Human beings analysts included can never go outside of language, we cannot stop identiting, and we can never not learn. We are, in short, doomed to communicate and participate in identity work. While we, as scholars, have inherited conceptual understandings that can be framed in terms of a dichotomized mainstream, and some of us have embraced such concepts as languaging, performativity, hybridity, and so on, we continue to work within the frameworks of naturalized, interlinked webs-of-understandings because, in part, scholarship infrequently engages in analytically pushed empirical work that focuses on everyday life.
This gap raises significant issues related to democracy and equity. The fundamental assumptions that frame and substantiate an alternative position beyond the dichotomized mainstream on language and identity are not new, but rather in need of revitalization. Differences arise not least since such concepts have become fossilized as tangible entities that one can view objectively, dissect, scrutinize, tweeze out specific dimensions of, and make predictions about. Based on a disciplinary or a given — a priori based — theoretical stance creates a technified sense of knowing what language is, what learning or what identity and diversity are.
While a sense of being able to control and handle these concepts is misleading, such a stance creates epistemological confusion at different scales, and this, in turn, has pragmatic consequences. Here, decolonial perspectives can be illuminating. A decolonial perspective strives to make visible Northern hegemonies — inside European, Asian, African, and other spaces — where alternative epistemologies are marginalized. In other words, decoloniality constitutes a perspective that has relevance for all geopolitical spaces with relevance to issues of hegemonies and marginalization processes.
A decolonial position questions the relationship between centres and margins with regard to for whom, by whom, and in what spaces such relationships are operationalized. The emergence of the knowledge society, increased global-local migration flows, the explosion of social media, and disparate regional power and resource shifts, including current societal conflicts, have shaped not only the sociocultural fabric of human existence but also the parameters of the research enterprise itself Connell, ; Savransky, Situating the examples of classifications and essentialized categories discussed in section 3.
It is in such a sense that BOs, like bilingualism, constitute key concepts that exist in relation to imaginary, static, correct, and desired points of departure. They are related to other concepts that are imagined in and through mathematical, spatial ownership and gendered terminology. These old-new discussions allow for the scrutiny of the naturalized dichotomized state of the language and identity mainstream scholarship as it relates specifically to educational institutions. While being an institutional activity system in itself, research differs in fundamental ways from other institutional activity systems i.
By deploying analytically pushed questions, methodologies, and theoretical framings refined over time, research is entrusted with systematically illuminating phenomena under scrutiny against the backdrop of previously accumulated knowledge in and across a domain.
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However, epistemologies are themselves historically framed into separate disciplines that become stratified as well as fossilised across time. This notwithstanding, the issue at hand is that research into language and identity differs significantly from the work done within educational institutions. The analytical enterprise calls for critically reviewing and researching not only specific institutional activity fields but also the very assumptions and norms that underlie the analytical enterprise itself.
Thus, key assumptions regarding language, identity, and learning constitute lenses with which different methodological and conceptual tool kits are deployed by researchers. Moving beyond a focus on essentialized divisions that mark individuals, activities, places, or specific scales, recognition is accorded to the irreducibility of human action across timespaces and across the use of material and intellectual tools.
Thus, taking socioculturally framed conceptual ideas regarding the irreducibility of social interactions where cultural tools are central across timespaces as a fundamental unit of analysis Wertsch, , a counter-stance position argues for the need to have languaging data rather than pretheorized noun-based ideas inform discussion and policy.
Southern tenants allow us to focus on the hegemonic layers involved in language and identity without falling into essentialist nation-state units that are, despite their instability and internal complexities, popularly taken as points of departure in research on language and identity.
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The concept hybrid ity flourishes within and outside scholarly domains. Hybridity has more recently come to represent how culture and identity are nonlinear and chaotic processes that play out at thresholds and in-between spaces. Here, two issues are relevant for present purposes. First, discussions related to language and language learning are rarely framed in relation to hybridity.
This constitutes a potentially rich and mutually beneficial area waiting to be engaged with. Furthermore, the concept hybrid ity within the human sciences literature continues to be nonempirically pushed.
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It, in its liminal and in-between sense, has the potential to contribute to empirical explorations that illuminate the complexities of language and identity beyond the dominating mainstream. Building upon empirical ethnographically framed research, what I have argued for in this paper is how a focus on languaging opens possibilities for discussing learning and identity-positionings that take place in and via the deployment of one or more language varieties and modalities.
Such an alternative position goes beyond the dominating, dichotomizing positions related to language, language-learning methods, and the organization of language learning. Going beyond a mainstream position builds upon a critical humanistic thinking where theoretical sociocultural and Southern framings are central. These enable new ways of understanding the participation and inclusion of learners who are at a disadvantage i. Such a position raises pertinent issues related to democracy and equity where questions regarding for whom, by whom, why, when, and so on are made relevant.
Decolonial perspectives are inspired, for instance, by Bhabha , Maldonado-Torres , Santos , and Savransky Anderson, B. Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso. Bagga-Gupta, S. Challenging understandings in pluralistic societies: language and culture loose in school sites and losing sight of democratic agendas in education?. Utbildning och Demokrati 13 3 : 11— Where are they?
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Rotterdam: Sense, pp. Stockholm: VR. Report Series Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. A common education-for-all and life-long learning? Oslo: Cappelen Damm Akkademisk, pp. Language Contacts at the Crossroads of Disciplines. Center-staging language and identity research from earthrise perspectives. Identity Revisited and Reimagined. Rotterdam: Springer, pp. Going beyond oral-written-signed-virtual divides: theorizing languaging from social practice perspectives.
Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, pp. Rotterdam: Springer. Mobilizing intersectionality through a focus on social-textual practices: recognizing or marginalizing Sami, deaf and immigrants? Bakhtin, M. Holmquist, C.
The Dialogic Imagination. Austin: University of Texas Press. Bhabha, H. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge. Blommaert, J. Commentary: Superdiversity Old and New. Butler, J. Gender Trouble. Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Clark, C.
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London: Routledge, pp. Connell, R. Using southern theory: decolonizing social thought in theory, research and application. Planning Theory 13 2 : — Davies, A. The Native Speaker: Myth and Reality.