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Disciplinary theatrics: Public reprimand and the textual performance of affect at Sera Monastery, India

Authors
Journal
Language & Communication
0271-5309
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
26
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.langcom.2005.09.001
Keywords
  • Voice
  • Text
  • Discipline
  • Affectivity
  • Performance
  • Tibetan
Disciplines
  • Linguistics

Abstract

Abstract This article examines ‘public reprimand’ ( tshogs gtam) at Sera Monastery, a major Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Geluk sect in India. This disciplinary practice is shown to be of duplex textual and theatrical complexity. In this form of reprimand, the Disciplinarian seeks to (re)form the dispositions of monastic subjects by textually projecting, juxtaposing, and evaluating morally weighted voices. As the Disciplinarian stages this moral-didactic drama – this ‘serious theatre’, to borrow Foucault’s expression – he adopts a culturally prescribed stance on his own affective performance. In investigating the textuality of voice, stance, and affectivity in this form of public reprimand, this article seeks to rekindle interest in ‘penal semiotics’, a vector of inquiry that Foucault initiated.

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