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Speaking Through the Silence: Narratives, Social Conventions, and Power in Java (review)

Speaking Through the Silence: Narratives, Social Conventions, and Power in Java (review) Laine Berman. 1998. Speaking through the silence: Narratives, social conventions, and power in Java. Oxford Studies in Anthropological Linguistics 19. New York: Oxford University Press. 276 pp. ISBN: 0-19-510888-4. $60.00. The title of Laine Berman's provocative and insightful study of Javanese discourse brings to mind several kinds of "speaking" and several kinds of "silence." First and most obviously, the title refers to the everyday conversations of working-class women recorded by Berman, which are permeated by telling silences under the constraints of powerful Javanese social conventions. Second, the "speaking" could refer to Berman's own scholarly representation of her ethnographic subjects, which gives them a "voice" that would normally be denied to them in the silenceinducing hegemonic structures of Javanese life, particularly given the oppressive nature of the Indonesian state in general. Third, Berman is "speaking through the silence" of Javanese studies both in Indonesia and the West, which she argues has elided all but the most elitist views of the ethnic group's ostensibly "re²ned" and "elegant" language and culture. I will use these three readings of the title to provide different avenues into appreciating the lively, personal descriptions and rich interactional data presented within the book's covers. Berman bases http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Oceanic Linguistics University of Hawai'I Press

Speaking Through the Silence: Narratives, Social Conventions, and Power in Java (review)

Oceanic Linguistics , Volume 40 (1) – Jan 6, 2001

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9421
Publisher site
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Abstract

Laine Berman. 1998. Speaking through the silence: Narratives, social conventions, and power in Java. Oxford Studies in Anthropological Linguistics 19. New York: Oxford University Press. 276 pp. ISBN: 0-19-510888-4. $60.00. The title of Laine Berman's provocative and insightful study of Javanese discourse brings to mind several kinds of "speaking" and several kinds of "silence." First and most obviously, the title refers to the everyday conversations of working-class women recorded by Berman, which are permeated by telling silences under the constraints of powerful Javanese social conventions. Second, the "speaking" could refer to Berman's own scholarly representation of her ethnographic subjects, which gives them a "voice" that would normally be denied to them in the silenceinducing hegemonic structures of Javanese life, particularly given the oppressive nature of the Indonesian state in general. Third, Berman is "speaking through the silence" of Javanese studies both in Indonesia and the West, which she argues has elided all but the most elitist views of the ethnic group's ostensibly "re²ned" and "elegant" language and culture. I will use these three readings of the title to provide different avenues into appreciating the lively, personal descriptions and rich interactional data presented within the book's covers. Berman bases

Journal

Oceanic LinguisticsUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jan 6, 2001

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