WP16 Creole Metaphors in Cultural Analysis: On the Limits and Possibilities of (Socio-)Linguistics

Harris & Rampton
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It is sometimes suggested that creole language study provides important concepts and metaphors for the analysis of cultural processes within globalisation and transnational flow. This paper argues, however, that although it may have served as a useful heuristic in certain cases, most of creole linguistics has been grounded in a set of assumptions and procedures that now look increasingly doubtful, both within linguistics and anthropology more generally. After some critical comments on politics and methodology within this subdisciplinary area, there is an overview of the challenge presented by a number of larger shifts in language study, and the paper concludes with a socio-linguistic analysis of situated interaction which, we argue, provides a much better framework for understanding the dynamics of syncretic practice than the study of creole grammar.