Sociology Index


Indexicality as used in ethnomethodology refers to the contextual nature of behavior and talk. Talk is indexical in the sense that it has no meaning without a context or can take on various meanings dependent on the context. There is no way to avoid indexicality, nor a way to remove it, since talk about context itself is also indexical. Reflexivity and indexicality are properties of behavior, settings and talk which make social construction of reality necessary. Both of these properties question the objectivity of accounts, descriptions, and explanations. Constructing a sense of reality is an ongoing accomplishment of social members. Indigenous terms of affliction used in magical diagnostics of misfortunes, as well as pantomimic gestures in hand healing are regarded as iconic and indexical signs.

The modern concept originates in the semiotic theory in which indexicality is one of the three fundamental sign modalities by which a sign relates to its referent, the others being iconicity and symbolism. Peirce, C.S., "Division of Signs" in Collected Papers, 1932 [1897].

Mobility, Indexicality, and the Enregisterment of "Pittsburghese" - Barbara Johnstone, Jennifer Andrus, Andrew E. Danielson. This article explores the sociolinguistic history of a U.S. city. On the basis of historical research, ethnography, discourse analysis, and sociolinguistic interviews, the authors describe how a set of linguistic features that were once not noticed at all, then used and heard primarily as markers of socioeconomic class, have come to be linked increasingly to place and "enregistered" as a dialect called "Pittsburghese." To explain how this has come about, the authors draw on the semiotic concept of "orders of indexicality." They suggest that social mobility and geographical mobility during the latter half of the twentieth century has played a crucial role in the process.

"Are you losing your culture?": poetics, indexicality and Asian American identity - Angela Reyes.
Analyzing an interaction between a panel of Asian American teens and an audience of teachers, advisors and administrators, the author traces how the term 'culture' emerges as two constructs: 'culture as historical transmission' and 'culture as emblem of ethnic differentiation'. This is accomplished, in part, through emergent poetic and indexical patterning which shape categories and trajectories of personae to which speech event participants are recruited. These schemas, which are brought into circulation, reveal how metalevel constructs, such as 'identity politics' and 'multiculturalism', are played out rather vividly in microlevel interaction.

Transforming Signs. Iconicity and Indexicality in Russian Healing and Magic, Lindquist G
Abstract: In this article, the ethnographic research of magic and healing in contemporary Russia is analyzed using the basic concepts of Peircian semiotics. Their mode of signification is pragmatic presentation rather than textual representation, which underlies their capacity to effect transformations in consciousness. It is shown, however, that it is cultural conventions of their symbolic meanings that form these signs as icons and indexes.

Language Ideology and the Transmission of Phonological Change Changing Indexicality in Two Situations of Language Contact Alicia Beckford Wassink, Univ. Washington, Judy Dyer, Univ. Michigan - The authors consider the changing indexicality of phonological variants in two different contact situations - Corby, United Kingdom, and Kingston, Jamaica. While quite different sites of contact, they suggest that similar sociolinguistic phenomena may be observed in both places.