Language in Late Capitalism
Pride and Profit
Edited by Alexandre Duchêne, Monica Heller
Series Editor: Marilyn Martin-Jones
Routledge – 2012 – 270 pages
This book examines the ways in which our ideas about language and identity which used to be framed in national and political terms as a matter of rights and citizenship are increasingly recast in economic terms as a matter of added value. It argues that this discursive shift is connected to specific characteristics of the globalized new economy in what can be thought of as "late capitalism". Through ten ethnographic case studies, it demonstrates the complex ways in which older nationalist ideologies which invest language with value as a source of pride get bound up with newer neoliberal ideologies which invest language with value as a source of profit. The complex interaction between these modes of mobilizing linguistic resources challenges some of our ideas about globalization, hinting that we are in a period of intensification of modernity, in which the limits of the nation-State are stretched, but not (yet) undone. At the same time, this book argues, this intensification also calls into question modernist ways of looking at language and identity, requiring a more serious engagement with capitalism and how it constitutes symbolic (including linguistic) as well as material markets.
"The authors effectively demonstrate the immensely complex nature of how 'pride' and 'profit' function, and also reveal how richly and powerfully pervasive these tropes are." —Philip T. Duncan, LINGUIST List
"This book offers a rich collection of case studies looking at how perceptions of, and approaches to, languages have shifted in recent years. […] The strength of this framework is that it encourages the reader to think critically about language in social and political context." —François Grin, Language Policy
"The book makes a significant contribution to understanding perspectives on language as we have moved from a primary language model with concerns for authenticity and language potential to a multilingual global society with ongoing concerns for authenticity and 'potential' monetized into value-added considerations."—Erik Aasland, Language in Society
1. Pride and profit: changing discourses of language, capital and nation-state Monica Heller and Alexandre Duchêne 2. Sociolinguistics regimes and the management of "diversity" Susan Gal 3. Commodification of pride and resistance to profit: language practices as terrain of struggle in a Swiss football stadium Alfonso Del Percio and Alexandre Duchêne 4. "Total Quality Language Revival" Jacqueline Urla 5. Literary tourism: new appropriations of landscape and territory in Catalonia Joan Pujolar and Kathryn Jones 6. Pride, profit and distinction: negotiations across time and space in community language education Adrian Blackledge and Angela Creese 7. War, peace and languages in the Canadian Navy Michelle Daveluy 8. Frontiers and Frenchness: pride and profit in the production of Canada Monica Heller and Lindsay Bell 9. The making of "workers of the world": language and the labor brokerage state Beatriz P. Lorente 10. Language workers: emblematic figures of late capitalism Josiane Boutet 11. Silicon Valley sociolinguistics? Analyzing language, gender and communities of practice in the new knowledge economy Bonnie McElhinny
Alexandre Duchêne is Professor of Sociology of language and Director of the Institute of Multilingualism of the University and HEP of Fribourg (Switzerland). His recent publications include Ideologies across Nations (Mouton de Gruyter 2008) and Discourses of Endangerment (with Monica Heller, Continuum 2007).
Monica Heller is professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, as well as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Her most recent book is Paths to Postnationalism: A Critical Ethnography of Language and Identity (2011, Oxford University Press).