WP4 Sociolinguistics and Cultural Studies: New Ethnicities, Liminality and Interaction

SKU WP4 Collection: Key words ,


With the emergence of ‘new ethnicities’ as its central empirical focus, this paper explores the relationship between sociolinguistic discourse analysis on the one hand, and research on youth in cultural studies, anthropology and sociology on the other. After a brief sketch of some major trends in the study of youth, the paper focuses on recent European work on inter-ethnic processes among young people in urban neighbourhoods, and it notes the way in which major themes in the theorisation of late modernity have been brought to bear on description of multiracial youth. From among these, it selects ‘liminality’, a notion that has been used to characterise youth cultural phenomena at a number of fairly macro levels of social organisation, and it then shifts attention to the details of interactional discourse, arguing that there are also conspicuous moments of liminality within the interaction order. Through the analysis of a short piece of recorded talk, it illustrates the way in which interaction can host the emergence of new ethnicities, and it concludes with some general observations about the contribution of sociolinguistic discourse analysis to studies of urban youth culture. (Sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, new ethnicities, urban youth culture, liminality).