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Back to roots! Languaging and constructing home(land) and (be)longing in Swedish national language policies across time
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Swedish as Second Language. (Utibldning och lärande)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7937-3325
Örebro universitet .
2014 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The empirically based study presented in this paper draws upon data from two large scale ethnographic studies at the CCD research group at Örebro University, Sweden where sociocultural and postcolonial framings have been employed. Taking the paucity of empirically informed research in the postcolonial literature as a point of departure, this study brings analytical rigor to understandings of human identity and spaces across time.

 

A central aim of this data driven study is to analyze how images of home(land), roots and background are deployed in the (co)constructions of identity positions in national educational policy documents across time in Sweden. Thus, the importance of geographical place of longing and belonging in the categorization of differences and common identity positions in national policies are highlighted. Empirical materials from two ethnographic research projects LISA 21, Languages and Identities in School Arenas in the 21st century and CIC, Categorization, Identity and Communication are critically analyzed. These empirical materials consist of policy documents such as national curricula and syllabus in Sweden from the 1960s to the present times and from the compulsory school years up to adult education. Policies for mainstream education, special education, Sami minority education and immigrant adult education are especially focused. The preliminary results highlight the subtle but significant ways of othering, including those of locating the identity of “the targeted Other” both in the physical body of the Other, as well as (i) the physical spaces of educational settings and (ii) the geopolitical spaces of collective imagined (be)longings (compare Anderson 1991). The targeted Other (and the neutral majority norm) is formulated in and through “webs of understandings” (Bagga-Gupta 2004, 2012) in the languaging in policy texts where identity positions both highlight as well as naturalize specific identity positions to a specific or an original “place of authentic (be)longing”. These identity positions include the “newly arrived immigrant” in a parallel educational setting, the “deaf pupil” in a segregated educational setting, the “white pupil with special needs” in a parallel educational setting, the “second generation immigrant pupil” in a mainstream setting, the “national minority Sami pupil” in a segregated educational setting, the adult “newcomer” in a transitory educational setting. The geopolitical spaces of imagined (be)longings include both regional/nation states from which some citizens in Sweden are positioned across time, as well as linguistic heritage bonding (as in the case of the Sami and the deaf). Based upon the juxtaposition of the findings from our data across educational policy settings and time, we argue that categorized as the targeted Other, longing and belonging to a specific (an)other space substantially reinforces the marginalization and exclusion of human beings from important societal arenas. Our findings indicate three central issues: the role of metaphors in conceptualizing otherness and selfhood, the position of language varieties in national discourses of home, homeland, longing and belonging, and shifts in framings of identity positions across time (and particularly in policies from the 1990’s).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
Keyword [en]
language policy, mother tongue, belonging, curriculum
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Utbildning och lärande
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-16654OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-16654DiVA: diva2:778513
Conference
LanDpost - Languaging and Diversity in the age of post-colonial glocal-medialization, 15-17 October 2014, Mysore, India
Available from: 2015-01-10 Created: 2015-01-10 Last updated: 2015-06-29Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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More styles
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