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Discursive construction of neighborhood across Brooklyn: A corpus-ethnographic approach

Berberich, Kristin

German Title: Diskursive Konstruktion von Nachbarschaft in Brooklyn: ein korpus-ethnographischer Ansatz

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Abstract

This dissertation investigates the discursive construction of neighborhood using a corpus-ethnographic approach. It explores various degrees of inter-personal, inter-spatial, and cross-genre variation that create an intricate picture of neighborhood discourse and of semiotic practices used in (sub-) urban space. Different sub-corpora containing different text types that present a social actor-centric viewpoint on neighborhood were compiled and analyzed for this project. These consist of interviews with social actors conducted in the street or during ethnographic fieldwork in areas along Bedford Avenue in the borough of Brooklyn, New York; in-depth interviews with local stakeholders, texts from neighborhood organization websites, five years of press releases from Brooklyn Borough Hall, and online restaurant reviews. Taken together, these corpora provide a heterogeneous picture of discursive neighborhood construction. This study extends previous work on neighborhoods, as well as on language used in urban space, to highlight how crucial ethnographic fieldwork and participant observation are for contextualization and thick description of the findings, especially when coming from a quantitative angle. This level of analysis also highlights the need to look beyond definitions of neighborhood that focus on the social or spatial dimensions of the concept only, introducing a set of six dimensions that create the discursive field of the neighborhood. Ultimately, what these insights reveal is that an integrative view of the micro- and macro-levels of discourse is vital to the analysis of urban spaces.

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Busse, Prof. Dr. Beatrix
Place of Publication: Heidelberg
Date of thesis defense: 22 April 2021
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2021 13:58
Date: 2021
Faculties / Institutes: Service facilities > Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA)
Neuphilologische Fakultät > Dekanat Neuphilologische Fakultät
Subjects: 300 Social sciences
360 "Social services; association"
370 Education
390 Customs, etiquette, folklore
400 Linguistics
420 English
710 Civic and landscape art
900 Geography and history
970 General history of North America
Controlled Keywords: Sprache, Diskurs, Raum, Ort, Urbanität, Korpuslinguistik
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