1932

Abstract

Verbatim—word for word—is assumed to be a text that faithfully captures and represents a discursive event that took place in time and space, which would otherwise be ephemeral and unrepeatable. In modern societies, verbatim stands in for durable indexicality and materializes the social epistemology of evidence, accountability, and authenticity. Today's ubiquitous presence of recording technologies amplifies the conviction that the production of verbatim as in the conversion, for example, from speech to writing is unmediated and transparently mechanical. Far from being unremarkable, however, the seemingly unmotivated commensurability between original and copy is an ideological function of social reproduction and institutional power. Building on both classic and contemporary linguistic anthropological and sociolinguistic studies of verbatim texts, this review suggests how ethnographically situated studies of verbatim in its production and process open up cogent historical and political analysis of social institutions and relations and of subject formation through the labor of inscription.

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2018-10-21
2024-06-14
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