- The Oxford Handbook of Language and Society
- List of Contributors
- Introduction—Language and Society: A Critical Poststructuralist Perspective
- Language and Society: Historical Overview and the Emergence of a Field of Study
- Language, Imperialism, and the Modern Nation-State System: Implications for Language Rights
- Language and Political Economy
- Language and Power
- Language Ideologies
- Language Policy and Local Practices
- Language, Migration, Diaspora: Challenging the Big Battalions of Groupism
- Bilingualism, Multilingualism, Globalization, and Superdiversity: Toward Sociolinguistic Repertoires
- Diglossia and Beyond
- Language Shift and Sustainability: Critical Discourses and Beyond
- Discourses of Endangerment from Mother Tongues to Machine Readability
- Sign Languages
- Multiliteracies and Transcultural Education
- Urban Languages in African Contexts: Toward a Multimodal Approach to Urban Languages
- Indigenous Peoples and Their Languages
- Entry Visa Denied: The Construction of Symbolic Language Borders in Educational Settings
- Linguistic Profiling and Discrimination
- From Elderspeak to Gerontolinguistics: Sociolinguistic Myths
- Language and Racialization
- Language and Sexuality
- Linguistic Landscapes
- The Internet, Language, and Virtual Interactions
- Mediatization and the Language of Journalism
- Bilingual Education
- Conclusion: Moving the Study of Language and Society into the Future
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter traces the origins of the sociology of language and sociolinguistics to the most prominent social thinkers of nineteenth-century Europe: Herbert Spencer, Karl Marx, Auguste Comte, Emil Durkheim, and Max Weber, all of whom recognized language as an essential formative element of modern society. It then goes on to review the contributions of those who, during the first half of the twentieth century, actually promoted the idea of establishing a social science of language: Mikhail Bakhtin, Walter Benjamin, and Antonio Gramsci. It discusses the influence of public debates on the development of research about the nexus of language and society in the second half of the last century and demonstrates that, notwithstanding the important early influence of sociologists, the field is today an interdisciplinary crossroads where linguists are much more numerous than sociologists.
Florian Coulmas has taught and done research for some twenty-five years at various Japanese universities and research institutes before moving in 2014 to the IN-EAST Institute, Faculty of Social Sciences, Duisburg-Essen University, where he is Senior Professor of Japanese Studies. His principal fields of research, with a focus on East Asia, are three: literacy and writing systems, language policy, and Japanese sociolinguistics. He is Associate Editor of the International Journal of the Sociology of Language. His most recent book is Guardians of Language: Twenty Voices through History (Oxford University Press, 2016). He is currently engaged in a project about the individual’s influence on language change.
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