Guide to the vibrant and


particular language constitute a linguistic



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using a particular language constitute a linguistic

habitus for each person, and cannot easily

be changed. Nonetheless, they are subject to maintenance

or change through interpersonal processes.

Social psychological research by Howard

Giles and others suggests that persons adapt their

use of fundamental components of dialect –

vocabulary, grammatical choices, and pronunciation

– so as to converge or diverge from their

interlocutors. Convergence in any or all of these

may occur when a speaker is conversing with a

person of higher social status, or from the same

geographical area, or simply a person who is

likable. Conversely, a speaker may accentuate dialectal

divergences when speaking with a social

inferior, or with a stranger, or with someone towards

whom they entertain feelings of hostility.

Accumulations of convergences and divergences

can result in a change in habitus at the individual

level, and language change at the societal: the

recent shift in the direction of so-called estuary

English as a dominant dialect of the English

spoken in the United Kingdom is a case in point.

Languages are not only methods of communication,

but systems of classification and conceptualization.

While the notion that language influences

thought is an old one, it is most associated today

with the anthropological linguists Edward Sapir

(1884–1939) and Benjamin Lee Whorf (1897–1941).

Their thesis, which was based on anthropological

studies of the conceptualization of space, time,

and matter among Hopi Indians, asserted that

language determines our perceptions of the world.

Different languages produce different conceptual

maps of reality. The original formulations of

the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis were dogged by circularity

and by a lack of evidence for the cognitive

side of the claim. Subsequent work during

the 1960s on subjects’ ability to discriminate

colors and shapes gave modest but questionable

support to their ideas. However, work by Stephen

Levinson and others in the 1990s that examined

the representation of space in language and

cognition appears to give solid support to claims

that, in the 1980s, were viewed as far-fetched and

tendentious.

The most important sociological contribution to

the study of language may yet turn out to come

from new trends in conversational analysis and

discourse analysis. These analytic streams insist

on the idea that speaking is a form of social action

and that it is subject to the normative constraints

that shape and drive action. Since it is within

interaction that language choices are made and

modified, family-resemblance-based classificatory

decisions are indexically attuned, linguistic and

conceptual habitus are adjusted, and social solidarity

is sustained or undermined, social action and

interaction are surely the engine room of language

maintenance and change. Moreover, this conceptualization

of language as action may contribute to

language language

323

releasing studies of language from their traditional



written language bias and open the way for a rapprochement

between linguistics and the social

sciences which is long overdue. JOHN HER ITAGE

language games

Developed by Ludwig Wittgenstein in his Philosophical

Investigations (1953) to focus attention on language

use and its social context, the concept was a

useful means with which to repudiate the exclusive

focus on the representational functions of

language which dominated his early philosophy.

In place of this focus, the language game concept

invited attention to the immense variety of uses to

which language is put: for example giving and

obeying orders; describing the appearance of an

object; reporting an event; telling a story or a joke;

asking questions; greeting someone; praying, and

so on. In his discussion of these uses of language,

Wittgenstein stressed both that language games

are interwoven with ordinary aspects of everyday

life, and that understanding the meaning of utterances

involves knowing the nature of the activity

in which the utterances play a role. He also observed

that language games are malleable: new

language games are invented and others become

obsolete. Part of this malleability arises because

the meanings of words, symbols, sentences, and

utterances are lodged, through use, in networks of

similarity and dissimilarity which lack an essence.

Although the notion of language game is not

much employed today, it has been a fecund influence

on contemporary linguistic semantics and

pragmatics, and has important implications for

computational models of language. Within sociology,

the concept had a potent influence on Harold

Garfinkel’s ethnomethodology and continues to influence

a wide range of sociological and cultural

analyses of language use. JOHN HER ITAGE

language rights

– see rights.

Laslett, Peter (1915–2001)

A historian and sociologist, who also worked in

political philosophy and on the history of social

and political thought, Laslett was elected in 1948

to a fellowship at Cambridge and began his pathbreaking

research on the social and political upheavals

of seventeenth-century England. He went

on to edit and provide a new critical commentary

on the work of Robert Filmer (1588–1653) and

John Locke (1632–1704).

As a result of his engagement with Locke’s

writings on the nature of power within the family,

he moved towards demographic historiography

and during the 1960s cofounded the Cambridge

Group for the History of Population and Social

Structure with E. A. Wrigley. His work questioned

assumptions concerning the nature of the family

and household in early modern western Europe. In

The World We Have Lost (1965), basing his evidence

on local historical documents, he argued against

the widely held view that three-generation stem

families predominated in preindustrial England,

and that the small nuclear family was a product

of industrialization. For Laslett, preindustrial families

were also predominantly nuclear, and were in

addition highly mobile; resident unmarried servants

were the only non-nuclear element within

them.

In the 1980s he became interested in the aging



process, which he discussed in A Fresh Map of Life

(1989). As well as his work on social and political

demographic history and political philosophy, he

was interested in opening up academic life to a

wider audience, and with Michael Young he

cofounded the Open University. STEVEN LOYAL

Latino/a studies

Despite their long presence in the United States,

and being the nation’s second largest minority

group in the 1960s, relatively little was known

about Latinos at that time. In many ways, Latinos

were strangers in the United States. However,

social movements of the civil rights era (1954–68)

called attention to the plight of Latinos in the

United States, particularly that of Chicanos and

Puerto Ricans, the largest Latino subgroups, both

of which were incorporated into the United States

through conquest. During the 1960s and early

1970s, these social movements would be instrumental

in the development of academic programs

and advocacy organizations within the Chicano

and Puerto Rican communities. The roots of Latino/

a studies can be traced to this period.

This entry provides an overview of the development

of Latino/a studies with particular attention

to the institutional arrangements, curriculum, research,

professional associations, and publication

outlets related to the study of Latinos. To understand

the development of Latino/a studies, we

turn to a historical discussion of its beginnings.

During the period surrounding the civil rights

era, Chicanos and Puerto Ricans protested against

discrimination and racism, and demanded equality

and dignity. Because Latinos lacked easy entrance

to higher education, affirmative action

language games Latino/a studies

324

programs helped them gain a modest degree of



access to colleges and universities. On their respective

campuses, Latino students found few

Latinos as students and, especially, as faculty. Further,

they often found academic climates devoid

of attention to the social and intellectual needs of

Latinos. In a number of campuses in the southwest

and northeast, Latino students pressed for

the recruitment of Latino students and faculty

and for the creation of Chicano studies and Puertoriquen

˜o/Boricua studies, respectively. The formation

of these programs represents the roots of

Latino/a studies.

Latino sociologists played an important role in

the establishment of institutions that focus on

issues central to the Latino/a population within

and outside academia. We highlight here two key

sociologists who trained Latino/a students and

developed organizations that advocated for the

Latino/a population. Julian Samora, who received

his PhD in 1953 from Washington University, is

recognized as the first Chicano to earn a doctoral

degree in sociology and anthropology, as noted

in The Julian Samora Virtual Collection maintained

by the Julian Samora Research Institute (2005).

Samora, who died in 1996, mentored approximately

fifty-five Chicano graduate students at

the University of Notre Dame before he retired in

1985. He also had a major impact in the development

of important Latino organizations outside

academia. For example, he was one of the three cofounders

of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR)

and was instrumental in the formation of the

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational

Fund (MALDEF).

While Samora is a pioneer in the Chicano community,

his colleague, Frank Bonilla, played an

equally important role in the training of Puerto

Ricans and in building advocacy groups to promote

the Puerto Rican cause. A detailed account

of Bonilla can be found in an article entitled

“From the ‘Bulge’ to the Halls of Academia: Frank

Bonilla’s Hunger for Education Opened His Eyes to

the World,” published in Narratives (2004). Bonilla

received his PhD in sociology from Harvard University

in 1959. He was instrumental in the formation

of the Puerto Rican Hispanic Leadership

Forum which would eventually become Aspira,

an organization focusing on the educational

needs of Puerto Rican youth. After stints as a researcher

in Latin America and a professor in the

United States, Bonilla took a faculty position

in 1973 at the City University of New York

(CUNY) where he became the Director of CUNY’s

Center for Puerto Rican studies. The scholarship

and activism of Samora and Bonilla embody

the mission of the Latino/a studies programs that

emerged in the late 1960s and 1970s and serve as a

legacy for many Latino scholars today.

The early Chicano studies and Puertoriquen˜o/

Boricua studies programs originating in the late

1960s and early 1970s had broad missions that

were student- and community-oriented. For example,

these programs emphasized the institutionalization

of courses and a curriculum for

students interested in Latino/a studies. Additionally,

the programs helped in the recruitment and

retention of Latino students through both their

outreach efforts and the provision of social, academic,

and cultural services, which emphasized

social change and the betterment of local Latino

communities. Finally, a distinct feature of Latino/a

studies programs continues to be their interdisciplinary

focus. Faculty members participating in

such programs tend to be drawn from a broad

array of social and behavioral sciences, and arts

and humanities disciplines.

As the Latino population experienced greater

diversity associated with immigration from the

Caribbean, Central America, and South America,

some programs have maintained their focus on

the Chicano and Puerto Rican populations. However,

many others have broadened their focus to

encompass the greater Latino variation with the

establishment of pan-ethnic Latino/a studies programs.

The latter emphasize the linkages between

Latinos in the United States and Latin Americans

more generally, and they recognize the transnational

and diaspora experience of Latinos and

Latin Americans.

There are also variations in the academic focus of

Latino/a studies programs (note that, for the sake

of simplicity, we use the term “Latino/a studies” to

encompass the diverse types of specific programs

just outlined). One set of programs has continued

to serve the primary mission of teaching and is

located institutionally as independent academic

departments or as programs within academic departments

or colleges. In other cases, Latino

centers and institutes have the primary mission

of generating research on the Latino population.

Finally, teaching and research related to Latinos

takes place beyond the confines of Latino/a studies

programs and Latino research centers and institutes,

as courses are taught within sociology and

related departments, and research on Latinos is

conducted by researchers without affiliations to

Latino research centers and institutes.

Themes such as “border” or “border-crossing”

often emerge within course content of Latino/a

Latino/a studies Latino/a studies

325

studies. These themes are important reminders of



the global and transnational, as well as the transformative,

nature of Latino communities in the

United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Further, these metaphors permit an analysis of

the historical and contemporary relationship of

Latino communities to the economic, political,

and social structures of inequality in the United

States. These structures are rooted in the social

construction of race and ethnicity, gender, and

sexuality and these constructs often serve as catalysts

for social change.

The ability to understand race/ethnicity as a

social construct is evoked in the introduction of

the syllabi. Many Latino/a studies instructors recognize

that while the term Latino/a connotes themes

of similarity and shared interest across groups

falling within this socially constructed label, these

courses highlight differences that exist within and

across demographic, historical, social, economic,

and political domains. The diversity within, and

multiple experiences of, the Latino community

allow for a departure from strict disciplinary

boundaries into interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary

lenses, allowing the discussion of topics,

such as culture or assimilation, to take place

beyond the confines of a single discipline. This

permits students to view “the Latino/a experience”

as one that is diverse, complex, and dynamic,

versus one that is narrow, monolithic, and static.

The American Sociological Association (ASA) has

teaching and instructional materials geared to

assisting facultymemberswho teach Latino courses.

In its fifth edition, Chicano/a and Latino/a Studies in

Sociology: Syllabi and Instructional Materials, by Jose´

Calderon and Gilda Ochoa (2003), is an important

source for engaging faculty and students in the

understanding of Latino/a studies. A sampling of

topics covered in the syllabi comprising the sourcebook

include “Introduction and Overview of Latino

Population,” “Mexicans: Immigration, Conquest,

and Work,” “Caribbean: Immigration, Colonialism,

and Work,” “Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies,”

“Queer Identities in Contemporary Cultures,”

and “Institutions and Political Activism.” As suggested

by these topics, Latino/a studies courses

expose students to sociological theories and analytical

frameworks to understand the production, reproduction,

and perpetuation of social inequalities

that shape the life chances of Latinos.

Consistent with the social change theme of

Latino studies, courses related to Latinos frequently

require students to get involved in their

local communities. For example, students in such

courses tend to be involved in service learning,

internships, and volunteer work. Such teaching

approaches emphasize the intersection between

theory and practice and attempt to enhance the

academic experience by providing students with

experiential training.

The major absence of Latino scholars prior to the

1970s is responsible for the dearth of research about

Latinos before this time. Rogelio Saenz and Edward

Murguia, in their article “The Latino Experience:

Introduction, Context, and Overview” in Sociological

Focus (2004), observe a steady increase in the

amount of sociological research produced about

Latinos from the early 1970s to the present. In their

general assessment of research on Latinos, Saenz

and Murguia highlight four areas that have generated

a significant amount of research: gender,

immigration, education, and labor markets.

One major source for the production of research

on Latinos is the Inter-University Program for

Latino Research (2005), or IUPLR, a consortium of

eighteen Latino research centers based in major

universities across the United States. Through our

examination of research projects that are being

conducted through these partnerships, based on

information from the various websites, we find

evidence of up to fifty research projects. This list

is by no means an all-inclusive summary of research

projects that are connected with the various

research centers. Rather it is a brief overview

from various sites, which allows us to assess

the most common research areas focusing on

Latinos.


We broadly classify the fifty research projects

into the following categories: community development;

cultural and literary studies; demographic

trends; economic issues; education; ethnic relations;

evaluation research; health and delivery

services; history and political economy; identity

politics; and immigration. Of these categories,

education receives the most attention, constituting

20 percent of the total research projects, with

health and delivery issues accounting for 18 percent,

and art and cultural studies also receiving

substantial attention. Many of these research

projects evaluate current policy initiatives or programs

but also encourage other scholars to generate

more research. Much of the attention in the

area of education is geared towards creating a

new generation of educated Latinos. For example,

one project assists students with college applications

and another assists educators who work

with Latino parents and their children. The most

common research topics demonstrate the interdisciplinary

and action-oriented nature of Latino

studies.

Latino/a studies Latino/a studies

326

The development of Latino/a studies has also



assisted in the establishment of professional associations

that have helped further develop this

branch of inquiry. The oldest of these organizations

is the National Association for Chicana and

Chicano Studies (NACCS), originally established in

1972. Two decades later, the Puerto Rican Studies

Association (PRSA) was established to focus on

academic concerns related to Puerto Ricans. Moreover,

Latino caucuses / special interest groups

have been formed within larger disciplinary associations.

For example, the Section on Latino Sociology

within the ASA was formed in the early

1990s. More recently, in the mid-1990s, the Latino

Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association

(LASA) was formed, illustrating the

transnational and diaspora links between Latinos

and Latin America.

While there have been various academic journals

that originated in the late 1960s and early

1970s to disseminate research results on Latinos,

currently there are a few journals that specialize

in the reporting of evidence from sociological research

investigations relating to Latino communities.

These include Aztlan, Hispanic Journal of

Behavioral Sciences, and Journal of Latino and Latin

American Studies. Among the mainstream social

science outlets, Social Science Quarterly is the undisputed

leader in publishing research on Latinos. Of

particular significance are the three special issues

that the journal produced in 1973, 1984, and 2000.

More recently, Southern Rural Sociology produced a

special issue on “Latinos in the South” (2003) and

Sociological Focus published a special issue on “The

Latino Experience” (2004). This article traced the

emergence of Latino/a studies during the late

1960s and 1970s.

Pioneering Latino scholars and students forged

the development of institutional arrangements,

curricula, research, professional associations, and

publication outlets. Their efforts, combined with

the growth of the Latino population, have contributed

to the evolution and continued expansion of

Latino/a studies and its contribution to sociology

and wider social science disciplines.

ROGELIO SAENZ, MERCEDES RUBIO, AND

J ANIE FILOTEO

Latour, Bruno (1947– )

Educated in philosophy and anthropology, Latour,

Professor at the E´ cole des Mines in Paris, has been

one of the most active contributors to the field

of science and technology studies, which emerged

in the 1970s as an alternative to more traditional

approaches to the theory and philosophy

of science. Latour has combined a playful, polemical

tone with conceptual and methodological innovations,

as he has sought to disclose the hidden

realities of science in his Laboratory Life (1979),

with Steve Woolgar.

Latour made seminal contributions to the social




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