Sociolinguistic trajectories and repertoires: Luso-Luxo-African identifications, interactions and imaginations


CALL: 2013

DOMAIN: SC - Identities, Diversity and Interaction


LAST NAME: Juffermans



HOST INSTITUTION: University of Luxembourg

KEYWORDS: language; migration; globalisation; Africa; inequalities

START: 2014-04-01

END: 2017-03-31


Submitted Abstract

This multi-sited ethnographic project investigates the sociolinguistic trajectories and repertoires of migration between Africa and Europe, in particular between Lusophone West Africa (Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde) and Luxembourg. Framed as a contribution to the sociolinguistics of globalisation with a focus on South-North dynamics this project engages with movement and mobility as sociolinguistic phenomena and studies the impact of migration on sociolinguistic life both where these flows originate and where they find their (temporary) destinations. With these empirical foci, the STAR project aims to advance our theoretical and critical understanding of language, migration and globalisation. It contributes to an understanding of one of the key societal challenges of our times, the flows of human mobility and migration, through language.Understanding migration and globalisation involves engaging with migrants’ voices, their life histories and migration narratives, and studying the material and semiotic environment in which they navigate their lives and the (virtual) communication flows migrants are implicated in. The purpose of this ethnography is to provide a detailed, in-depth account of trajectories of migration and language repertoires as shaped by and shaping the biographies of those who have migrated, are in the process of migration, or aspire to migrate. Migration between West Africa and Europe is approached through language and investigated by means of a space-sensitive multi-sited sociolinguistic ethnography involving language life and migration histories, and additional secondary foci of interpersonal and long-distance communication and linguistic landscaping. Working with superdiversity, polycentricity and scalarity as well as repertoires and trajectories as key theoretical-analytical concepts, this project aims to contribute to an enhanced understanding of the dynamics of South-North as well as South-South migration as a central concern for various academic disciplines (sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, migration studies, etc.) as well as for social-political agendas in both the South and the North.The STAR project’s multifaceted methodology will lead to a comprehensive multimodal database of discursive products and practices (photographs, screenshots, key incidents, transcribed interviews and narratives, etc.) in which migrants’ articulations of their transnational lives and migration histories or aspirations take a central position. This corpus tells a multifaceted story about migration in the twenty-first century, seen from the perspective of both accomplished and aspiring migrants.

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