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LINGUIST List 23.4057

Mon Oct 01 2012

Calls: Socioling, Anthropological Ling, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis/India

Editor for this issue: Alison Zaharee <alisonlinguistlist.org>

Date: 28-Sep-2012
From: Concha Maria Hoefler <hoeflereuropa-uni.de>
Subject: Borders, Discourses, Identity
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Full Title: Borders, Discourses, Identity

Date: 09-Sep-2013 - 12-Sep-2013
Location: New Delhi, India
Contact Person: Concha Maria Hoefler
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics; Discourse Analysis; Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics

Call Deadline: 15-Oct-2012

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.


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.)

Call for Papers:

We welcome contributions on the discursive construction, perception, negotiation and contestation of border(s) and identities from sociology, politics, linguistics and anthropology that either explore (parts of) the framework proposed above or extend and question it. Abstracts of 300 words (excluding references) should be sent as attachments to hoeflereuropa-uni.de in odt, pdf, rtf, doc, or docx format. Notification of acceptance will be sent by October 25, 2012.

Note that IPrA membership is required for submitting an abstract (with all deadlines in 2012) as well as for presenting during the conference (in 2013), and that membership always runs from 1 January to 31 December, no matter at what time in the year it is applied for.

Please consult:


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