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Discretion

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Part of the Palgrave Studies in Language, Gender and Sexuality book series (PSLGS)

Abstract

There are two forms of linguistic practices that repeatedly oriented language use before Stonewall: discretion and surveillance. Discretion (this chapter) is a linguistic practice in which the speaker reveals some information about (in this case) sexuality and related themes, but also withholds additional details from the audience. Those who “understand” the discussion make the appropriate inferences, draw analogies or otherwise make associations between was presented and what could also have been said. Those less familiar with these affordances (Levine in Forms: Whole, rhythm, hierarchy, network. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2015) understand the message as presented; they are not denied access to meaning as usually happens with the exclusive phrasings of a secret code. Either way, audiences’ members participate inclusively, if not entirely uniformly, in the linguistic moment.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies ProgramFlorida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyAmerican UniversityWashington, D.C.USA

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