Shadow Subjects: A Category of Analysis for Empathic Stancetaking

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12 Scopus citations


This article analyzes conversational and material data collected during 12 months of fieldwork at a secondary school in southeast Spain. I focus on the cultivation of stance positions—particularly around gender equality—involving “shadow subjects”: imagined discursive figures that both prompt and constrain empathy for others whose rights have been violated. Within this multicultural context, Moroccan immigrant youth get positioned as defenders of outdated patriarchal mores. I argue that the semiotic burdening and elaboration of stance on behalf of shadow subjects makes this possible and points to inherent biases in operationalizing “universal” egalitarian values among ideologically and experientially diverse communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-209
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Linguistic Anthropology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • Spain
  • gender equality
  • immigration
  • stance
  • subjectivity


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