WP233 Promoting Linguistic Citizenship: Issues, problems & possibilities

Rampton, Cooke & Holmes


This paper sets Stroud?s ?Linguistic Citizenship? (LC) in dialogue (a) with Hymes? ethnographic sociolinguistics and (b) with language education in England.? LC?s commitment to democratic participation, to voice, to the heterogeneity of linguistic resources and to the political value of sociolinguistic understanding is corroborated in Hymesian linguistic ethnography.? But the focus on voice and text trajectories in ethnographic sociolinguistics forces a recognition that the pursuit of Linguistic Citizenship can often be less than transformative, entailing compromise and conventionalisation.? This angle is then taken further in an account of language education in England.? Although the discourses of language and citizenship currently dominating the UK are very much at odds with Stroud?s conception, it is very well suited to the multilingualism of everyday urban life, and it complements a range of relatively small, independently funded educational initiatives promoting similar values.? But their efforts are currently constrained by issues of scale and sustainability, although there is no essential reason why the principles of Linguistic Citizenship shouldn?t be part of mainstream state education.? There was a period, from the 1960s to the 1980s, when they were, and it took concerted Conservative government action to shut this down.? In present circumstances, though, it may be in the collaboration between universities and not-for-profit organisations that Linguistic Citizenship can find its most sustainable support.