WP52 Is class relevant in constructing a multilingual Europe?

Collins & Slembrouck
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It is a commonplace of discussions of globalism, and of official European self-understanding, that multilingualism and linguistic diversity are unavoidable features of the contemporary world in general and of particular significance to the emerging EU.? Nonetheless, individual nation states vigilantly guard their national languages, and across Western European nations a large class of social problems are attributed to social groups whose primary languages are other than the national language, and particularly to those migrant minorities who hail from ?the (non-EU) South?’. Relevant in this regard is the observation made by many, including applied linguists and anthropologists who study globalization, that the value or stigma attached to multilingualism depends on the social standing of speakers, often in combination with (dis)preferred educational trajectories. This suggests that the widening social inequality of the contemporary era needs to be addressed in efforts to study ?the construction of multilingual Europe.?? In this paper, we approach these issues by examining how social class and multilingualism figure in debates about educational inequities in Europe and North America.? In particular, we examine policy documents and debates, analyzing references to social class and multilingualism in discourses about educational achievement.