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Languages and Linguistic Exchanges in Swedish Academia: Practices, Processes, and Globalizing Markets
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3997-1149
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Based on four separate studies, this thesis deals with Swedish academia and its dwellers, with an eye toward accounting for matters of languages and linguistic exchanges. The perspectives and thinking-tools of Pierre Bourdieu form the basis of the main leitmotif, albeit extended with insights from linguistic anthropology and sociolinguistics. Methods employed include historical analysis as well as ethnographic approaches. Study 1 analyzes the historical events and language ideological labor through which English has come to be seen as a sociolinguistic problem in Swedish language planning and policy (LPP). At the focus is the notion of ‘domain loss,’ which is interpreted as a resource in the struggle to safeguard the Swedish language. Study 2 deals with the increasing importance of English in academic publishing in two disciplinary fields of Swedish academia: history and psychology. In history, in particular, English and the transnational publishing markets it bargains currently seem to offer new ways of advancing in the competition of the field, which is encouraged by the will and ensuing managerial techniques of contemporary research policy. Study 3, however, shows that this fact does not entail that Swedish is not being used as a scientific language. In the research practices preceding finalized texts in English, Swedish-speaking researchers in physics and computer science use technical and discipline-specific Swedish both orally and in writing. The principle that upholds the logic of ‘Swedish among Swedish-speakers’ is crucial also with respect to the ability of Swedish researchers to write up scientific texts in Swedish. Exploring the writing practices of a computer scientist and his successful first-time performance of two scientific texts in Swedish, study 4 shows that texts in Swedish can be produced by assembling experiences from previous discursive encounters throughout a researcher’s biographically specific discursive history. In summary, the thesis argues that while English increasingly prevails in publishing, much knowledge previously produced and reproduced on these matters within the field of LPP has tended to overstate the dominance of English, and with that, the sociolinguistic implications of the current state of affairs. The thesis proposes that Bourdieu’s work offers some purchase in attempts to engender in-depth knowledge on the position of English vis-à-vis Swedish in the globalizing markets of Swedish academia, and that epistemic reflexivity, in particular, is a pivotal driver in such an agenda. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Stockholm University , 2016. , 114 p.
Series
Dissertations in Bilingualism, ISSN 1400-5921 ; 26
Keyword [en]
English in Sweden, language planning and policy, epistemic reflexivity, language ideology, entextualization, Bourdieu, habitus, field
National Category
Specific Languages General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Bilingualism
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-127179ISBN: 978-91-7649-326-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-127179DiVA: diva2:907250
Public defence
2016-04-26, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript.

Available from: 2016-04-01 Created: 2016-02-26 Last updated: 2017-02-24Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Language ideology and shifting representations of linguistic threats: a Bourdieusian re-reading of the conceptual history of domain loss in Sweden’s field of language planning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Language ideology and shifting representations of linguistic threats: a Bourdieusian re-reading of the conceptual history of domain loss in Sweden’s field of language planning
2014 (English)In: English in Nordic Universities: Ideologies and Practices / [ed] Anna Kristina Hultgren, Frans Gregersen, Jacob Thøgersen, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2014, 83-110 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This chapter presents a sociological account of the language ideological representations underpinning discourses about perceived threats from English in Sweden. The objective is to contextualize the conceptual history of “domain loss” within Sweden’s field of language planning, in conjunction with crossing discourses about minority languages and EU membership. With Bourdieu, the safeguarding of Swedish is comprehended as linked to struggles where the role of the nation-state is set in flux, opening up linguistic markets beyond its control. As a product of the relation between agents’ habitus and the field, domain loss has served to legitimize discourses about the disestablishment of the national language regime, which is interpreted as a strategy to defend the market into which agents have invested capital. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2014
Series
Studies in world language problems, ISSN 1572-1183 ; 5
Keyword
field, language planning, domain loss, language ideology, indexicality
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology) Languages and Literature
Research subject
Bilingualism
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108299 (URN)10.1075/wlp.5.04sal (DOI)9789027228369 (ISBN)
Available from: 2014-10-18 Created: 2014-10-18 Last updated: 2016-02-26Bibliographically approved
2. The sociolinguistics of academic publishing: A relational approach to language choice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The sociolinguistics of academic publishing: A relational approach to language choice
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study presents a sociolinguistics of academic publishing in historical as well as in contemporary times. From the perspective of Swedish academia, it unites a wide range of scholarly knowledge, including perspectives from the sociology of science, history of science and ideas, and research policy. The study focuses on pub­lishing practices in the empirical realities of two disciplinary fields, history and psychology. Drawing on facts and figures from publishing practices as well as inter­views, the study argues that English is currently making inroads into the field of history, in line with and aided by the field-external power of new regimes of research evaluation and performance-based funding impinging on the university field at large. In the field of history, unlike in psychology, the English language is thus currently a weapon since it provides access to international publishing markets where new forms of scientific authority can be obtained. This option seems to be most compel­ling for junior scholars seeking to enter the field. Fol­lowing Bourdieu, publishing in English is here interpreted as pertaining to a social strategy, enacted in pur­suit of investing differently, so as to subvert the order of the historical field. 

Keyword
academic publishing, language choice
National Category
Specific Languages Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology) History of Ideas
Research subject
Bilingualism
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-127177 (URN)
Available from: 2016-02-26 Created: 2016-02-26 Last updated: 2016-03-10Bibliographically approved
3. The linguistic sense of placement: Habitus and the entextualization of translingual practices in Swedish academia
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The linguistic sense of placement: Habitus and the entextualization of translingual practices in Swedish academia
2015 (English)In: Journal of Sociolinguistics, ISSN 1360-6441, E-ISSN 1467-9841, Vol. 19, no 4, 511-534 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper adopts a Bourdieusian approach to discourse in contemporary Swedish academia. Habitus, entextualization, and translingual practice are employed as epistemological perspectives for investigating the place of Swedish in the text trajectories of two disciplines where English prevails in publishing. Data from meeting recordings, email correspondence, and interviews show that Swedish is the legitimate language throughout in the text production and that discipline-specific Swedish is practiced so long as it encompasses all participants’ repertoires. In fact, the researchers point to an almost physical awkwardness linked to the unwarranted use of English among themselves. Following Bourdieu, it is argued that these sensibilities pertain to the linguistic sense of placement of socialized agents and that the unease of being out of place prevents them from lapsing into what is socially perceived as unacceptable discourse in their translingual practices. 

Abstract [sv]

Artikeln tar ett bourdieuskt grepp på diskurs i forskningspraktiker i Sverige. Med begreppen habitus, entextualisering och translingval praktik undersöks svenskans plats i de praktiker som föregår texter på engelska i två discipliner där engelska dominerar i publicering. Mötesinspelningar och mejlkorrespondens visar att svenska används mellan svensktalande forskare, vilka ser det som främmande att opåkallat tala engelska sinsemellan. Denna trögrörliga regelbundenhet förstås med ett socialt kompetensbegrepp, där tonvikten ligger vid individens inkorporering av språkliga marknadsförhållanden över tid. “Den språkliga placeringskänslan” (Bourdieu 1991) sätter fingret på hur människor “vet sin plats” rent språkligt, därför att de har en biografiskt införlivad känsla för värdet av sina språkliga resurser i relation till vad som värderas på olika marknader. Denna praktiska kunskap, djupt nedärvd i människors praktiker och habitus, används reflexivt för att förutse vad som utgör legitimt språk i språkliga utbyten. På grund av denna känsla, hävdas det, används svenska i forskningspraktiken.  

Keyword
English in Sweden, the linguistic sense of placement, habitus, language choice, entextualization, translingual practice
National Category
Specific Languages General Language Studies and Linguistics Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Bilingualism
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-121355 (URN)10.1111/josl.12147 (DOI)000362204500004 ()
Available from: 2015-09-29 Created: 2015-09-29 Last updated: 2016-02-26Bibliographically approved
4. Performance of unprecedented genres: interdiscursivity in the writing practices of a Swedish researcher
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Performance of unprecedented genres: interdiscursivity in the writing practices of a Swedish researcher
2014 (English)In: Language & Communication, ISSN 0271-5309, E-ISSN 1873-3395, Vol. 37, 12-28 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates the sociolinguistic repertoire and writing practices of a Swedish computer science researcher and his first-time performance of unprecedented genres. Since the use of written computerese Swedish has no historical anchorage in the social practices of his discipline, texts-to-text relationships cannot be drawn from as models of action. Lacking this option, the researcher construes type and token interdiscursive connectivity from iconic Swedish and English texts and from prior discursive events of using academic Swedish orally. The resources comprising an individual’s repertoire are, thus, significantly transposable across languages, modes and genres, when they are enacted in new discursive events.

Keyword
English in Sweden, Unprecedented genre, Sociolinguistic repertoire, Interdiscursivity
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Bilingualism
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-105966 (URN)10.1016/j.langcom.2014.04.001 (DOI)000338609000002 ()
Available from: 2014-07-09 Created: 2014-07-09 Last updated: 2016-03-10Bibliographically approved

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