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Multilingualism in Public, Private and Non-Governmental Institutions

Thursday, May 14, 2009 (All day)

Time: 3:30-5pm

Speaker: Melissa G. Moyer is a Research Fellow at Birkbeck's Institute for the Humanities and an

Associate Professor of English Linguistics at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.


Venue: Room 103, Clore Management Centre, Birkbeck, Torrington Square, London, WC1 7HX

Details: Transnational migration and the increasing interconnectedness of people from around the globe have made multilingualism and linguistic diversity a reality in everyday institutional life in Spain. Institutions - private, public and non-governmental - within nation-states can no longer offer their services in a single language to an increasingly diverse clientele from different language and cultural backgrounds. A look at institutions at this point in time tests the boundaries of state regulation of new populations. It also provides insights on how the state is constructing the ?new citizen? and what consequences this has for access to material and symbolic resources in local communities. Institutions play a role in the legitimization of systems of regulation and hence those spaces for appropriation as well as potential subversion. 

This talk examines how the neo-liberal shift is taking place in the functioning of the State and its agencies and the challenge linguistic and cultural diversity are posing to traditional ways of communicating and providing service.  More specifically, this paper analyzes the ways the State through language is controlling and regulating the behavior of new citizens.