WP46 Goffman & globalisation: Participation frames and the spatial & temporal scaling of migration-connected multilingualism

Collins & Slembrouck
Collection: Key word


In this paper we argue that migration-based multilingual language contact, and features of multilingual engagement more generally, require concepts such as scale and scaling in order to capture the dialectic interplay between more durable features of social order, in particular, the articulated temporal and spatial dimensions of any social formation, and the interactional real-time of face-to-face communication and other situated language use. We suggest that Erving Goffman?s analysis of frame, footing and participation frameworks is ideally suited as a point of departure for such an enquiry, but insist that it is extended and developed in directions which crosscut the usual binaries of macro and micro, while insisting on the facts of inequality and hierarchy in the flux of unsettled on-the-ground practices characteristic of contemporary migration-based language contact. The paper draws on fieldwork in the USA and Belgium. We present and compare two cases: an English-support programme in a multilingual Triqui household in Upstate New York and multilingual practices in an officially-designated bilingual hospital in Brussels.