Prof. Dr. Rodrigo Borba

CV Lattes

Doctorate degree

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Applied Linguistics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, 2014. Supervisor: Luiz Paulo da Moita Lopes. Thesis: (Un)learning what one ‘is’: trajectories of socialization and narrative performances in the Brazilian transsexualizing process.


Applied linguistics, queer linguistics, linguistic anthropology, qualitative sociolinguistics, feminisms and queer theory, conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, language, gender and society, doctor-patient interaction, linguistic ethnography, corpus linguistics.

Ongoing research project

(Un)learning what one ‘is’: trajectories of socialization and the (meta)pragmatics of social (un)identification (2014) – This research aims to understand, from a Foucauldian viewpoint, how certain individuals become institutionally recognized types of subjects in the microdetails of their day-to-day interactions. In order to do so, we investigate the Program of Integral Attention to Transsexual Health (PAIST), one of the centers of reference in the transsexualizing process in the Brazilian Unified Health System, where a 13-month ethnographic fieldwork investigation was carried out. We discuss how systems of biological knowledge pathologize transsexuality and make certain semiotic resources available for the identification of “true transsexuals”, thus solidifying a metapragmatic model of identity (WORTHAM, 2006). Our analytical focus is placed on the micro-interactional dynamics of socialization trajectories (WORTHAM, 2005) during which PAIST users slowly learn how to entextualize (SILVERSTEIN & URBAN, 1996) the model of the “true transsexual” in their narrative performances (BAUMAN & BRUGGS, 1990). It is argued that such an apprenticeship takes place through the organization of turn sequencing in medical meetings, and, most of all, through the adjacent question-answer pair in which health professionals repeatedly offer semiotic items for users to produce narratives which will satisfy the demands of the Federal Council of Medicine for Transsexualizing Processes. The research focuses on understanding how, in the micro-interactional details of doctor-patient meetings, users’ comprehensions of their own bodies and subjectivities are slowly eclipsed by the diagnostic construct of the “true transsexual”.

This project is linked to the Centre of Studies in Discourses and Society (NUDES).