Dienstag, 04. Dezember 2018, 18:30 - 20:00 iCal

Public Lecture: Prof Patricia Lamarre, Montréal

(Département de didactique, Université de Montréal, Canada)

"Ethnographic research on language practices and linguistic categorization in Montreal: Challenging established research methods and the discourse of threat"

Hörsaal 1, Institut für Sprachwissenschaft (1. Stock)
Sensengasse 3a, 1090 Wien

Antrittsvorlesung, Public Lecture

Language policy in Quebec/Canada, as in many other contexts, has long been anchored in assumptions as to what constitutes an ethnolinguistic group, which in turn are founded on an understanding of language and language speakers as clearly delimited, bounded entities, that can easily be identified and measured (Heller, 2007). These assumptions are treated as “facts” and were elaborated in earlier contexts (the 60s and 70s) and framed by national tensions and issues currently challenged by a rapidly shifting demographic.

In Canada (and Quebec), a fairly long tradition of collaboration between researchers and policy makers exists and demographers, political scientists, and social psychologists have played key roles in census taking and large studies of language issues. Ethnographers and linguistic anthropologists, however, have only fairly recently joined in these discussions. In this presentation, I will address how research from a linguistic anthropology perspective brings more complex understandings of language and language speakers to the traditional framing of language politics and policy in Quebec. Profoundly disruptive in many ways and sometimes met with considerable resistance, the contribution of critical linguistic anthropology to the debate on language has the potential to open doors to new ways of moving forward in studying language in Canada and to designing policy for the 21st century.

In this presentation, I will draw on different studies I have undertaken in Montreal with young plurilingual adults of immigrant background and with young « francophones de souche ». I will focus on how categories originally created by researchers for the use of measurement have become labels for identity and the categorization of others, and how discourse on language within political projects have become stakes in everyday interactions.

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Wiener Sprachgesellschaft


Mi-Cha Flubacher
Institut für Sprachwissenschaft
Angewandte Sprachwissenschaft