WP244 Discourse, urban design, and professionalism in the new global city

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Sociolinguistic research has paid close attention to processes whereby language and communication get turned into commodities vis-?-vis the expansion of the service industries (Heller, 2010; Heller, Pujolar & Duch?ne, 2014) under the conditions of so-called ” late capitalism ” (Duch?ne & Heller, 2012). Continuing with this legacy, this paper focuses on the emergence of ” speculative architecture ” as a distinctive strand within the professional field of architecture, one that claims to ” create narratives about how new technologies and networks influence space, culture, and community [with the aim of] imagining where new forms of agency exist within the cities changed by these new processes ” (Liam Young, 2017). In so doing, ” speculative architecture ” is conceived of here as a discursive space (Heller, 2007) for social performance (Briggs & Bauman, 1992; Hanks, 1987) and capital accumulation (Bourdieu, 1986) in the ” new ” (globalized) labour market. In an attempt to go beyond just ” language ” as a product, I examine how a set of discursive features that characterize ” doing speculative architecture ” get ” enregistered ” (Agha, 2007) as a ” bundle of skills ” (Urciuoli, 2008), or ” commodity register ” (Agha, 2011), which then regulates access to material and symbolic resources. This approach is said to illuminate how new professional fields tied to untapped niche markets get discursively constituted through the production of neoliberal technologies of professional subjectivity and subjection (Foucault, 2008), while at the same time shedding light onto the embedded forms of inequality that these contribute to (re)create. Implications of this analysis on the ” mobility turn ” in the language disciplines are also discussed.