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The linguistic sense of placement: Habitus and the entextualization of translingual practices in Swedish academia
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3997-1149
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.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 19, no 4, 511-534 p.
Keyword [en]
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
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-121355DOI: 10.1111/josl.12147ISI: 000362204500004OAI: diva2:857688
Available from: 2015-09-29 Created: 2015-09-29 Last updated: 2016-02-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Languages and Linguistic Exchanges in Swedish Academia: Practices, Processes, and Globalizing Markets
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Languages and Linguistic Exchanges in Swedish Academia: Practices, Processes, and Globalizing Markets
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.
Dissertations in Bilingualism, ISSN 1400-5921 ; 26
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
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-127179 (URN)978-91-7649-326-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-04-26, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)

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: 2016-03-18Bibliographically approved

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