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Conference Information

Full Title: Digital Diasporas

Location: New Delhi, India
Start Date: 08-Sep-2013 - 13-Sep-2013
Contact: Theresa Heyd
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Panel Organizers:

Theresa Heyd
Christian Mair
English Department, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

The Internet is not only an agent of homogenization and Englishization but has (selectively) promoted multilingualism and destandardization (Danet and Herring 2007). Nowhere is this more obvious than in the case of post-colonial diasporas (e.g. Africa, the Caribbean, India) where a history of colonization, contemporary currents of migration driven by globalization and advances in communication technology have conspired to unsettle traditional norms of linguistic propriety and conceptions of identity. In recent debates, this trajectory has been discussed in terms of an emerging super-diversity. As Blommaert and Rampton (2011: 3) note, ‘migration movements from the 1990s onwards have coincided with the development of the Internet and mobile phones, and these have affected the cultural life of diaspora communities of all kinds.’

The diasporic situation, and the relative freedom of online language use, foster a climate of linguistic and cultural hyper-awareness which adds to the metalinguistic awareness that is characteristic of many CMC genres quite in general. These digital diasporas, then, are a rich and multi-faceted site to study a broad range of linguistic practices that are relevant to both sociolinguistic and pragmatic inquiry: crossing, code-switching and grassroots literacy; linguistic gatekeeping and language policing; group-specific norms of politeness, appropriateness, and appropriations of digital genres. Often these linguistic practices draw on both local and global resources; as Bhatt remarks, ‘(t)he post-colonial contexts present us with a vibrant site where local linguistic forms - inflected by the nexus of activities taking place elsewhere in time and space - are constantly transforming in response to asymmetric exchanges, pluralized histories, power plays, and battles over polysemous signs. The transformation makes available a semiotic space where a repertoire of identities evolves in the inter-animation of the colonial-global and of the indigenous local.’ (Bhatt 2010: 520)

Bhatt, Rakesh. 2010. ‘Unraveling post-colonial identity through language.’ In Nikolas Coupland, ed. Handbook of Language and Globalization. Malden MA: Blackwell. 520-539.
Blommaert, Jan and Ben Rampton. 2011. ‘Language and super-diversity.’ Diversities 13(2): 1-22.
Danet, Brenda, and Susan Herring, eds. 2007. The Multilingual Internet: Language, Culture, and Communication Online. Oxford: OUP.
Linguistic Subfield: Anthropological Linguistics; Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics
LL Issue: 23.4068

This is a session of the following meeting:
13th International Pragmatics Conference

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