[Edling] CFP: Managing people with language: language policy, planning and practice in multilingual blue-collar workplaces: a global perspective

Francis Hult francis.hult at englund.lu.se
Mon Aug 15 04:28:21 EDT 2016

Managing people with language: language policy, planning and practice in multilingual blue-collar workplaces: a global perspective

Language Policy

Special Issue

Special Issue Editor: Kellie Gonçalves

Against the backdrop of global mobilities – the unprecedented circulation of people and socio-cultural practices – this special issue of Language Policy centers on the latest conditions of language policy, planning and practices taking place in diverse ‘blue-collar’ workplaces around the world as a result of the new globalized economy (Heller 2013). The perspective taken in this issue is that while globalization and transnational interdependencies (Vertovec 2009) are not new, they have and continue to affect the rise of a ‘new’, international division of labor (Lutz 2011), which, among other corollaries, effects how socio-cultural practices such as language are being utilized, conceptualized and managed in innovative and different ways (Pietikäinen et al. 2016) by both employers and employees in various workplace contexts (Duchêne & Heller 2012). As a result, language as a resource - whether symbolic, interactional, material or ideological - flows, changes and is used by specific and often very powerful agents (Menken & García 2010) to manage individuals in their everyday lives and workplaces.

In an era of capital expansion, we are witnessing new consumer markets that are being pursued for mass production as well as developing niche markets and symbolic forms of added value (Duchêne & Heller 2012; Heller 2013) accentuating how language has progressively turned into a commodity (Pietikäinen & Kelly-Holmes 2013) allowing privileged individuals access to specific markets while denying access to “un-globalized” individuals (Blommaert 2010). This line of research identifies that such linguistic consequences may hold true within neoliberal markets that outsource peripheral zones of First World countries, but at the same time, this knowledge requires us to re-evaluate the role of language within different economic spaces due to the rise of the service economy (Duchêne 2011), where the productivity of physical labor continues to be pervasive compelling us to acknowledge that blue-collar employees are indeed legitimate language workers despite their underrepresentation in current language and workplace studies (Lønsmann & Kraft, forthcoming).

This special issue of Language Policy is committed to bringing together empirical work by a diverse group of international scholars from various settings around the world to address the following questions, while taking into consideration how different political structures and transnational relations between institutions including labor markets affect the movement of blue-collar (and often migrant) workers globally:

•         How is communication managed between employers and employees from different socio-economic and socio-cultural backgrounds within diverse transnational fields?

•         How are communication and specific language policies and practices being shaped by broader socio-political and economic forces of states at the national, regional and local levels (Tollefson 1991)?

•         How do such processes relate to the present-day challenges and social inequality faced by blue-collar workers’ language resources and ensuing practices?

This special issue will add to existing literature on language policy and planning by addressing diverse topics within LPP studies that cover the methodological challenges (Ricento 2000; Hult & Johnson 2015; Gonçalves & Schluter 2016) of carrying out such work as well as expand our current theoretical understanding of LPP in domains and sites that are currently underrepresented (García & Kelly-Holmes 2016: 2). Topics include:

•         Examination of the ways in which language is being managed at different levels (ranging from the local to the national) and how such policies and ensuing practices perpetuate social inequality within blue-collar workplace settings across various transnational, majority-language and minority-speaking contexts.

•         Analysis of language practices within blue-collar workplace settings and diverse linguistic marketplaces (both private & public) on the micro-level, and how both overt and covert language policies affect and are shaped by individuals’ positions of class, race, ethnicity and gender within the political economy.

•         Consideration of the crucial role of language ideologies, multilingual practices and power dynamics with regard to labor markets and the specific economic arrangements of blue-collar workers vis-à-vis their employers.

•         Addressing and problematizing the methodological challenges of researching LPP within blue-collar workplace contexts and gaining access to informants, many of whom are also minority language speakers.

Authors interested in contributing should submit a title and abstract (up to 500 words) to the guest editor of the special thematic issue, Kellie Gonçalves (goncalves at ens.unibe.ch<mailto:goncalves at ens.unibe.ch>) by November 1, 2016. Subsequent to an initial abstract selection process, authors will be informed and invited to submit full papers for full double blind peer review to Language Policy by May 1st 2017. Publication of this special issue is anticipated for early 2018. For more information about the journal and author guidelines, see:


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