Sociolinguistics and everyday (in)securitisation

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Sociolinguistics and everyday (in)securitisation

This Journal of Sociolinguistics dialogue starts from the perception that existential threats to national security have become an increasingly pervasive concern in daily life, spreading fear and suspicion through civil society. Communicative practices play a central role in these processes of (in)securitisation, but sociolinguists appear to have paid them less attention than they deserve. So in what follows, six researchers discuss the significance of (in)securitisation for our everyday experience and the implications for sociolinguistic theory and research.
The dialogue opens with Ben Rampton and Constadina Charalambous, who introduce the concept of (in)securitisation from International Relations research and sketch potential connections and challenges to standard sociolinguistic theories and concepts. Then the four papers that follow pick this up from different angles in different geographic locations. Ariana Mangual Figueroa discusses (in)securitisation’s radical impact on research relationships in ethnography, focusing on the US. Zeena Zakharia addresses the effects of large-scale conflict on language education, both in the US and Lebanon. Erez Levon considers the connections between nationalism and sexuality, brings in the strategies with which gay and lesbian Israelis navigate the insecuritising discourses they encounter. Then Rodney Jones discusses the interactional dynamics of surveillance, moving between police encounters and the internet to show the thin line between protection and precarity. At the end of the dialogue, we address three questions, collaboratively reaffirming the urgency of these issues, the significance of (in)securitisation in everyday communicative practice, and the ramifications for sociolinguistics.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • security
  • sociolinguistics
  • ethnography
  • interaction


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