Technology, ideology, and emergent communicative practices among the Navajo


Technology, ideology, and emergent communicative practices among the Navajo

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dc.contributor.advisor Sherzer, Joel
dc.contributor.advisor Strong, Pauline Turner, 1953-
dc.creator Peterson, Leighton Craig 2010-01-11T15:40:43Z 2010-01-11T15:40:43Z 2006-08 2010-01-11T15:40:43Z
dc.description.abstract This dissertation examines emerging cultural attitudes, language ideologies, and discursive practices among Navajos and Navajo speakers through the lens of new media technologies on the Navajo Nation. New media such as cell phones and the Internet are significant features of contemporary Navajo communities, and act as both a context for and medium of linguistic and cultural vitality and transformation. They have opened new spaces for Navajo language use, generated emergent uses of the Navajo language, and increased the spaces of language contact and change. This dissertation explores the ways in which ideologies of language and technology have shifted and converged, and describes multiple instances of the transformative nature of technology through the mediation of communities. New technologies do not exist in a vacuum, and novel practices emerge from a wide range of existing observable styles, registers, and norms in Navajo communities. Significant are the shifting geographies of communication, expansion of social networks, and increased circulation of bilingual Navajo hane’, or publicly shared “tellings” in the form of stories, jokes, and information that accompany them. This work analyzes the appearance of new media technologies in contemporary Navajo society within broader discourses of modernity and narratives of progress about, and among, Navajo communities. New technology is not incommensurate with existing practice; rather, emergent practices are part of the broader circulation of Navajo identities, defined here as a process linked to social activities, and emergent practices index the ways in which some Navajos are “doing” community in unexpected ways and unexpected places. New expressive forms and genres have appeared, including a migration to English emails by previously monolingual, illiterate elders, the transition of traditionally oral genres to widely circulated emails, and the appearance of locally created bilingual hip-hop music. These are crucial developments that have immediate implications for Navajo language vitality and cultural continuity.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.language.iso eng
dc.rights Copyright © is held by the author. Presentation of this material on the Libraries' web site by University Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin was made possible under a limited license grant from the author who has retained all copyrights in the works.
dc.subject Navajo Indians
dc.subject Navajo language
dc.subject Navajo speakers
dc.subject Navajo Nation
dc.subject Communication
dc.subject New technology
dc.subject Cultural attitudes
dc.subject Culture
dc.subject Language ideologies
dc.subject Ideology
dc.subject Identity
dc.subject Cell phones
dc.subject Internet
dc.subject Email
dc.subject Social life and customs
dc.subject Technological innovations
dc.title Technology, ideology, and emergent communicative practices among the Navajo
dc.description.department Anthropology
dc.type.genre Thesis
dc.type.material text Anthropology Anthropology The University of Texas at Austin Doctoral Doctor of Philosophy

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