Linguistic Citizenship: Decolonial dialogues
The aim of the proposed research sabbatical is to address the question of what theorization of language and politics best allows for an understanding of multilingualism as a transformative (material) technology for social change. The notion of multilingualism is the nomenclature par excellence of how we have come to linguistically conceptualize and regiment our relationship to different others in spaces of contact. However, its colonial pedigree continues to contribute to the reproduction of linguistically mediated hierarchies and inequalities, thereby foreclosing the potential for multilingualism to contribute to a transformed society. The volume will comprise a synthesis and innovative theorization of empirical work on the notion of linguistic citizenship that I advanced in 2001. Linguistic Citizenship departs from a theorization of language as messy and dynamic practice in a complex and turbulent sociolinguistic world characterized by dissonance, complexity, diversity and conflict. It offers an account of speaker agency less in terms of conventional and fixed linguistic structures, than in practices and textualities that are effervescent, momentary and fleeting. Work on the volume will allow a new approach to multilingualism through the development of a comprehensive theoretical framing of linguistic citizenship informed by the work of theorists from both the geopolitical North and South. A one-month visit to the University of Sao Paulo facilitates the work.