Social meanings of language policy in Pakistan

By March 21, 2013News
Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development presents global research seminar about language-in-education policy in Pakistan

Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development presents global research seminar about language-in-education policy in Pakistan

The Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development presents a global research seminar:

Topic: Social Meanings of language policy and practices: A critical linguistic ethnographic study of four schools in Pakistan

Presenter: Muhammad Ali Khan

Date: Friday, March 22, 2013
Time: 2:00 pm, West Asia Time (Islamabad, GMT+05:00)

Abstract: I investigate the language-in-education policy and practices of Pakistan in four schools, using an interdisciplinary approach combining methods and perspectives from post-structuralist theory, critical ethnographic sociolinguistics and sociolinguistics. My study theorizes the ways in which everyday language practices in schools contribute to the reproduction or contestation of linguistic ideologies, language hierarchies and social relations. Data was gathered using a number of different methods, mainly observation, audio-recording, note-taking, interviews, photography and administering a questionnaire.

The findings suggest that languages on display in schools are an important resource for investigating the language policy, linguistic ideologies, hierarchies and power relations at micro, meso and macro levels. They constitute a sociolinguistic order in which standard varieties of English and Urdu dominate the public space. The orthographic aspects of languages on display reconstitute the socio-political and economic struggles embedded in the history of asymmetrical power relations. At the policy level, they show a clear contradiction between the spoken language practices observed in schools and the clearly defined boundaries between languages shown in the display. At the policy level, they misrepresent the multilingual makeup of Pakistani society by only displaying the officially-mandated languages.

In sum, this seminar engages with the field of language policy and bilingual education by showing how the study of languages on display can be used to investigate policy, and also the socio-political relations across time and space. It also contributes to bilingual education by illustrating the complexity involved at the implementation site of bilingual education, showing the agency of the actors in appropriating, negotiating, resisting or rejecting policy at micro levels.

Presenter: Muhammad Ali Khan is a doctoral researcher at Lancaster University and senior instructor in the Center of English Language at Aga Khan University.

How to join online:

Date: Friday, March 22, 2013
Time: 2:00 pm, West Asia Time (Islamabad, GMT+05:00)
Meeting Number: 627 529 273
Meeting Password: 12345

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