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The sociolinguistics of academic publishing: A relational approach to language choice
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3997-1149
(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 [en]
academic publishing, language choice
National Category
Specific Languages Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology) History of Ideas
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-127177OAI: diva2:907238
Available from: 2016-02-26 Created: 2016-02-26 Last updated: 2016-03-10Bibliographically 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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Salö, Linus
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Centre for Research on Bilingualism
Specific LanguagesSociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)History of Ideas

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