Language Policies and (Dis)Citizenship Rights, Access, Pedagogies Edited by: Vaidehi Ramanathan

Hardback - 312 pages
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07 Aug 2013
Multilingual Matters
210 x 148


This volume explores the concept of 'citizenship', and argues that it should be understood both as a process of becoming and the ability to participate fully, rather than as a status that can be inherited, acquired, or achieved. From a courtroom in Bulawayo to a nursery in Birmingham, the authors use local contexts to foreground how the vulnerable, particularly those from minority language backgrounds, continue to be excluded, whilst offering a powerful demonstration of the potential for change offered by individual agency, resistance and struggle. In addressing questions such as 'under what local conditions does "dis-citizenship" happen?'; 'what role do language policies and pedagogic practices play?' and 'what kinds of margins and borders keep humans from fully participating'? The chapters in this volume shift the debate away from visas and passports to more uncertain and contested spaces of interpretation.


In this thought-provoking volume, Vaidehi Ramanathan and colleagues push forward the boundaries of research on language and citizenship, foregrounding human agency and the situated and processual nature of citizenship. The volume opens with a beautifully written, agenda-setting Introduction by Ramanathan and then, in the chapters that follow, we encounter detailed and illuminating accounts of the ways in which language practices are bound up with situated citizenship processes at work in different social and political contexts.

- Marilyn Martin-Jones, University of Birmingham, UK

Citizenship has become the major bureaucratic mechanism extensively used nowadays to grant and deny basic human rights for education, residence and well being. Whether via language as a condition for reside or visas as the right of children to learn, citizenship has become the controlling device for everyday lives of million of disadvantaged people world wide. In this most stimulating book Professor Vaidehi Ramanathan, along with major distinguished and thoughtful authors, has created a brilliant critical text that documents and analyzes the phenomenon in a multiple range of settings world-wide focusing on ages, pedagogies, policies, languages, gender and access.

- Elana Shohamy, Tel Aviv University, Israel

This is an excellent collection of articles, thoughtfully compiled by an insightful and innovative editor. Topics cover a range of important contemporary issues in diverse regions of the world. A significant contribution to applied linguistics.

- Bonny Norton, Professor and Distinguished University Scholar, University of British Columbia, Canada

This is an exceptional and refreshing book which presents rigorous and significant research on language policy and citizenship. Authors develop a critical stance to illustrate how the vulnerable continue to be excluded from many institutions while simultaneously offering an uplifting account of how human agency, resistance and struggle can offer vital alternatives. It is relevant to a wide audience and should be compulsory reading for those in the social sciences, education and applied linguistics at both undergraduate and graduate level.

- Angela Creese, University of Birmingham, UK

By investigating the link between (dis)citizenship, globalization and language policies, the volume edited by Ramanathan raises the more general question of the inadequacy of traditional definitions of citizenship to grasp contemporary social reality. It calls to go beyond classical typologies, such as T.H. Marshall’s distinctionbetween civil, social and political citizenship (Marshall 1950) in order to look whether it is actually possible for individuals to exercise citizenship through participation. While the answers given to this question by the different contributors of the volume are primarily empirical, they open nevertheless, a promising new research track for future theoretical investigation.

- Language Policy (2016) 15 DOI 10.1007/s10993-015-9385-8 - Nuria Garcia, Sciences Po Paris, France

Vaidehi Ramanathan's edited volume is certainly a daring endeavor. Language Policies and (Dis)citizenship yields fascinating findings and opens up an exciting area for research. The book reads equally well as a whole or by chapter. Academics and graduate students will use the book as a source of inspiration for papers and dissertations. Single chapters may be used as reading material for an undergraduate course in sociolinguistics. Most importantly perhaps, language policy makers around the globe would be well-inspired to read Ramanathan's book.

- Linguist List 25.3394 - Ghislain Potriquet, University of Strasbourg

Author Biography:

Vaidehi Ramanathan is a Professor of Applied Sociolinguistics in the Department of Linguistics at the University of California, Davis. Her previous publications include The English-Vernacular Divide: Postcolonial Language Politics and Practice (Multilingual Matters, 2005) and Bodies and Language: Health, Ailments, Disabilities (Multilingual Matters, 2009).

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate

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