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Habitus, field and discourse: Interpreting as a socially situated activity

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Taking Toury’s model of norms as its starting point, this paper examines the macro–micro relationship evident within the context and culture of interpreting activity. The paper theorises this relationship drawing on Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus and field and Bernstein’s theory of pedagogic discourse. It proposes a model which directs the analysis of norms to the social dimension of language and cognition, as well as to the sociological and ideological determinants of what counts as a legitimate meaning in a particular context. The paper draws on the analysis of a particular context — the interpreted political asylum interview. However, it suggests the possibility of applying a similar theoretical model across a range of interpreting contexts.
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Keywords: discourse; field; habitus; ideological; interpreting; macro–micro relationship; sociological; theoretical model; translational norms

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Goldsmiths College, University of London

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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