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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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Conference Information



Full Title: Borders, Discourses, Identity

      
Location: New Delhi, India
Start Date: 09-Sep-2013 - 12-Sep-2013
Contact: Concha Maria Hoefler
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Borders - visible or invisible - constantly surround people everywhere in their daily lives. Popescu (2012, 22) highlights how borders in society define in-groups. According to him, they are ‘identity-constitutive, yet at the same time they can also be erected as a result of discourse-constituted group-identity’. Politically and socially, borders are constitutive for the nation state and, nowadays, for ever larger political entities like the European Union. Political borders, however, are but one example of borders. Our focus goes beyond this macro level analysis and deeper. We are interested in investigating the culturally constituted and shaped emergence of borders between different groups. This proceeds from members of different ethnicities cohabitating shared spaces, taking borders between languages, language varieties and styles as methodological starting points on the meso level that are negotiated interactively on the micro level and narrowing the perspective all the way down to further borders existing between conversational turns and linguistic structures on the nano level (Arendt 2011).

At the crossing between sociology, politics, linguistics and anthropology and with the aim to develop a theory of the border exceeding mere territorial definitions, we promote an interdisciplinary approach by differentiating between three layers of border quality: We distinguish a durable quality from a permeable border and consider more extended border zones as liminal. Combining these three categories with the four dichotomies described by Paasi (1996) (We, they, here, there) leads to twelve theoretically possible sub-classifications. Empirically, our point of departure is the premise that group identity does not exist a priori (cf. Brubaker 2004) but is done by speakers who interactively negotiate borders. Analyzing the constitution of group identities along border discourses from only one discipline inevitably yields a picture lacking depth. Therefore, we aim to investigate group identity processes through a cooperative endeavor that enjoins linguists, sociologists, anthropologists and political scientists. Thus, a holistic description of the borders that enforce or are constituted by these discourses will emerge, helping along the development of a general theory of the border.

References:

Arendt, Birte (2011): ‘Laientheoretische Konzeptionen von ‘Sprache’ und ‘Dialekt’ am Beispiel des Niederdeutschen. Eine kontextsensitive Analyse von Spracheinstellungs-äußerungen sowie ihre metho-dologische Fundierung’. In: Niederdeutsches Wort. Beiträge zur Niederdeutschen Philologie 51, 133-162.

Brubaker, Rogers (2004): Ethnicity without Groups. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Paasi, Anssi (1996): Territories, Boundaries, and Consciousness: The Changing Geographies of the Finnish-Russian Boundary. Chichester: Wiley & Sons.

Popescu, Gabriel (2012): Bordering and Ordering the Twenty-first Century. Understanding Borders. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. (= Human Geography in the new Millenium: Issues and Applications.)
Linguistic Subfield: Anthropological Linguistics; Discourse Analysis; Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics
LL Issue: 23.4057

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

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