WP135 From mobility to complexity in sociolinguistic theory and method



I have for several years tried to address the effects of globalization on various aspects of the study of language in society, and this paper can be seen as an extension and deepening of earlier attempts ? on discourse and discourse analysis (Blommaert 2005); on literacy and how to address it (2008) and on the sociolinguistic study of globalized environments (2010). The central notion in these earlier attempts was mobility: I assumed (and still assume) that thinking about language in society in terms of mobility is a major theoretical effort, for it disrupts a very long tradition in which language, along with other social and cultural features of people, was primarily imagined relatively fixed in time and space.? But certain aspects of this thinking can be profitably recycled, and can gain clarity, by being put in a more coherent complexity perspective, and in this paper I do so, in a series of theoretical statements that informs my writing elsewhere (Blommaert 2013).