The next seminar of the 2012 series of Applied Linguistics seminars at Macquarie University will be held next week:
Linguistic diversity and social justice
Ingrid Piller, Macquarie University
Abstract: My current research focus is on the intersection between linguistic diversity and social justice at local, national and global levels. I am interested in the ways in which language has become an increasingly important basis of socio-economic stratification in the current globalized neoliberal economic order. In this presentation I will focus specifically on the discursive construction of language learning as a form of human capital accumulation. Neoliberalism prescribes market solutions to all social problems, including those of inequality. In this model, individuals are exhorted to invest into enhancing their human capital and opportunity becomes an individual responsibility. Language is ideally suited as a marker of distinction in this model because unlike most other key bases for social stratification (e.g., class, gender, race) it is relatively fluid and – seemingly – not inscribed in the body. The discursive construction of language learning as an individual responsibility, however, conflicts with the experience of the relatively static linguistic habitus of adults. More so than most bases of social stratification, language thus dissimulates its operation.
Time and venue: Monday, March 19, 12noon-1pm, Macquarie University, W5C 221