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Record Type: Review   ID: 814

Discursive Acts

Perinbanayagam, R.S.

 By a sociologist, the approach of this book combines dramaturgy, symbolic interaction, discourse theory, and semiotics in an effort to explain the interaction between symbolic communication and behavior, including the actor's self-concept and the role played by emotion in conversational structure. In a sense, the author tries to come to grips with "where it's at." Everything begins at the point of meeting, which has repercussions in the lives of both (or all) parties involved. It would apply, of course, to exceptional human experiences as well. Even if an experience occurs when one is alone, the conversation still goes on. In trying to explicate this "conversation," Perinbanayagam helps us to better understand what is happening at any moment of our lives, including those moments we choose to consider "exceptional." In his own words, he attempts "to relate various recent theories of signs and selves to produce a description of the structure and processes of conversation in everyday life and their consequences. These conversations constitute the procedures by which selves are given shape and substance. Conversations lead to the emergence of selves, and selves in turn creation conversations" (p. xi), and one might add: Conversations create the social world. By emphasizing the dialogical quality of conversation, he personalizes discourse, unlike mass studies of sociolinguistics.
Publisher Information:New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1991. 211p. Bibl: 199-207; Chap. notes; Index: 209-211
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