Marjorie Harness Goodwin


Graduate Students

Undergraduate Honors Students

Francesca de la Fuente (Lemelson Scholar 2011-13)

"The Construction and Interaction of Personal and Community Identities on Tumblr."

The Construction and Interaction of Personal and Community Identities on Tumblr Francesca's project investigates the formation of communities on the Internet, focusing specifically on fan communities on the microblogging, social networking platform Tumblr. It examines how users in fan communities assess and monitor the stances and ideologies of other users, and how this creates alignment within the communities and between communities. In previous studies, researchers have observed a strong sense of community, as well as frequent social norm regulation, in online fan communities, but attempts to define online community have been inconclusive. The study hopes to answer questions about what kind of community specifically forms via computer-mediated communication, as well as look at how members of online fan communities use intersubjective tactics when engaged in meta-textual imaginative play. Furthermore, the study will look at how Tumblr's specific structure and different functions as they relate to Goffman's speech model, and how this also contributes to the formation of online communities.

Alexander Thompson (Lemelson Scholar 2011-13)

"A Communicative Ethnography of Shetland Scots."

Alexander's Honors Thesis (co-sponsored by Dr. Paul Kroskrity) uses the linguistic anthropological sub-disciplinary paradigm of "language ideologies" as its primary theoretical framework, will examine the code-selection of native and immigrant Shetlanders, when set against the backdrop of the on-going institutional language shift from Shetland Scots to Scottish Standard English (SSE). Consequently, it will rely primarily upon ethnographic data collection methods (e.g. participant observation, non-participant observation and participatory transect) to gather unsolicited, 'naturalistic' conversations both in and about the Shetland Scots dialect. Such conversations can include 1) conversations in the Shetland dialect, 2) conversations in SSE about the applicability or relative value of either code, 3) conversations in which either code is used with a "sideways glance" at the other, and 4) conversations in which code-switching occurs. In the lattermost case, attention will be paid to patterned thematic and contextual cues, which precede the code-switch.

Shaunna Lucas (Honors Thesis - 2012-13)

"Ostalgie: the Construction and Maintenance of East German Identity through Dialect and Media."

Shaunna's project is to discover if marginalization may be connected to the Eastern German dialectical accents, as Germans can generally assess when someone is from the East after talking with them for just a few minutes, and usually describe their speech style negatively. While West Germans have been trained from an early age to speak Standard German (Hochdeutsch) it was considered rude to speak Hochdeutsch in Eastern Germany (due to the socialist/communist ideologies of community and equality). Speaking Hochdeutsch sounds rude and "elitist" to East Germans and they avoid it within their communities. Therefore, children raised under the GDR (East Germany) have more trouble hiding their regional accent than Westerners and may suffer real economic consequences because of it. In short, Shaunna hypothesizes that there is a complex interplay between the use of Eastern dialects of German, the history of the GDR and the following Reunification of Germany, and the socio-economic marginalization of East Germans. She will make use of films and discourses with the films about “Easternness” after the Mauerfall as well as interview data in her work studying language ideology regarding the dialects of East Germany, specifically the ways in which East German identity was constructed during the GDR and how it has been variously deconstructed, reconstructed, or maintained since the fall of the wall. She will closely examine dialect usage, vocabulary and metaphors.

Frania Mendoza (McNair Scholar - 2011-13)

"Exploring Clinical Borderlands: Social Structures in Hospital Settings."

Past and present definitions of hospitals rely on the general theme that a hospital institution consists of scientifically based medical treatment. However, while principal methods for understanding of human disease are biomedical, the patient’s experience of illness is undefined. Little consideration is given to the social configuration of patient’s life in diagnosis. This research will observe two prominent programs within the children’s hospital setting – Child Life Specialists and Occupational Therapists – who are concerned with healing the human patient rather than the human machine. I will explore clinical borderlands in relation to present medical hierarchies within the medical profession in order to provide insight into how social based hospital support groups are essential in a patient’s healing as well as in educating families through the sphere of hospital life.

Danielle Gerson

"Sorority Socialization: Acquisition of Communicative Competence through Expert/Novice Relations."

Danielle's thesis looks at socialization in one university sorority. Sorority members are a group of women linked together not only because they have been initiated into the same group, but also because through language and discourse they become competent members of their own subculture. The study examines the way active and new sorority members from one particular sorority construct their speech during formal new member education sessions. During weekly meetings, new members are actively socialized as sorority women through formal instruction embedded with informal interaction. Collected data from video recordings, participant observation, and interviews demonstrate that the new member novice and active member expert roles are not always clearly defined. Rather, through analyzing specific conversation sequences and narratives, including framing and problem-solving techniques, it is argued that during new member education meetings the expert and novice roles of the active and new members are substantiated as well as mitigated and compromised in interaction. This research presents new data about female speech in a sorority context and provides insights into one sorority's socialization process.

Tamara Jackson (Honors Thesis)

"Were the Colonists Americans? Classroom Conversation and the Construction of National Identity among Immigrant Students During a United States History Lesson."

The thesis addresses the role of classroom conversations in the construction of national identity for students from Latino immigrant families. Traditionally, social scientists thought children acquired social knowledge and identity inactively through caregivers and agents of socialization. However, the recent recognition that children are co-participants in the construction of the their life-worlds calls for a more student-centered approach to examining how children create social identities. My field research emphasizes students' experience of national identity construction through discourse surrounding a history lesson on the early American colonists. I analyze audio-recordings, written reflections, and semi-structured interviews with the students and teacher of a particular fifth-grade classroom in Southeast Los Angeles in order to compare lesson goals with what the children actually displayed that they had learned. I observe that the teacher intended to utilize a lesson on the early colonists to encourage conversations that would construct a socially defined American national identity based -on the shared experience of immigration. However, students also interacted with the hidden curriculum that presented nationality as determined by official, ethnic, or racial criteria, leading to confusion over who is and is not "American." Tamara is currently a graduate student in Communications at University of California, San Diego.

Erin Jacobs (Honors Thesis)

"Power Through Talk: A Linguistic Investigation Into How Adults Use Power Over Youth to Influence Moral and Cultural Stance."

The thesis argues that adult camp counselors greatly influence and shape the thoughts and ideas of youth campers through their use of language in group discussions. My research follows the development of a four-day camp in Arizona into a supportive community shaped by adults and experienced by youth. As a participant observer at the camp, I observed various group discussions that were planned and executed by adult counselors. My fieldwork included active participation in selected activities as well as video recording of group discussions. I evaluate the use of multiple sign systems such as speech and embodiment and then examine their relation to the larger cultural context in which the discussion groups take place. My data suggest that adults in such groups have the power to shape the content of youth narratives to fit their own cultural ideas and norms.

Nastassia Isis Johnson (Honors Thesis - 2004)

"Constructing Social Difference in the Everyday Lives of Children."

Lisa Newon (Honors Thesis - 2006)

"Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice: A Linguistic Study of How Adolescent Girls Formulate Notions of Culture through Evaluative Commentary."

Abstract: Gender is an active component in the process of linguistic socialization, and some scholars argue that gendered language stems from male and female children being socialized in different and separate spheres. These researchers argue that girls speak in collaborative and supportive styles, while boys speak in aggressive and competitive styles. Looking at length at the speech used by a group of 11 high school cheerleaders at an all-girl school in suburban Los Angeles, I examine how girls use assertive language to construct an adolescent peer subculture. I investigate two contexts of organizing evaluative speech. In large groups, the girls frequently make evaluative assessments about other girls. In small groups, the girls participate in self-deprecating storytelling and empathetic alignment through turn-taking. By audio-recording and transcribing the girls' verbal interactions, I identify patterns of speech that suggest gender socialization is not only dependent on local context but is simultaneouslly affected by how the individual expresses agency in the local context. Through my analysis of postitive and negative assessments, contexts of laughter, and story structures, I conclude that the speech used by these girls contstructs a local social organization and culture, based on peer evaluation, storytelling, and alignment.

Sarah Press (Honors Thesis)

"Orders, Accounts, and the Culture of Control: Directives in Parent-Chile Relationships."

Using models of analysis from linguistics, socio-linguistics, and social psychology, this thesis analyzes video data from the everyday, ordinary interactions of two Los Angeles middle-class families at home. It posits two contrasting approaches to directive use and socialization: the "quick-fix" direct style, and the "learning-oriented" indirect style. These approaches are characterized by their use (or lack of use) of informational accounts, as well as the semantic form directive utterances themselves take. The effects on children, parents, and the development of a family culture of autonomy or control are discussed.

Kristine Anne Van Hamerveld

"An Account of Caretaking and Communication Between Mother and Daughter."

Kristine's thesis addresses the complicated relationship between everyday conversation and physical disability with an emphasis on the extensive linguistic role that can be played by a caretaker. My study explores the specific case of Laura (64), a woman who was partially paralyzed by a stroke, and Jenny (36), her daughter and primary caretaker. Although she is unable to walk, Laura's stroke did not affect her ability to communicate normally. This research illuminates the various asymmetries co-constucted by Jenny and Laura in their daily conversation despite Laura's demonstrated cognitive ability. I argue that as an extension of her role as a caretaker, Jenny assumes the additional roles of manager and mediator in Laura's interaction with the outside world. By videotaping everyday interactions between Laura and Jenny such as shopping trips, doctor's visits, and basic communication at home, I show the distinct patterns of interaction in their complex mother/daughter and caretaking relationship. My findings include evidence of mediation and translation-like behaviors taking place in interaction with a third party.