The speaking citizen
in Uncertain citizenship
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The chapter is concerned with the current common-sense politics around language, integration and citizenship that pervades most Western European countries, and where language is deemed a civil right that enables individual and social cohesion – jus linguarum (David Gramling’s term). Drawing on a raciolinguistic approach, the chapter argues that the disappearance of ‘national language’ as a constructed category allows for the disappearance of other categories, such as whiteness. Situating British language requirements in the colonial history of the rise of English as a ‘world language’, the chapter shows how a form of ‘provincialised English’ arises from the tensions between the inevitability of multilingualism in today’s global world, the status of English as a ‘world’ language, and the insistence of English as the ‘national’ language. The chapter then examines the effects of provincialising English and ongoing linguistic inequities as they are lived on the ground, and exposes how jus linguarum is normalised and naturalised through practices of verbal and audial hygiene. The chapter concludes with a discussion the effects of jus linguarum on the normalisation of white English monolingualism and on the ‘migratisation’ or ‘racialisation’ of those who speak otherwise.

Uncertain citizenship

Life in the waiting room


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