Special Issue 81/2017 – Abstracts

Soziale Positionierung als Praxis und Praktik. Theoretische Konzepte und methodische Zugänge

Edited by Jürgen Spitzmüller, Mi-Cha Flubacher and Christian Bendl


The special issue 81/2017 of the WLG is available either as a complete issue (PDF) or as individual contributions (see below).

Soziale Positionierung: Praxis und Praktik. Einführung in das Themenheft

Jürgen Spitzmüller/Mi-Cha Flubacher/Christian Bendl

This paper introduces the approach this thematic issue deals with, positioning theory. We provide a survey of the development of this theory, which has its origin in post-structural notions of the subject, or the concept of discursive subject positions, for that matter. This was adapted by social psychology, then re-framed and methodically operationalized by conversation analysis and finally imported into sociolinguistics.

We will shed light on the different epistemological bases and aims of the diverse positioning approaches and particularly comment on the ‘micro/macro’ or ‘discourse/Discourse’ controversy that delimits specific strands of positioning theory. Drawing on metapragmatics and concepts of stancetaking in discourse, we will argue for an approach that attempts to connect the different contex tual scales rather than isolating them, an approach that conceives of positing as a local and a discursive practive (Praxis and Praktik). Finally, we will give an overview on the thematic issue and briefly correlate the ensuing papers with the issue’s general aims.

Schlagwörter: Positionierung, Metapragmatik, Stance, Diskurspsychologie, Konversationsanalyse


Subjektpositionen in der postkolonialen Gesellschaft. Die diskursive Konstruktion von Selbstbildern junger Migrantinnen und Migranten

Ilse Porstner

This paper discusses an interpretative-sociolinguistic approach to the investigation of positioning practices which also aims to contribute to linguistic discourse analysis by enhancing the actors’ perspective. Central to the approach is the analysis of oral contributions with regard to participants’ inherent and discursively negotiated subject positions. The paper delineates the basic theoretical concepts of this approach, particularly actor, subject and voice, as well as the indexicality, metapragmatics and positioning. These theoretical elaborations are elucidated by five case examples which resulted from a class project on the representation of colonialism in Austrian history textbooks. Through the ethnographic tool of focused group discussions, participants were granted the opportunity to take positions and position themselves – i.e., to have voice – towards current issues of their environment viewed from the standpoints of postcolonial critique.

Schlagwörter: discourse studies, sociolinguistics, metapragmatics, positioning, focused ethnography, postcolonialism


Negotiating the Yat Border(s)

Vukašin Stojiljković

Die Beteiligung von Linguist_innen an Registrierungsprozessen (Agha 2007) jat'-bezogener Unterschiede (phono-ideologischer Unterschiede zwischen einzelnen Varietäten des Serbokroatischen) lassen sich mindestens 200 Jahre zurückverfolgen. Gleichwohl hat der Zerfall Jugoslawiens zu vermehrten Untersuchungen über diese scheinbar kleinen Unterschiede geführt, ebenso zu heftigen Debatten unter Expert_innen und deutlichen Repositionierungen einiger ehemaliger jugoslawischer Linguist_innen.
Dieser Beitrag beschäftigt sich mit der Frage, wie sich serbische Linguist_innen der jüngeren Generation zu diesen widersprüchlichen Diskursen positionieren und untersucht dazu einen Auszug aus einem Interview mit einem besonders interessanten Akt der Positionierung. Mit Verweis auf ihr Spracherleben (Busch 2017) verhandelt die Interviewpartnerin die problematische Bedeutung einer aufgezwungenen jat'-bezogenen Kategorisierung und hebt einige standpunktgesättigte gesellschaftliche Diskurse hervor (Jaffe 2009a), die bei der Interpretation vieler sprachbezogener Phänomene in der
konfliktgeprägten Region Ex-Jugoslawiens anscheinend einen nach wie vor wichtigen Bezugsrahmen bilden. Die hier vorgestellte Analyse verortet sich in der Positionierungsforschung in Bachtin’scher Lesart.

Schlagwörter: Serbokroatisch, Ekavisch/Ijekavisch, ehemaliges Jugoslawien, sprachideologische Debatten, Positionierung, Stance, Spracherleben


Protest als Eintrittskarte in den Diskurs. Zur Positionierung im Rahmen eines ›Protest-Genres‹

Barbara Zimmermann/Stefan Resch

The Identitäre Bewegung Österreich (IBÖ, ‘Identitarian Movement of Austria’), an internationally connected extreme right group, has achieved considerable media attention in Austria in recent years through a multitude of public appearances. In this article, we investigate the function of ‘a genre of protest’ in identitarian public communication. After developing our theoretical approach, an analysis of three connected communicative acts, starting with an event of public staging of the IBÖ, will point out how positioning through a genre of protest plays a key role in creating discursive events and in establishing the IBÖ as a relevant actor of political discourse.

Schlagwörter: Diskursanalyse, Genres, Positionierung, Rechtsextremismus, Protest, Identitäre Bewegung


»Gottheit wäre mir sonst zu einfach«. Narrative Genres als Rahmen für Positionierungspraxen am Beispiel eines Computerspiel-Internetforums

Jan Luttenberger/Sarah Ritt

This paper aims to explore the appropriation of the computer game Sid Meier’s Civilization V by the users of the online forum Civilization Webring Forum from a sociolinguistic and discourse analytic perspective through analyses of the forum-specific genre Story, in the context of which gaming experience is shared. The analysis draws on the tradition of Cultural Studies as developed by Hall (1980) and Fiske (2011, 1990), the genre theory of Bauman and Briggs (1992) and Swales (1993) as well as on positioning/stance-taking approaches by Du Bois (2007) and Spitzmüller (2013b).

The paper starts off by exploring the frames offered by the game itself before it establishes categories to describe single instances of the genre in question. In a last step a single example is presented in order to demonstrate positioning in the context of this genre.

Thereby we aim to show that the genre of Story is a means of self-positioning and identity creation in the discourse community of the examined forum through which authors are enabled to establish themselves as distinct writers of game-based narratives, on the one hand. On the other hand, their audience also has the opportunity to position and align themselves to the authors and each other by affirmation, evaluation and critique of these narratives.

Schlagwörter: Angewandte Sprachwissenschaft, Diskursanalyse, Positionierung, Computer Mediated Discourse, Genre, Games, Spiele, Populärkultur, Cultural Studies