Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155985
Title: EMBODYING THE POSTHUMAN: EMBODIED SOCIOLINGUISTICS IN HUMAN-DOG INTERACTIONS
Authors: LOW JAY SEN
Issue Date: 15-Apr-2019
Citation: LOW JAY SEN (2019-04-15). EMBODYING THE POSTHUMAN: EMBODIED SOCIOLINGUISTICS IN HUMAN-DOG INTERACTIONS. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This paper proposes a shift in understanding human-animal communication through theoretical applications of embodied sociolinguistics (Bucholtz & Hall, 2016) in interaction. Conventional sociolinguistic expectations of human-animal interaction are typically embedded within anthropocentric notions of communication, where communicative frameworks solely recognise human agency in interaction. However, through an analysis of embodied interactions between humans and their dogs, it is argued that embodied human-dog interactions are not intermediary or limited versions of anthropocentric linguistic forms. Embodied interactions constructed between humans and animals can achieve productive communicative meaning by validating both entities’ active engagement in interactional commitment. This would both subvert anthropocentric notions of language as universal and distinctly reconcile human-animal interactional possibilities in a posthuman perspective. Embodied sociolinguistics defines embodied agency in interaction (Bucholtz & Hall, 2016, p. 184) as a concept that constitutes active entanglement of both human and animal interactional practices, rather than actions invoked by singular entities. This concept of embodied agency is identified within interactional practices of embodied motion and embodied experience. A mixed methodology of ethnographic observation, video recorded data and verbal interviews was utilised to collate evidence of embodied interactions shared between human participants and their dogs. The research found salient interactions of embodied motion and embodied experience that revealed how humans and animals negotiated interactional scenarios collectively. Embodied motions in interaction were identified through human and dog-enacted paralinguistic gestures used to mutually construct meaningful human-animal interactions. Embodied experiences of interaction were illustrated through humans’ discursive and physical mediation of dogs’ embodied experiences within domestic interactional experiences. More significantly, dogs were also noted to actively embody their participation in these domestic interactional experiences created by human mediations, reiterating the concomitant embodied agencies of humans and animals that constructed productive interactional possibilities. Therefore, both practices exemplify how an embodied sociolinguistics of interaction establishes productive communicative possibilities between human and animal. Their collective agencies in interactional practice through embodied motions and experiences contribute to nascent posthuman understandings of human-animal relations.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155985
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