1st Edition

The Politics of Palestinian Multilingualism Speaking for Citizenship

By Nancy Hawker Copyright 2019
    204 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    204 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Politics of Palestinian Multilingualism: Speaking for Citizenship provides an essential contribution to understanding the politics of Israel/Palestine through the prism of sociolinguistics and discourse analysis. Arabic-speakers who also know Hebrew resort to a range of communicative strategies for their political ideas to be heard: they either accommodate or resist the Israeli institutional suppression of Arabic. They also codeswitch and borrow from Hebrew as well as from Arabic registers and styles in order to mobilise discursive authority. On political and cultural stages, multilingual Palestinian politicians and artists challenge the existing political structures. In the late capitalist market, language skills are re-packaged as commodified resources. With new evidence from recent and historical discourse, this book is about how speakers of a marginalised, contained language engage with the political system in the idioms at their disposal.

    The Politics of Palestinian Multilingualism: Speaking for Citizenship is key reading for advanced students and scholars of multilingualism, language contact, ideology, and policy, within sociolinguistics, anthropology, politics, and Middle Eastern studies.

    Introduction: A discourse-analytical exploration of the citizenship of Palestinians

    Chapter 1: The contestation of Arabic on Zionist stages

    Chapter 2: Linguistically navigating ‘mixed’ social settings in contexts of segregation

    Chapter 3: Expressing styles for discursive authority

    Chapter 4: Anxious attitudes, confident practices: the ambivalence of late capitalism

    Conclusion: The political scientist is the sociolinguist’s friend  

    Epilogue: A personal journey through language teaching and learning ideologies






    Nancy Hawker (DPhil University of Oxford 2013) has finished a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Oxford, UK. She is a research fellow at the Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, London.

    "This important book is a powerful reminder that language is deeply intertwined with state practices, ideology and power. In the case of Israel, the hegemony of Hebrew over Arabic and other languages results in everyday Palestinian multilingual navigations that are inherently political, as Hawker ably shows."

    Yasmeen Abu-Laban, Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Politics of Citizenship and Human Rights, The University of Alberta, Canada

    "A sobering contribution to the unveiling of Israel's repressive and marginalizing policies against its Palestinian citizens, Nancy Hawker's fascinating sociolinguistic lens and passionate fieldwork show how third-class citizens create cracks in hegemonic structures and carve out discursive spaces of humor, boldness and talent which defy determinism."

    Amira Hass, journalist and author

    "In this extraordinary and compelling book, Dr. Nancy Hawker captures the complex play of politics on the Arabic/Hebrew interface, showing the effects of modern late capitalism and Israeli state policies on multilingual Palestinian Arabs. Contributing new understandings of language avoidance and social class, this book is a must-read in linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, and Middle Eastern studies."

    Norma Mendoza-Denton, Professor of Anthropology, University of California at Los Angeles, USA

    "The Politics of Palestinian Multilingualism is a tour-de-force thick description, examining the discursive and multilingual repertoires employed by Palestinians to escape the politico-linguistic straitjacket in Israel where Arabic is repressed and suppressed. It is a wonderful multidisciplinary welcomed addition to the slim shelf of literature on language as politics and politics as language."

    Yehouda Shenhav, Professor of Sociology, Tel Aviv University, Israel