Three partly overlapping projects in the sociolinguistic study of super-diversity:
The sociolinguistics of super-diversity, Cape Town
The overall challenge consists in exploring how people use linguistic and, more generally, semiotic resources in order to reproduce, resist or rearrange existing or emerging patterns of diversity in dynamic interactive contexts such as learning, labour, socialisation, play, and every day or ‘high’ performance, etc. Patterns of diversity can be argued to gain complexity and unpredictability through on-going transnational exchange. The migration flows and the use of new information and communication technologies, which constitute the latter, reach exceptional density and multi-layeredness in urban contexts.
The Sociolinguistics of Super-diversity, Cape Town, works across various sites and locales within the Greater Cape Town area. The types of sites that are the subject of ethnographic reconnaissance and whose surroundings are subject to linguistic landscaping and audio and visual archiving are
(a) music studios and related sites of music production and consumption,
(b) martial arts clubs and sites of martial arts related activity in different sectors of security: vigilantes, security agents, regular security forces (police, state police, army).
The ethnographic scope could be extended, and/or the above sites could be either replaced or supplemented by
(a) for music: radio stations, concerts, festivals, music clubs, nightclubs, etc.,
(b) for martial arts: other sports clubs, such as football, clubs and supporter groups.
The locales where these sites will be researched are the townships of Gugulethu, Khayelitsha, Kuils River, Manenberg and Wesbank, as well as the Southern suburb of Observatory in Cape Town.
Language factories Cape Town, Kinshasa, Abidjan and Brussels
This project extends the research undertaken in Cape Town to three other cities: Kinshasa, Abidjan, and Brussels while looking into particular flows between these interconnected cities.
Towards a survey of language use and learning in Africa
This project extends and systematises the research undertaken in Cape Town, Kinshasa, Abidjan, and Brussels in order to prepare a more comprehensive sociolinguistic survey modelled after the Survey of Language Use and Teaching in Eastern Africa of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Further projects involving members of the Working Group:
Investigating discourses of inheritance and identity in four multilingual European settings (2010-2012)
This project was a Joint Research Programme (JRP) funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) and led by Adrian Blackledge. Globalization and global mobility are creating multilingual and multi-ethnic societies throughout Europe and beyond. ‘Inheritance’ and ‘identity’ are no longer necessarily tied to the nation-state. Rather, allegiances and cultural traditions travel across national boundaries, as diasporic groups differentially retain affiliation to national heritage, and global communication transcends raditional borders. Many parts of Europe are now characterised by ‘super-diversity’, distinguished by a dynamic interplay of variables among multiple-origin, transnationally connected migrants. Modes of migrant transnationalism, negotiated in everyday interactions, remain seriously understudied. This sociolinguistic ethnographic project investigates how multilingual young people negotiate ‘inheritance’ and ‘identity’ in four European settings. Young people of migrant heritage in Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, and England may identify with a distant territory, but also ‘belong’ in their present home, and in global popular culture. In this study a research team across four universities investigates how cultural heritage and identity are discursively constructed in and beyond educational settings, and how multilingual young people negotiate inheritance and belonging. The project extends current understandings of cultural heritage and local, national, and global identities.
Members of the Working Group involved in the project are: Adrian Blackledge, Jan Blommaert, Jens Normann Jørgensen, Kasper Juffermans, Angela Creese, Lian Malai Madsen, and Janus Spindler Møller.
Linguistic and Communicative Superdiversity – a Challenge for Europe
The aim of this project is to prepare an articulated and thoroughly argued proposal for specific content of Horizon 2020 – the Framework Program for Research and Innovation aiming at language and communication in super-diverse societies. In pursuing this goal the intention is to build on an existing, well-functioning group of European scholars and create an extended network of scholars who study the same issues from different angles.