If the analytical value of some terms derives from their descriptive precision and specificity of meaning, other words-such as discourse-owe their utility to multiple layers of meaning and their ability to stimulate ambiguity. Anthropological discourse about ‘discourse’ expanded markedly in volume beginning in the 1970s. The term entered the discipline from two directions: it is part of the language of both descriptive *linguistics and *cultural studies. Beyond a common understanding that discourse involves the communication of meaning, the term has divergent uses in these two fields. Moreover, within linguistics and cultural studies, as within anthropology, discursive analysis signifies several different sorts of methodological enterprise.