Anthropology and awareness of cultural patterning:
from the Boasian to Bourdieu
to Garfinkel's challenge:
"A fourth facet of the conjectured orderliness concerns the status of an orderliness of lecturing as an ignored orderliness ... Moreover the ignore-ance
is a done ignore-ance. It consists of a positive phenomenon." (Garfinkel 2002: 222)
This must related to my observations while listening to a family conversation (1992) about the complex "dance" all participants were involved in as matters moved from backstage to frontstage and back again. In this vocabulary I could have said that what was being ignored shifted regularly, and often after calls for the reordering that suggest the availability of that-which-is-being-ignored for all. Achieved ignore-ance is not a state of mind, nor is it a state of the body: it is a position of the body.
This is an essential corrective to all assumptions about what happens within a particularly organized event that is not brought out to explicit mention during the event itself. This lack, in all poweful theories of cultural artificiality, has been interpreted as a lack of consciousness, if not of understanding. Garfinkel proposes here, against Bourdieu most recently, that to ignore a property of a cultural arbitrary is work by all concerned--but only during the event. The artificiality is available to comment equally to participants and researchers, but only during other events during which the pattern of what is to be mentioned vs. what is to be ignored has shifted.
from the strict definition proposed by Jakobson (1956, 1960) and language focusing on the code ("How does one say 'I' in Thai?")
to the slight shift actually embedded in the examples Jakobson gives ("Do you know what I mean?") which includes all requests for further instructions about indexical expressions leading to the proposing of other glosses for what had just been said (including much longer glosses)
to a concern with all explanatory speech whether restrospective ("this is what I meant") or prospective ("this is why I say that we should do this")
language about the world of artifacts made or to be made through speech acts
in kind of speech usually given an examples of speech acts:
"this is why I must ask Congress to say 'We declare war'"
"this is the source of the authority in the phrase 'by the authority vested in me by the State of XXX, I pronounce you man & wife,"
but also in all the speech that has challenged the authority to declare these kinds of human beings, but not these other kinds, bound by the kind of 'marriage' produced by the act which constitutes the marriage as marriage.
and also in all the speech of the kind
"this is why you may say 'please'."
"this is why we are moving to a better suburb to our children into a good school."
that is any kind of speech that will produce new consequences for the polity constituted by the speech (audience, hearers, people specifically affected, other people who happen to be caught)
on the sequencing of metalanguage in the production of deliberated change ("education"), for example:
in familial settings
talking what to do with a child among the consequential adults (e.g. 'what to do with a crying infant')
talking to children about they just did
explanations of instructional tasks
in state settings
evaluating and critiquing policy
elaborating new policy
selling the new policy to the various constituencies
each sequence will have different forms for speaking the relevant act, thereby demonstrating different kinds of "awareness" of the conditions that mae the act sensible ("meaningful")