[lg policy] Power and Sociolinguistics

Francis Hult francis.hult at UTSA.EDU
Wed Apr 13 14:40:19 UTC 2011

As an introductory overview on this topic, I also like Mesthrie's chapter 'Critical Sociolinguistics: Approaches to Language and Power' (ch. 10) from the textbook:
Mesthrie, R., J. Swann, A Deumert & W.L. Leap (2000).  Introducing sociolinguistics.  Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Francis M. Hult, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies
University of Texas at San Antonio
Web: http://faculty.coehd.utsa.edu/fhult/ <http://faculty.coehd.utsa.edu/fhult/> 
New Book in 2011: Educational Linguistics in Practice: Applying the Local Globally and the Global Locally
http://www.multilingual-matters.com/display.asp?isb=9781847693525 <https://ruby1604.utsa.edu/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.multilingual-matters.com/display.asp?isb=9781847693525> 
New Book in 2010: Directions and Prospects for Educational Linguistics
http://www.springer.com/education+%26+language/linguistics/book/978-90-481-9135-2 <http://www.springerlink.com/content/978-90-481-9135-2> 


From: lgpolicy-list-bounces+francis.hult=utsa.edu at groups.sas.upenn.edu on behalf of Gareth Price
Sent: Wed 4/13/2011 9:33 AM
To: lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu
Subject: [lg policy] Power and Sociolinguistics

Dear All,

I've always found Pennycook (2001, esp. chs. 3 & 4) to be a really good (and somewhat rare) discussion of the concept of power from a (socio)linguistic perspective. It deals with aspects of critical theory and how these concepts can be deployed in studying language education and sociolinguistics. It probably won't magically resolve our current dilemma about the minority/majority distinction, but it might be a helpful starting point.

I'm a self-described a political sociologist of language or political sociolinguist who did my PhD jointly-supervised in the Ling Dept. and Sociology Dept. at Essex (as did Dave Sayers). I've found it extremely frustrating over the years that, as Christina says, sociolinguists haven't really been concerned with theorising power, and those political sociologists who do theorise power almost always neglect language. And it's not just the paucity of published material - it's actually the lack of dialogue between scholars in the two disciplines. It felt like I spent most of my time trying to get people from the two departments to sit down and see what they had in common!

Pennycook, Alastair (2001). Critical Applied Linguistics: A Critical Introduction. (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum)


Gareth Price
Visiting Assistant Professor
Linguistics Program
Duke University 
316 Languages Building, Box 90259 
Durham, NC 27708-0259

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