WP47 Migration & multilingualism: Implications for linguistic anthropology and education research



Large-scale migration has numerous consequences for both migrants and host societies. These have sociopolitical, cultural and linguistic dimensions, and can be phrased as the challenge of grappling, theoretically and practically, with volatile linguistic and cultural difference. In exploring the nature and implications of such difference, this paper presents and discusses three cases. The first focuses on the experiences of immigrant children in schools in the city and suburbs of Albany, NY; the second involves Belgian schools in the city of Antwerp which serve Turkish, African, and Eastern European children; the last? considers the linguistic situation in Barcelona, in light of a second wave of migration into that region of Spain. Concepts of indexicality, participant alignment, and spatial-temporal scale are used to analyze issues of identity, learning, agency, and power as they appear within and across the cases. Drawing on the case-based specifics, I argue that migration-based language pluralism poses particular challenges for thinking about education, because schools are where difficult issues of knowledge and value, of language and belonging, get sharply and repeatedly raised. It also poses challenges for the discipline of linguistic anthropology, since it requires attention to multi-scalar processes: transnational population movements, nation-state institutions, and communicative encounters of an intimate, face-to-face nature. Recent theoretical work on globalized forms of segregation and conflict poses challenges for both ethnographic educational research and linguistic anthropology.