- 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 aims to discuss how investigating language and political economy enables us to gain a complex understanding of the origins and foundations of inequality among speakers. We will argue that language and political economy are intrinsically interconnected and interdependent, and we will present a processual approach to political economy, embedding both types of questions into the current conditions of late capitalism. We will discuss how, especially in the fields of sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology, the link between language and late capitalism has been studied. Finally, we will propose a discussion of the three processes related to the valuation of languages and their speakers—the production, distribution, and consumption of resources—drawing on three ethnographic research projects that investigated the effects that current political-economic investments in language in Switzerland have on social inequality.
Alfonso Del Percio is Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Life Span at the University of Oslo. He holds a PhD in “Organizational Studies and Cultural Theory” from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. His research deals with the intersection of language and political economy and focuses on the commodification of multilingualism under late capitalism, on language and migration, as well as on the links between language, labor, and social inequality. His recent publications include A Semiotics of Nation Branding (Special Issue of Signs and Society, 2016).
Mi-Cha Flubacher is a Postdoc University Assistant in Applied Linguistics at the Institute of Linguistics, University of Vienna, Austria. Before, she was a researcher at the Institute of Multilingualism, University/HEP Fribourg, Switzerland. In an ethnographic research project she investigated the role of language competences for the process of public employment services. She has extensive research experience on questions of multilingualism policies and practices, for example in the workplace. Her research interests further include language as a site of the reproduction of social inequality, neoliberal language education, and processes of exoticization through language.
Alexandre Duchêne is Professor of Sociology of Language at the University of Fribourg and Co-director of the Swiss National Scientific Center for Multilingualism Studies. His research interests focus on language and social inequality; multilingualism, school and social selection; multilingualism and the workplace; human migration, globalization and multilingualism; language and political economy. His recent publications include Language in Late Capitalism: Pride and Profit, with Monica Heller (Routledge, 2012); Language Migration and Social Inequalities, with Melissa Moyer and Celia Roberts (Multilingual Matters, 2013); and Spéculations langagières, with Michelle Daveluy (Anthropologie and Sociétés, 2015). He is Co-Chair of the Committee on World Anthropologies of the American Anthropological Association.
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