Theory Groups and the Study of Language in North America

A social history

Stephen O. Murray | El Instituto Obregón, San Francisco
ISBN 9789027245564 (Eur) | EUR 150.00
ISBN 9781556193644 (USA) | USD 225.00
ISBN 9789027284969 | EUR 150.00 | USD 225.00
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Based on extensive archival research, interviews, and participant observation over the course of two decades, Theory Groups in the Study of Language in North America provides a detailed social history of traditions and “revolutionary” challenges to traditions within North American linguistics, especially within 20th-century anthropological linguistics. After showing substantial differences between Bloomfield's and neo-Bloomfieldian theorizing, Murray shows that early transformational-generative work on syntax grew out of neo-Bloomfieldian structuralism, and was promoted by neo-Bloomfieldian gatekeepers, in particular longtime Language editor Bernard Bloch. The central case studies of the book contrast the (increasingly) “revolutionary rhetoric” of transformational-generative grammarians with rhetorics of continuity emitted by two linguistic anthropology groupings that began simultaneously with TGG in the late-1950s, the ethnography of communication and ethnoscience.

The history of linguistics in North America provides a continuum from isolated scholars to successful groups dominating entire disciplines. Although focused on groupings — both “invisible colleges” and readily visible institutions — Murray discusses those writing about language in society who were not participants in “theory groups” or “schools” both before and after the three central case studies. He provides a theory of social bases for claiming to be making “scientific revolution” in contrast to building on sound “traditions”, and suggests non-cognitive reasons for success in the often rhetorically violent contention of perspectives about language in North America during the last century and a half.

The book includes appendices explaining the methodology used, an extensive bibliography, and an index.

Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Cited by

Cited by 38 other publications

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1999. More on gatekeepers and Noam Chomsky's writings of the 1950s. Historiographia Linguistica 26:3  pp. 343 ff. DOI logo
Nevin, Bruce E.
2009. More Concerning the Roots of Transformational Generative Grammar. Historiographia Linguistica 36:2-3  pp. 459 ff. DOI logo
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This list is based on CrossRef data as of 7 may 2023. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Main BIC Subject

CF: Linguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  93034835 | Marc record