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The sociology of language has been concerned primarily with the use of language in everyday interactions, resulting in important theoretical contributions, particularly to conversation analysis. In responding to Simon Susen’s “Bourdieusian reflections on language: Unavoidable conditions of the real speech situation”, which emphasizes the inherent “sociality” of symbolic forms, this article directs attention to an important location of language, namely to its role in public rituals or liturgies. Looking at the history of the Book of Common Prayer within the framework of symbolic violence, this article examines the power struggles over public rituals that over time came to shape the very notion of “Englishness” through shared, if contested, liturgical worship.


Institute for Religion, Politics, and Society

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Journal Article

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