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What did they say in the Hall of the Dead? Language and identity in the Cerro Maravilla hearings

Negrón Rivera, Germán (2010) What did they say in the Hall of the Dead? Language and identity in the Cerro Maravilla hearings. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Identity has become a major interest for researchers in the areas of linguistic anthropology and sociolinguistics. Recent understandings of identity emphasize its malleability and fluidity. This conceptualization of identities as malleable comes from the realization that speakers relate strategically to propositions and their interlocutors in order to achieve their communicative goals. This study is an exploration of the (co-)construction of identities in an institutional context, specifically in the Cerro Maravilla hearings. I examine the interactions between the Senate's main investigator, Héctor Rivera Cruz, and five witnesses in order to explore how identities were created and how speakers managed the interactions. In chapter 2, I discuss the theoretical framework and the literature. The concepts of identity, linguistic ideologies, power, discourses, indexicalities, and stances are discussed. Chapter 3 is a literature review of studies concerned with language in the legal context, particularly in trials. In chapter 4, I provide a historical background to contextualize the Cerro Maravilla events and the Senate hearings. The next chapter is the methodology. In Chapter 6, I present the analyses of the interactions between Rivera Cruz and five witnesses. In chapter 7, I discuss the findings. Chapter 8 is the conclusion. The present study supports the notion that power is better understood as emergent in interactions, even when interactional resources are unequally available to speakers. However, it is not independent of discourses that assign value to ways of speaking and ways of interacting. I claim that speakers combine stances in creative and unexpected ways, constructing memorable identities. The overarching question that motivated this study was: Why did people talk about Rivera Cruz's performance and way of speaking? I argue that the answer lies in his creative stance taking through which he was able to provoke a clash of linguistic ideologies in an unexpected and unconventional way. I argue that Rivera Cruz's performance attests to the creativity and the immense possibilities that individuals have for creating identities, while this individuality is still connected with discourses that exist in the broad society.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Negrón Rivera, Germángen3@pitt.eduGEN3
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKiesling, Scott Fkiesling@pitt.eduKIESLING
Committee MemberJohnstone,
Committee MemberDuchesne Winter, Juanduchesne@pitt.eduDUCHESNE
Committee MemberBerk-Seligson,
Date: 23 June 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 16 April 2010
Approval Date: 23 June 2010
Submission Date: 23 April 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Hispanic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cerro Maravilla; discourse analysis; indexicalities; linguistic ideologies; stances; stancetaking
Other ID:, etd-04232010-102752
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:41
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:42


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