As “an attempt at a comprehensive political stance on language” (Stroud 2008:45), ‘Linguistic Citizenship’ (LC) deserves to be a mainstream concept in socio- and applied linguistics. But the evaluation of its potential needs to be context-sensitive, reckoning with the specifics of the environments where it is taken up. In this chapter, we review LC’s relevance to the UK, focusing on the ways in which we have been working with it at the Hub for Education & Language Diversity (www.kcl.ac.uk/held). HELD aligns with LC’s commitment to democratic participation, to voice, to the heterogeneity of linguistic resources, and to the political value of linguistic understanding, as well as with LC’s emphasis on ground-level citizenship acts and practices, and its profound embedding in socio- and applied linguistics. But education and everyday life are also influenced by state-centred definitions of citizenship, bringing state policy and provision into focus at HELD, as well as the role that universities can play promoting LC. The chapter also discusses two concepts we have been working with that complement Linguistic Citizenship: the ‘Total Linguistic Fact’, an encapsulation of sociolinguistic thought that can be turned to the practical planning of classroom activity, bringing out its ideological dynamics; and the ‘diasporic local’, which creates new possibilities for multi-directional communication and learning by dispensing with ‘non-citizen outsider’ as a hegemonic classification in language teaching and language teacher education.
|Working Papers in Urban Language & Literacies
- Linguistic citizenship