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Going beyond oral-written-signed-virtual divides: theorizing languaging from mind-as-action practice perspectives
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (CCD)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1846-858X
2017 (English)In: Writing & Pedagogy, ISSN 1756-5839, E-ISSN 1756-5847, Vol. 9, no 1, p. 49-75Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The emergence of the knowledge society, increased global-local migration flows, the explosion of social media and disparate regional power and resource shifts, including conflicts in the new millennium have shaped not only the sociocultural fabric of human existence on our planet, but also the parameters of the research enterprise itself. Broadly taking sociocultural and neo-(post)colonial points of departure, the work presented in this article addresses gaps in the research where a screwed monolingual, monomodality bias continues to dominate much of the thinking in the Language and Educational sciences, particularly in the Global North. This thinking is clearly at odds given the dimensions of human existence in the new millennium.

The empirically driven multidisciplinary study reported in this article takes a socially oriented perspective on human activity. It is broadly framed in the intersections of (new) Literacy Studies, Communication Studies, Deaf Studies and Critical Cultural Studies traditions. Regardless of the concepts that are used to describe and discuss different dimensions of human communication and identity that are evoked by or conferred upon language varieties and/or modalities used by individuals or groups, the analytical perspectives deployed here recognize the need to (re)conceptualise human linguistic-cultural behaviour, identity and space beyond divisions and boundaries. Taking neo-(post)colonial and sociocultural perspectives as points of departure, intersections and transitions are here recognized as spaces in their own right – as knowledge systems – that constitute rich sites for understanding how dimensions of communication or positions related to human identity are privileged and/or made redundant in everyday mundane interactions.

Meaning-making processes in everyday life are here accorded primacy when compared to formal structural properties of linguistic variation, modalities and identity positions. The point of departure here is that human beings communicate with one another and they create meaning together, irrespective of whether this communication occurs in one, two or more linguistic varieties, dialects, registers or written-, pictorial-, oral-, signing- modality based systems.

Ideas and themes that emerge from micro-empirical analysis of (i) hearing mono- and bi-variety communication, (ii) bi/multimodal communication in “visually oriented” environments, and (iii) oral-written, multimodal face-to-face and virtual communication are highlighted. “Thick accounts” and “transcripts” of mundane communication from different ethnographically pushed projects based at the CCD (Communication, Culture and Diversity – Deaf Studies) research group at Örebro University in Sweden are presented and discussed. The multi-fronted analysis of data from different language sets (in different projects) from traditionally segregated academic fields (for instance research results in fields such as Swedish/mother tongue, bilingualism, reading and writing, multimodality, deaf communication, online communication and education, etc) allows for juxtaposing the explorations against one another. Analyses are concerned with the ways and techniques that children and adults employ in order to accomplish “the social” inside and outside different institutional settings. What are the distributed and situated ways-with-words of human beings who routinely use more than one language variety and/or different modalities in different settings? The role of the written word as a technology in relationship to languaging broadly and how written, oral, signed communication are handled in daily life inside and outside learning institutional settings is explored. Furthermore, this article explores how these framings allow for understanding newer and older concepts such as superdiversity, code-switching, pluri/multilingualism, deaf bilingualism in Scandinavian and Swedish geopolitical spaces.

The findings presented highlight the fluidity displayed in naturally occurring languaging, including its multimodality (in both face-to-face and virtual settings). Furthermore I raise didactic implications from the analysis that takes a social practice perspective and goes beyond structurally framed concepts such as codes, switching, oral language, written language, signed language, bilingualism, etc. This attention to human activity and ways-with-words makes visible the chained and linked fluidity of languaging. Focusing social practices – what gets communicated and the ways in which the same occurs – allows for problematizing the dominating monolingual-monomodality position in addition to the “monological” essentialistic perspectives that currently dominate the fields of bilingualism and literacy in educational settings in the Global North.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Equinox Publishing, 2017. Vol. 9, no 1, p. 49-75
Keywords [en]
Literacy studies, Bilingual, monolingual, ethnographic data, deaf education, learning
National Category
Specific Languages Learning
Research subject
Gender Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-39631DOI: 10.1558/wap.27046ISI: 000409240000004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-39631DiVA, id: diva2:771354
Available from: 2014-12-12 Created: 2014-12-12 Last updated: 2018-09-13Bibliographically approved

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Bagga-Gupta, Sangeeta

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