Community, Solidarity and Multilingualism in a Transnational Social Movement : A Critical Sociolinguistic Ethnography of Emmaus book cover
1st Edition

Community, Solidarity and Multilingualism in a Transnational Social Movement
A Critical Sociolinguistic Ethnography of Emmaus

ISBN 9780367534530
Published April 29, 2022 by Routledge
236 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Community, solidarity and multilingualism in a transnational social movement presents a critical sociolinguistic ethnography of the Emmaus movement that analyses linguistic and discursive practices in two local communities in order to provide insight into solidarity discourses and transnational communication more broadly. Integrating perspectives from a range of disciplines, the monograph seeks to understand the ways in which social movements are maintained across disparate communities grounded in shared cultural referents and communicative practices but not necessarily a shared language. The book focuses on Emmaus, the solidarity movement that emerged in post-war France which brings formerly marginalised people together with others looking for an alternative lifestyle into live-in communities dedicated to recycling work and social projects.

The book first offers a historical overview of the Emmaus movement more generally, moving into an account of its development and spread across national and linguistic borders. The volume draws on data from two Emmaus communities in Barcelona and London to analyse the everyday communicative and discursive practices that appropriate and resignify the shared transnational movement ideas in different socio-political, economic, historical and linguistic contexts.

Community, solidarity and multilingualism in a transnational social movement considers the social implications of local practices on the situated (re)production and evolution of transnational social movements more generally and will be of particular interest to students and researchers in sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, discourse studies, cultural studies, and sociology.

Table of Contents


List of Figures


Chapter 1: Language, discourse and transnationalism in a social movement xx

Emmaus as a holistic social movement xx

Investigating sociolinguistic articulation across borders xx

Theoretical approaches xx

Critical ethnographic sociolinguistics xx

Transnational social movements xx

Community as a nexus xx

An ethnographic journey into a transnational field xx

Access, collaboration and positioning xx

An ethnographic toolbox xx

Structure of the book xx

Chapter 2: Historicising the transnational expansion of a social movement through key events and texts xx

Introduction xx

Transnational and multilingual expansion of a French movement xx

Foundation and "Catacombs period" (1949-1954) xx

"Insurrection of Goodness" in France (1954) and early expansion (1955-1969) xx

From the First World Assembly (1969) to the politicisation of the movement (1988) xx

Historicising religion and politics in two different Emmaus communities xx

Faith traditions and socio-political activism xx

Emmaus Barcelona: Progressive Catholicism and post-‘68 activism xx

Emmaus London: Charity and social enterprise xx

Concluding remarks: A solidarity mission over time xx

Chapter 3: Transnational articulation and socialisation through the Emmaus founding story xx

Introduction: A social movement tells a "new story" xx

Conceptual framework: Collective identity through narrative chronotopes xx

"A story of us": A chronotopic analysis of the Emmaus origin story xx

An ethnographic analysis of the movement’s founding story in situated interactions xx

Socialisation into "stories of us": Oral storytelling and semiotic artefacts xx

"Stories of self": Personal narratives of transformation xx

Concluding remarks: Creating sameness in the Emmaus social movement xx

Chapter 4: Discursive localisations of solidarity in two socio-political contexts xx

Introduction xx

"Towards other reasons to live": Alter-globalisation discourses in Emmaus Barcelona xx

Snapshot: "Stories of now" in socio-political activism xx

Zooming in: A residential project for migrants xx

"Emmaus, the homeless charity that works": Discourses of reciprocity and skilling in the UK xx

Snapshot: "Stories of now" in homeless activation xx

Zooming in: Voluntary work schemes for the homeless xx

Concluding remarks: Solidarity at the intersection of transnational trends, nation-state regimes and individual trajectories xx

Chapter 5: Language ideologies for negotiating positioning in the Emmaus social movement xx

Introduction xx

Two distinct visions of Emmaus as a movement xx

Emmaus as a "multi-national of the heart" xx

Emmaus as a rhizomatic network xx

Constructing positioning in Emmaus through language ideologies of lingua francas xx

Deproblematising language: French and Spanish as lingua francas in a Catalan community xx

Problematising language: Tensions between English and French in a recent English community xx

Concluding remarks: Ideologies of multilingualism and positioning in the

movement xx

Chapter 6: Linguistic nationalism and the erasure of multilingualism in local Emmaus communities xx

Constructing language: Between fixity and fluidity in localities xx

Fitting into (linguistic) nationalism xx

Emmaus London: Constructing a monolingual space in an English charity xx

Emmaus Barcelona: Tensions between monolingual and bilingual norms xx

Backgrounding multilingualism in everyday practices xx

Emmaus London: Institutional erasure of multilingual biographies xx

Emmaus Barcelona: Multilingualism and new migrants xx

Concluding remarks: Nationalist ideologies in a transnational social movement xx

Chapter 7: Language, transnational solidarity and utopia in an imagined community xx

Emmaus as a utopia made of "walking words" xx

What’s the (hi)story? Key findings about Emmaus as a social movement xx

Towards a sociolinguistics of transnationalism xx

What now? The story continues xx

Appendix 1: Universal Manifesto of the Emmaus movement (1969)

Appendix 2: Abbé Pierre’s Radio Appeal on 1st February 1954 (short version)

Appendix 3: Orientations – Propositions – Questions adopted at the 6th Emmaus International General Assembly in Verona (1988)

Appendix 4: Transcription conventions



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Maria Rosa Garrido Sardà is Lecturer in English Linguistics at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland