WP248 Advocating heteroglossia, dominating publics?



In this paper, I address the fact that sociolinguists often advocate heteroglossic policies in education (and other monolingually organised domains) without extending this heteroglossia to public debate about language policy. At least there are important trends in the discipline which argue that existing policies are not based on evidence, and propose that policy should adapt to the heteroglossic, fluid linguistic reality that their research describes. Facts are undeniably important in debate over language, but I argue that an evidence-based strategy often removes options from the debate without engaging in a discussion over values, that it confronts stakeholders with various types of academic pressure and control, and that this strategy may eventually diminish sociolinguists? impact on policymaking. Using examples from sociolinguistic work on repertoires, linguistic citizenship and translanguaging, I try to underline the vulnerability of an evidence-based tactic for advocating heteroglossia, and suggest that sociolinguists may be more effective if they use their knowledge to expand the range of alternatives for relevant stakeholders, rather than trying to decide what is good for them.