David Block, ICREA & Universitat Pompeu Fabra presents:
Class, Race and Critical Language Policy and Planning in 21st Century Catalonia
Abstract: Language policy and planning (LPP) has always drawn on research and scholarship in education as well as the social sciences in general (in particular sociology). Social theory has also figured as an important source of ideas and concepts, and critical LPP has arisen as a distinct strand of inquiry since the 1980s. More recently, some critical LPP researchers have begun to turn to political economy, as a source discipline, and neoliberalism, as a baseline concept, in the study of LPP-related phenomena and practices in a range of contexts. This paper examines how a critical political economy-oriented approach may be applied in a specific context, that of Catalonia, where most would agree that there has been a relatively successful recovery of a minority language situated in a larger nation-state structure traditionally dominated by a monolingual (Spanish) polity. This critical approach explores, on the one hand, how political economy - which examines the power relations that mutually constitute the production, distribution, and consumption of resources and the class relations that emerge within these processes - may be brought to bear on issues arising in the ongoing development of LPP in Catalonia. In addition, this critical approach is attentive to issues around race and ethnicity which inevitably arise in societies experiencing high levels of immigration, as has been the case in Catalonia over the past 30 years. This paper aims to bring these two strands together, examining how two key matters of interest in political economy today– inequality and class – interrelate with race and ethnicity in the ongoing development of language policy in Catalonia. And further to this, it aims to understand how these factors are, at the same time, intersected by the nexus of a Catalan national, cultural and linguistic identity emerging from the aforementioned relatively successful recovery of Catalan over the past several decades.
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