Chapter

“What are you going to do with the village's knowledge?” Language Ideologies and Legal Power in Hopi Tribal Court

in Arguing with Tradition

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780226712932
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226712963 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226712963.003.0003
“What are you going to do with the village's knowledge?” Language Ideologies and Legal Power in Hopi Tribal Court

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Building on the emerging linguistic anthropological study of language ideologies, metadiscourses, and metapragmatics, this chapter explores the interactional practices by which legal actors participating in the Hopi Tribe's property disputes explicitly and implicitly constructs notions of Hopi tradition and Anglo-American law, as well as the epistemological demands that they claim each makes on how dispute information “must” be told in court. It then argues that such ideologies and metadiscourses are central to the efforts of these tribal legal actors to authorize and challenge their claims to the contested material and symbolic resources that are the heart of these dispute proceedings. The chapter pays particular attention to a segment of conflict talk that emerged in a 1997 Hopi Tribal Court hearing during the Hopi judge's examination of elders called as expert witnesses to testify on their village customs and traditions.

Keywords: Hopi Tribe; language ideologies; metadiscourses; metapragmatics; property disputes; Hopi tradition; Anglo-American law; Hopi Tribal Court; expert witnesses; village customs

Chapter.  10341 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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