The Discursive Construction of National Identities

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Journal of Language, Identity &
Education
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The Discursive Construction of
National Identity in Multilingual
Britain
Adrian Blackledge
Version of record first published: 16 Nov 2009.
To cite this article: Adrian Blackledge (2002): The Discursive Construction of National Identity in Multilingual Britain, Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 1:1, 67-87 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1207/S15327701JLIE0101_5 PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE

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Adrian Blackledge
University of Birmingham
In multilingual, heterogeneous societies language ideologies are constantly constructed and reconstructed in discursive interactions at micro and macro levels. If the dominant, majority group in a society, nation, nation-state, or community considers that the ideal model of society is monolingual, we immediately encounter questions such as “Who is in?” and “Who is out?” A dominant ideology of monolingualism in multilingual societies raises questions of social justice because such an ideology potentially excludes and discriminates against those who are either unable or unwilling to fit the monoglot standard. In this article I review recent research that has illuminated our understanding of language ideologies and social justice in multilingual states, and I offer a detailed analysis of a language ideological debate in local news media. This analysis suggests that detailed scrutiny of the language of media elites is required if we are to come to a fuller understanding of the ways in which hegemonic ideologies are constantly constructed and reconstructed in public discourses. Key words: multilingualism, discourse, identity, media, hegemony, ideology In multilingual, heterogeneous societies language ideologies are constantly constructed and reconstructed in discursive interactions at micro and macro levels. When the dominant, majority group in a society, nation, nation-state, or community considers that the ideal model of society is monolingual, monoethnic, monoreligious, and monoideological (Blommaert & Verschueren, 1998b), we immediately encounter questions such as “Who is in?” and “Who is out?” A dominant ideology of monolingualism in multilingual societies raises questions of social justice because such an ideology potentially constructs the nation-state as an imagined community (Anderson, 1991) that is monolingual and that excludes and JOURNAL OF LANGUAGE, IDENTITY, AND EDUCATION, 1(1), 67–87

Copyright © 2002, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Adrian Blackledge, University of Birmingham, Westhill Campus, Weoley Park Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham B27 7YE, United Kingdom. E-mail: A.J.Blackledge@bham.ac.uk...
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