the hallway), and divisions of time redefined, but that the social and cultural practices that the teachers, students, and others held for defining education might evolve and that the expectations embodied in their reactions to each other have changed. Consider the classroom conversation in Table2. The lesson began with a reading of a poem and discussion of what happened in the poem. However, rather than focus attention on the poem itself, the teacher and the students use the poem as a prop to explore their own lives; in this case, their lives as racialized people who speak varieties of English labeled “ white, ” and / or “ Black”. They have adapted the traditional poetry lesson which focuses on the meaning of the poem without losing the appearance of engaging in a traditional classroom poetry lesson (e. g., presenting a poem, a teacher-led discussion, related homework assignments, hand-raising, etc.). Thus, one obligation of the educational researcher interested in describing, interpreting, and explaining discourse-in-use in educational settings is to capture the adaptation and evolution of the material conditions of classroom discourse over time. The cross-sectional study of discourse-in-use is a non-sequitor. At issue, however, is not just an agenda with regard to documenting the material conditions of discourse-in-use. Since discourse itself is material, existing both in the resources at hand and in the contextualization cues of people in interaction use, a record can be made of the material enactment of discourse-in-use. That record needs to show how people acted and reacted to each other. It is through the careful description of the material enactment of the event, of the discourse-in-use in that event as it constitutes the event, that educational researchers are warranted in making claims about what is happening in that event. The key for educational researchers interested in constructing interpretations of an event that lie close to the interpretations of the people in that event is to call upon the same or similar frames of reference as the people there. Since the people in that event need to make clear to each other their expectations for the interpretive frameworks to be used in assigning meaning to the event and since they signal those intentions materially, those material cues are also visible to researchers of that event. Claims, therefore, to the interpretation of discourse events are warranted by description of the material construction of that event as it reveals how people in that event, both individually and collectively, built an interpretation of what was occurring. Animation of Discourse and Agency The animation of discourse refers to conceptions of discourse that treat it as if it were itself a person or agent. Such animation occurs when discourse is viewed as capturing a person or as positioning a person. For example, the discourse of schooling forces people into the category of “ teacher” or “ student. ” Given the ubiquitous nature of these categories in the discourse used across schools in Western countries, it would be impossible to assign such use to an individual or to a group. Indeed, what is prime in such uses of discourse is that they appear ubiquitous, without a specific agent, and “ natural. ” Natural refers to being taken-for-granted, an obvious truth, common sense, and uncontested. Of course, such categories and such a discourse may not at all be uncontested, alternatives may exist or could be imagined. Part of what is powerful about the naturalization of a discourse is that refusal to adopt the discourse, and how it captures people, can be taken by others as a sign of lack of common sense, a denial of truth, and in some cases, as pathology or mental illness. From the point-of-view of discourse-in-use, the question to ask about animated discourses is not their origin, but who is using that animated discourse to do what, to whom, when, where, and with what consequences. Returning to the discourse of schooling, in a particular school district, school, or classroom, people may use the discourse of schooling and its categories of teacher and student to create a knowledge hierarchy and a set of social relationships among people. Once established, school officials can locate knowledge and the prestige and power that accompanies it in the school and they can define the communities served by the school as ignorant and deficit. Even if there is opposition to the way that the animated discourse is used, by invoking it, people can establish the terms of debate, values, and what is assumed to be common sense and rational. For example, in the classroom lesson described earlier, one of the students invokes the discourse of proper and improper language, a discourse also invoked by the formal curriculum of prescriptive grammar. The student invokes that discourse as if it just exists, as if it is “ natural” and to be taken for granted that there is a proper and improper way of using language. The discourse of proopoer and improper captures people, as if the discourse iteself were an agent. In the lesson, the teacher responds to the students invoking of such a discourse by problematizing the terms proper and improper. She questions, “ OK, What is proper and what is slang? Help me out*” And similarly in Table 2, she problematizes the notion that the habitual be Animated discourses are subject to the same processes of adaptation that were discussed earlier. As people act and react to each other, they not only respond to animated discourses they adapt and refract them. For example, reconsider the discourse of schooling and its categories of teacher and student and the implied hierarchy in those terms. In some classrooms, teachers will redefine the assignment of those terms stating that “ In this classroom, we are all teachers and all students. ” Other teachers might redefine their role as a teacher from that of dispensing knowledge to that of facilitating knowledge acquisition processes. What is at issue here is not specific responses to the categories of teacher and student, but rather that people are not simply “ captured” by a discourse. While some may adopt an animated discourse, others may modify, adapt, or transform such a discourse through their interactions with others. Some may do so deliberately and label their actions so as part of a resistance to that discourse, its values, and how it structures social relationship, others may do so implicitly and while the adaptations may be substantial they would not necessarily label their actions as resistance. Regardless, animated discourses do not exist outside of the agency of people who use them. Discourse-in-Use and the Work of Dividing Practices[iii] Dividing practices create categories for organizing and controlling people and subjecting them to the goals of a social institution. Thus, social institutions such as schools, families, churches, courts, and health care, all use dividing practices to create legitimate / righteous and illegitimate / errant people that justify the existence of the social institution: the educated and the ignorant, relatives and strangers, believers and heretics, the law-abiding and the criminal, the sane and insane, etc. Such dividing practices can be codified — e. g., students attending school versus truant students — or part of a “ folk” categorical system — e. g., good students versus bad students. Dividing practices provide a rationale for the social institution to engage in activities that protect the legitimate from the illegitimate and to convert the errant to the righteous. The power of a discourse, in part, lies in its dividing practices and in making those dividing practices appear “ natural. ” Once the dividing practices are taken as common sense, as obvious, and as existing without alternative, there is no need to control people through physical coercion. Rather, people will act in accordance with the “ truth” of the social institution and its dividing practice. All that remains to be debated is how to enact that “ truth. ” With regard to discourse-in-use, educational researchers cannot limit their investigations to identifying and describing the dividing practices of educational discourses. Rather, attention needs to be focused on who is using those dividing practices, to do what, to whom, when and where. In brief, how is the “ truth” of that discourse and its dividing practices enacted. Such a view of classroom discourse redefines a number of educational processes. For example, rather than define academic learning and success as an achievement and failure as lack of achievement, both success and failure are viewed as social achievements (see ). The “ good” students exists (and obtains her/his privileges) only because the “ bad” student is juxtaposed. For example, the teacher asks the students whether there is a proper and improper way of speaking or whether people “ codeswitch” in different situations. By doing so, she challenges the dividing practices the students have assumed as natural. In addition to describing the enactment of dividing practices, attention needs to be paid to how people, through their interactions with each other, are adapting and transforming those dividing practices. Such adaptations might be acts of resistance, others might not be defined as such. For example, some teachers refuse to define their students as “ good” or “ bad. ” Some schools refuse to gives grades. They engage in such practices as overt acts of resistance to the normative discourse of schooling. Some teachers redesign the curriculum and the evaluation system so that every student in their classroom is successful, defining success not in terms of its opposition to failure but as a developmental process. Such actions may not be overt acts of resistance, nonetheless such acts adapt and transform the dividing practices of school discourse. Thus, part of the obligation for educational researchers interested in discourse-in-use is to describe the adaptations of dividing practices both in those classrooms that are explicitly resistant and in those that make no claim to resistance. Final Comments: Discourse-in-Use as a Situated Process The question to ask about discourse is not whether it is written or spoken, discourse or Discourse, animated or otherwise, verbal or non-verbal, ubiquitous or confined, adopted or adapted — discourse is always all of these. The question to ask is who is doing what, with whom to whom, to what consequence, when and where. The “ when and where” is critical as it situates discourse-in-use as an historical and interpersonal process. As Erickson and Shultz (1977) pointed out over two decades ago, people are the context for each other. The obligation and warrant for educational researchers interested in how people create education is to trace, moment-by-moment, action by action, response by response, and refraction by refraction, how people use the linguistic tools they have available and the material resources at hand to adopt and adapt extant discourse practices as they define their social relationships, social identities, knowledge, and the acquisition of knowledge. Such an obligation includes the intertextual and intercontextual nature of any event and the dialogic relationship of the event with other events. But, rather than create a description that merely serves as an illustration of extant social theory, the obligation is to create a description and interpretation whose explanation lies close to the meaningfulness of the event produced by the people involved. Such an explanation does not eschew social theory, but redefines social theory as a situated process that is both particular and historical. Illustration of Message Unit Boundaries Via Contextualization Cues | Line # | Speaker | Message Unit | Contextualization Cues Used to | Interpretation of Contextualization Cues in | | | | | Determine Message Unit Boundaries | Identifying Message Unit Boundaries | | 01 | Teacher | Who can explain to | Stress on “ who” | Stress on “ who” indicates beginning of the message | | | | the concept of | rising intonation pattern peeking | unit; rising intonation pattern signals question and | | | | sounding white↑ | at end of message unit | lack of speaker designation allows students to | | | | | Ms. Wilson gives up floor | compete for the next turn | | 02 | Maria | OK I have an example| Stress on OK | Stress on OK signals both a beginning to the message | | | | | OK acts as a place holder | unit and a claim on speaking rights; flat intonation | | | | | Flat intonation pattern after OK | pattern and lack of pause at end signal maintains of | | | | | no pause after end | turn-at-talk | | 03 | Maria | When I be at lunch | Stress on “ When” | Stress on “ when” signals shift to a new message unit;| | | | and I say li+ke | Stress on first “ I” | elongated vowel in “ li+ke” suggests that either more | | | | | Stress on second “ I” | is coming in this message unit or speaker is holding | | | | | Elongated vowel in “ li+ke” | the floor for the next turn-at-talk. Syntactic form | | | | | Use of syntactic form to indicate a| signals the beginning of a narrative and therefore | | | | | receurrent event | rights to consecutive turns at talk. | | 04 | Andre | When I be laughs | Different speaker | Message unit is part of a side conversation; timing | | | | |“ When” overlaps part of “ Li+ke” | of “ When” to overlap “ li+ke” in previous message unit| | | | | Repetition of “ I be” | suggests either “ li+ke” was interpreted as end of a | | | | | Speaker stops verbal message at end| message unit and that the floor was open or that | | | | | Stylistic intonation pattern | Maria has violated rules for maintaining the floor or| | | | | Quasi-whisper volume | Andre has violated rules for getting the floor; | | | | | | laughter is not a signal of maintaining the floor or | | | | | | of a continuing message unit | | 05 | Teacher |*Wait a minute* | Greatly increased volume | Interrupts both Andre and Maria, reasserts control of| | | | | Nonverbal hand questions | turn-taking and conversational floor; stylized | | | | | Highly stylized voice and | pattern indicates shifts to another topic or type of | | | | | intonation pattern | conversation and mutes the “ offense” of interrupting;| | | | | Stress on “ Wait” | stess on “ wait” brings students’ talk to a stop, | | | | | | takes the form of a command | | 06 | Teacher | I’m sorry | | Lower volume | Shift in tone, volume, and style signals shift to a | | | | | Cessation of highly stylized voice | different type of interactional unit. 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