Society for Linguistic Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
In this paper, I first address the notion of the monologue speaker who “expects no answer” (Mannheim & Tedlock, 1995). In contrast to Bakhtin’s concept of dialogicality, “the monologic imagination often takes the form of denial or dismissal, refusing to take up the other expression in a meaningful way” (Tomlinson, 2017). In their attempts to speak monologically, this becomes noticeably “apparent when people claim to represent a nation’s Geist, speak in the voice of ‘we, the people’, and speak in the voice of God” (Tomlinson, 2017). This has been dramatically demonstrated by Trump in his daily comments via tweets, press conferences, and campaign-style rallies. I argue this purposeful heterotopia of deviation (Foucault, 1967/1984) distracts us in ways that derail progressive movements.
I then discuss the sociolinguistic affordances and limitations of what has been called “public pedagogy” – the various educational and learning activities occurring in public domains such as social media – in engaging with the monologue speaker. However, this may inadvertently play into what Jodi Dean has termed “communicative capitalism”, which is a “democracy that talks without responding” (2009). To counter this communicative capitalism, I explore discursive responses in which we can choose to be what Martel (2017) called “the misinterpellated subject” in showing up for an interpellation (Althusser, 1971) clearly not meant for us – as in ‘Make America Great Again’. I argue that this agentive act of “purposive misunderstanding” through both discourse and action can develop effective counter-hegemonic responses to the monologue speaker expecting no answer.