Rethinking the Ethnography of Communication's Conception of Value in the Context of Globalization Journal Article uri icon



  • Abstract; As a key approach to the study of language and social interaction within the field of communication, the ethnography of communication (EC) posits that speech communities value communication resources for their functions in the process of competent use. We argue that this conception of value creates theoretical blind spots for other types of value that derive from other processes besides competent use, such as the exchange and acquisition of communication resources. Drawing on recent anthropological scholarship and our own cross-cultural comparative case study of United States and Chinese students' accounts of learning Anglo-American public speaking, we claim that, from an ethnographic perspective, a communication resource has value insofar as speakers interpret it as an object of desire due to its function as a means to other valued entities or focal values in the context of relevant social processes.

publication date

  • June 3, 2020

Full Author List

  • Boromisza-Habashi D; Fang Y

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