WP50 Language, asylum, and the national order



This paper discusses modernist reactions to postmodern realities. Asylum seekers in Western Europe ? people typically inserted in postmodern processes of globalisation ? are routinely subjected to identification analyses that emphasis the national order. The paper documents one such case, that of a Rwandan refugee in the UK whose nationality got disputed by the Home Office because of his ?abnormal? linguistic repertoire. An analysis of the specific repertoire of the applicant, however, suggests the validity of his life history. The theoretical problematic is one that opposes two versions of sociolinguistics: a sociolinguistics of languages, used among others by the Home Office, and a sociolinguistics of speech and repertoires, used in the analysis in this paper. The realities of ?modern? reactions to postmodern phenomena, especially in the field of language, must be taken into account as part of the postmodern phenomenology of language in society.
Key words: globalisation, asylum seekers, Rwanda, repertoires, postmodernity, modernity, inequality.