Accepted Paper:

The interview as communicative practice between and beyond languages: Metapragmatic awareness and indexicality in the Central Andes  


Antonia Schneider (LMU Munich and others)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will present the interview as a particular kind of speech act by discussing culturally shaped ways of asking for information, including metapragmatic awareness, linguistic ideology and and indexical meaning in setting and utterances.

Paper long abstract:

Departing from examples of interview situations during linguistic and anthropological fieldwork in Huancavelica/ Peru (2004) the role of context in interviewing will be approached from three perspectives.

First, as interviews - including those of the ethnographer - are in many contexts "Western" kinds of eliciting information it will be asked in what ways the idea of interviewing as a scientific method contrasts to Andean concepts of getting information based on reciprocal dialogical processes and culturally specific ways of speaking, arguing and organizing conversations. It will be then discussed how such specific Andean ways of asking may be adequately used for the ethnographic interview.

The second perspective is related to the metapragmatic/-linguistic awareness of the informants as "translators" between languages and cultures. In a multilingual and multicultural setting as in the surroundings of an Andean rural city , an interview situation even may contain translations of bilingual informants, narratives or even speech about language. Utterances about their cultural practices or those of others are based on particular -sometimes very individual, ideological or even ambivalent - perspectives.

Finally, not only the surrounding setting, but also the contents of an interview are full of indexical and situated meanings beyond any literal value of words and statistics. Exactly such forms of reading "between the lines" departing from individual interview situations will open new ways of interpreting linguistic and anthropological data

Panel P03
Interviews as situated practices: places, contexts, and experiences