ArticlePDF Available

Crossing Discourses: Language Ideology and Shifting Representations in Sweden's Field of Language Planning

Crossing Discourses
Language Ideology and Shifting Representations
in Sweden's Field of Language Planning
Linus Salö©
(Stockholm University)
© June 2013
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Crossing Discourses
Language Ideology and Shifting Representations in Sweden's Field of
Language Planning Salö, L. forth.
1. Introduction
Over the last few decades, the widespread use of English in Sweden has come to be re-
cognized as a linguistic problem. This complex debate may be characterized as a discur-
sive struggle by means of which Swedish came into effect as the principal language of
the state in the 2009 Language Act (SFS 2009:600). What is especially noteworthy in
the debate preceding the enactment of this law was the way in which the focal point
drifted from a concern with English lexical influence to the more pinpointed problem of
English in Swedish academia. It is nowadays a salient feature of the habitus of Swedish
language planners to assume a laissez-faire attitude towards loanwords and code-
switching. Elements of English in Swedish are generally thought of as irritating, untidy
or superficial but rarely are they construed as threatening the future of the Swedish
language. Nonetheless, the tangible threat in present-day discussions is that English is
used extensively in contexts where Swedish previously prevailed. That is, activities per-
ceived as being national are understood as gradually becoming superseded by the sole
use of English linguistic goods, which in turn devalues Swedish as a linguistic resource.
The shift of focal point is closely tied to a changeover in representations within the
field of language planning. Over a short period of time, the label “Swenglish” was replac-
ed by “domain loss” for the sake of representing knowledge about linguistic change.
Domain loss later came to serve as a key representation in the legislative history of the
Swedish Language Act, and fundamentally changed the way in which English in Sweden
was framed and talked about within public and scholarly discourses.
This chapter reviews the course of events and historical labor that may explain this
shift in problematization. The question at issue is how and why such shifts occur. Such
an endeavor attempts to identify convergences and divergences between the shifting
perspectives directing the politics of language. I shall do this empirically by contextuali-
zing the notion of domain loss historically. The purpose is to spotlight its producers and
conditions of production its history of ideological struggle as well as the discourses
crossing (Foucault 1984) the trajectories of such struggles. This approach obliges us to
address the question of Swedish and English vis-à-vis other issues connected to those of
language planning. Incontestably, language planning practices are historically embed-
ded in social structures that encompass issues beyond those of language. The scope here
thus goes beyond studies that limit their focus to close readings of presumably central
texts, with the aim of unmasking discourses therein. Rather, this study emphasizes dis-
course as the system of representation (Hall 2013, 29ff.) that regulates the socio-
historical conditions of text production. Discourses are “practices that systematically
form the objects of which they speak” (Foucault 1972, 49). Hence, the objective is to ex-
plain society not texts – but through the window of discourse” (Blommaert 2005, 66).
Texts, then, are subjected to analysis as discursively manifestive of particular times and
socio-political circumstances.
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Additionally, I seek to present a sociological understanding that accounts for the col-
lective historical labor of individuals and institutions by which these discourses are the
products. This is to avoid yielding simplified models of action in which production of
discourse is portrayed as purposely manipulated (cf. Blommaert 2005, 15). To accom-
plish this, we need a way of capturing context historically. Following Bigo (cf. 2013), I
suggest that a Foucaultian conception of discourse combined with Bourdieu’s notion of
field provides the means to do so. Together, they compose a fruitful research trajectory
for making sense of what interrelated actors are doing, and the means by which they do
it. This will also shed light on the processes in which language ideologies (Schieffelin et
al. 1998) can give rise to a recognized representation of a linguistic problem and re-
flexively how such representations over time may naturalize language ideology. The
term ideology suits these ends, suggesting as it does representations to be “contestable,
socially positioned, and laden with political interest” (Hill and Mannheim 1992, 382).
1.1 Approaching the objects
It goes without saying that the objects of knowledge are constructed (Bourdieu 1990,
52). When scrutinized as a scientific notion, domain loss has been challenged from many
positions since the turn of the millennium. The notion is now to an ever-increasing ex-
tent considered unserviceable as an analytical perspective. According to critics, it repre-
sents a phenomenon for which there is neither convincing empirical evidence nor con-
vincing support in sociolinguistic theory (Phillipson 2009, 41ff.; Preisler 2009, 11).
However, domain loss belongs to a category of constructions that are only seemingly
scientific, but that every so often are “uncritically smuggled into scientific language and
which imports into it a whole social unconscious” (Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992, 242).
Such notions are often the products of struggles in contexts other than scientific inquiry
(see Stroud 2004 on the ideological constructs of semilingualism and Rinkeby Swedish).
From this perspective, domain loss appears to be a product of language politics.
I will therefore take the practice of language planning in Sweden as the key sociologi-
cal object of historical investigation. I concur with Castel (quoted in Madsen 2011, 268)
that the general objective of such a historicist approach is “neither to rewrite nor revise
history but to re-read history […] with a sociological narrative and lens”. Here, I em-
ploy the lens and epistemological insights developed throughout the oeuvre of Bour-
dieu’s sociology. This angle may be useful for making diachronic researches into lan-
guage policy and nationalism in the unified linguistic market of the nation-state (cf. May
2011). I treat those agents practicing language planning as jointly participating in and
in so doing constituting a field a social arena for the struggles over symbolic and ma-
terial assets, position-takings and the definition of social reality (cf. Bourdieu 1993,
1996).1 This approach aims at fleshing out key points of transformation as well as the
historical conditions under which these could emerge (cf. Dezalay and Madsen 2012).
Fundamentally, the notion of field provides the means to grasp context, as it offers a
nonmundane account for the socio-historical space from which metalinguistic discourses
on English have been produced and in which domain loss has accumulated and generat-
ed its meaning. In compliance with the idea of field, the production of discourses is not
assumed to be deliberately orchestrated. Instead, they are the relational outcome of the
embodied values of individuals acting in the social contexts of fields (Bourdieu 1991; see
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
also Thompson 1991). In turn, this provides the basis for an investigation of how dis-
cursive statements relate to their producers’ positions in the field. On some meta-level,
this latter point is moreover germane to the enterprise of epistemic reflexivity in the re-
search practice (e.g. Bourdieu 2004; Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992). In Bourdieu’s reflex-
ive sociology, studying the social world in which we as analysts are involved entails
breaking with inside experience(Bourdieu 1988, 1 [emphasis removed]). Thus, un-
earthing the field’sepistemological unconscious(Wacquant 1992, 41) is a prerequisite
for achieving a reflexive understanding of one’s own position and dispositions in the
overlapping fields of language politics and research (Salö 2012).
2. Re-reading history
Next follows an exposition of the history of discourses on English starting from the
1960s, together with the crossing discourses of the 80s and ‘90s. Conceptual tools such
as indexicality, language ideology, field and discourse will be introduced and explicated
as they are put into practice. The material drawn upon for this exercise includes texts
from the field of language planning that are often hallmarked by the field’s institutions,
which are also often their publishers. The core source is the periodical Språkvård, ‘Lan-
guage Care’, published by the Swedish Language Council (under different names) bet-
ween 1965 and 2007. Articles in Språkvård regularly comment on other relevant texts in
the field during this period, such as legal or quasi-legal preparatory work, as well as in-
dividual work authored by agents of the field. Such writings are to some extent esoteric
and jointly constitute a social space of texts, intertextually united by the fact that they
produce and reproduce the values and language ideologies that are at stake within
the field (cf. Bourdieu 1996, 205). Additionally, I shall try to bring together language
ideology with Bourdieu’s notions of market and habitus, as well as his writings on law,
thereby contributing to some recent advances in the sociolinguistics of changing fluxes
in the age of globalization (Blommaert 2010; Park and Wee 2012).
2.1 Swenglish – language ideologies from the ‘60s to the ‘80s
In Sweden, the 1960s and onwards were times of prospering internationalism and with
that followed a cultural flow of what O’Dell (1997) denotes as Americanization. Because
language is an aspect of culture and linguistic influences seem to travel particularly
lightly(O’Dell 1997, 23), these currents were palpably reflected in the markets of lan-
guage. This was manifested above all through increasing lexical influence from English,
a tendency that had gained currency throughout the post-war era. Listings of lexical
newcomers in the Swedish language show that English loanwords from the 1940s to the
1980s time and again outnumber loans from all other languages combined (Svenska
språknämnden 1986).
In the early 1960s, metalinguistic discourses on English entered circulation, in which
the use of English linguistic features in Swedish was looked upon with suspicion and
dislike. This was manifested through the label of Swenglish, a key representation of dis-
courses concerning the un-Swedishness of the Swedish language. In an early instance,
Lundberg (1960), a columnist, wrote mockingly about the use of English words and
urged teachers, journalists and others to tighten the sloppy Swenglish which get pub-
licity in print, and which is easily aped by uncritical readers and listeners” (Lundberg
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
1960, 28). Similarly, De Geer (1962) posed a question: “Will it remain to be Swedish, or
will it degenerate into Swenglish or some other gibberish?” (De Geer 1962, 3).
Metalinguistic discourse is considered to be a good place for discovering manifesta-
tions of ideology (Blommaert and Verchueren 1998, 26; Woolard 1998, 9). Swenglish is
on the one hand constructed around humorous aspects of Swedish mixed up with Eng-
lish or English spoken with a strong Swedish accent. This often used to open linguistic
performance up to ridicule. In the other, more pejorative meaning, the representation
draws on a set of devalued qualities with strong ties to the history of the field. Sweng-
lish encapsulates many values of the influential Wellanderian School as propounded in
the standard work Riktig svenska Proper Swedish(Wellander 1939). There, the use of
foreign words was depicted as low-valued symbolic capital, more specifically as metalin-
guistic markers of undesirable personal characteristics such as vanity, ignorance, laxity
and slothfulness (p. 164–167). Woolard (1998) notes that “[w]hen a linguistic form-in-
use is thus ideologized as distinctive and as implicating a distinctive kind of people, it is
further often misrecognized, in Bourdieu’s term, or revalorized as transparently em-
blematic of social, political, intellectual or moral character” (Woolard 1998, 1819).
This is to say that language is an indexical phenomenon. In the neo-Peircean frame-
work as developed within linguistic anthropology (e.g. Silverstein 1996; Duranti 2012),
language and ways of using language are indexical of historical and social features of
meaning. Language “points to” and thus evokes stereotypes of social groups, roles or ac-
tivities (Blommaert 2005, 252; Irvine 1996, 263). Indexicality consequently accounts for
an important conceptual tool in the exploration of the ideological side of the politics of
language, as this is manifested in the language regimes of a range of different settings
(see Kroskrity 2000). Language regimes, then, comprise institutionalized language ideo-
logies (cf. Coulmas 2005, 7). Irvine defines language ideology as “the cultural (or subcul-
tural) system of ideas about social and linguistic relationships, together with their load-
ing of moral and political interest” (1996, 267). Such a definition stresses the multiple
and politically constructed outlook of ideologies, whereby particular views of language
serve the interest of particular social groups (Kroskrity 2006, 501).
Apart from marking deficient vocabulary and careless attitudes toward the standard,
Swenglish from its launching has been held to be indexical of shallowness and artificial-
ity of manner, largely asserted as part of a jargon that subscribes to Americanized
norms (cf. Teleman 2003, 183). Consequently, Swenglish is linked to pretense: it is held
to be something that superficial Swedes appropriate in order to impress “ordinary
Swedes”. However, this representation has held greater currency among writers and de-
baters outside the field of language planning. The field of language planning is by tradi-
tion composed of individuals and institutions engaged in the standardization, promotion
and cultivation of the Swedish language. These agents are jointly united by their convic-
tion that the values at stake are important enough for the game to be worth the candle.
Defined as “structured spaces of positions” (Bourdieu 1993, 72), fields are social for-
mations of position-takings in which specialists struggle over and thereby uphold the
value of something that is held as mutually treasured. Fields have fuzzy boundaries
and co-exist in societies, alongside of and embedded into other overlapping fields. Bour-
dieu (e.g. 1996, 1988) makes use of this concept to characterize the various value econo-
mies of literature or science, social spaces made up by their history of struggle “for a mo-
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
nopoly of the imposition of the legitimate categories of perception and appreciation”
(Bourdieu 1996, 157). The outcome of such struggles generates positions ready to be
held by agents, who compete over the distribution of the field specific capital, prestige,
recognition and authority with the aim of having the field to act in their favor (Hanks
2005, 73).
Swedish language planning practices have a long and assiduous history in the mak-
ing of a unified linguistic market in Sweden. The emergence of the field, however, is cen-
tered in the post-war era, as this was the crucial time for making language planning an
institutionalized practice in Sweden. This was developed in conjunction with the rise of
the political project of folkhemmet‘the people’s home’ in Sweden. Elsewhere, images
of Sweden came to be conceptualized as the “the Swedish model”, built upon core values
such as Keynesianism, social welfare, equality, and military and political neutrality (see
the special issue “Images of Sweden and the Nordic Countries”, Scandinavian Journal of
History 34, 2009). As a response to modernity, the Council for Swedish language plan-
ning2 was established in 1944 (see Teleman 2003, 55ff.). Alongside the old-established
cultural institution The Swedish Academy and The Swedish Centre for Technical Ter-
minology, Sweden now had three main institutions engaged with the practice locally
known as språkvård ‘language care’. Together with other specialized agents who partici-
pated in playing this game newspaper columnists together with media personalities
dealing with language issues, as well as individual university scholars they would
come to shape the field of language planning. By acting, in turn, “the agents are shaped
by the relations they engage with” (Bigo 2013, 124). In such reflexive processes, field
values and cultural ideas about language are inscribed in the social practices shaping
habitus‘the embodied capital’ of those who hold positions in the field. Habitus, as the
bodily hexis of dispositions, then functions “as a matrix of perceptions, appreciations,
and actions” (Bourdieu 1977a, 83 [emphasis removed]).
Historically, language planning practices in Sweden have a long tradition of controll-
ing what was considered alien to the linguistic system. But although purism as ideology
had some value in the premature rise of the field, it never became official policy in Swe-
den (Vikør 2010). This too was the outcome of field-internal struggles over ideals, as a
set of democratic values became part of the group-habitus of the field. The ideology of
language purism was instead transformed into a sort of functionalistic position from
which loanwords were welcomed if they could fill a void in the lexicon and be integrated
into the linguistic system (Teleman 2003). Aversion to English goods was only at times
manifested, by way of example in Språkvård 3/1978, where users of the word kancellera
(‘to cancel’) were said to have a “wavering feeling for the Swedish language or in the
worst case […] consider it to be nifty to lard one's speech with foreign words which not
just anybody will understand” (p. 31).
Starting in the 1980s, the field of language planning was much more concerned with
charting the influence of English. Ljung (1988), Chrystal (1988) and others3 all investi-
gated issues of lexicon. These studies contributed somewhat to toning down the per-
ceived threat posed by loanwords, as borrowings were shown to amount to a relatively
moderate number, of which most were able to blend into the lexicon. The tone of the
writings of this time was mostly conducted in a matter-of-fact manner. There were,
however, exceptions. Ljung (1988), for instance, proved to be influenced by a new rheto-
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
ric typical of the period, whereby tropes were introduced in which encroacher languages
“murder” smaller languages. Ljung consequently argued that although the situation ap-
peared to be manageable, escalated borrowing might well become “a threat to our na-
tional identity” (1988, 148).
Crossing discourses of ethno-nationalism
With changing patterns of migration and Sweden on the cusp of European integration,
the years around 1990 were what Stroud would call “times of turbulent mobility”4. Lan-
guage, then, was certainly not the only market for discourses about national identity at
that time (e.g. Milani 2006, 106ff.; Oakes 2001, 2005). In fact, we see here a crossing of
several discourses interlocking at a single point in time and consequently becoming en-
tangled with each other. Remarking on the manner in which discourses circulate, Fou-
cault (1984) stresses that “[d]iscourses must be treated as discontinuous practices,
which cross each other, are sometimes juxtaposed with one another, but can just as well
exclude or be unaware of each other” (Foucault 1984, 127). Crossings may come about if
two ideological tenets are drawn from in a way that makes them liable to be juxtaposed:
placed side-by-side, made available for comparison. They may then be apprehended to be
essentially the same discourse.
Parallel to language discussions and starting in the 1970s, Sweden saw new waves of
migration as refugees to an ever-increasing extent asked for asylum throughout North-
ern Europe. In time, this came to shed light on issues concerning Sweden as a multilin-
gual state and so created a socio-political market for the study of bilingualism in Sweden
(Hyltenstam and Arnberg 1988). Subsequently, debates about mother tongue education
and Swedish as a second language were featured on the political agenda (ibid.). In rela-
tion to these developments and heightened by economic crises, the 1980s saw the rise of
right-wing xenophobic movements in Sweden, fueled by a general discontent with im-
migration politics and tax policy combined (Rydgren 2006). These social currents had
their breeding ground in the small anti-immigrant grassroots campaign of Bevara
Sverige svenskt ‘Keep Sweden Swedish’, which later formed the basis for many emerging
political parties of discontent. The abbreviation “BSS was commonly spray painted on
walls and public places throughout the 1980s, fueling ethno-nationalistic views about
keeping different people and their cultural expressions including language apart.
Drawing mainly on ethnic kinship vis-à-vis separation, but sometimes also on linguistic
counterparts, their message was also distributed on flyers handed out in Stockholm:
The immigrants and their offspring have completely occupied Sweden. […] The people will
then become […] a mixed race which does not speak Swedish but different languages hig-
gledy-piggledy. (Cited in Lodenius and Larsson 1994, 23)
Nationalistic discourses about ethnical purity were linked to language discourses on
English in 1987, in a daily article by Scandinavian linguist Cassirer. Cassirer reacted to
a drive co-initiated by the Swedish Language Council, in which nine stickers were dis-
tributed to the readers of Språkvård (with issue 2-1987) with appeals against Swenglish.
The sticker messages read “Swenglish may turn into heathen Greek. Use Swedish!”;
“Swedish is better. Anyone will understand this”; et cetera. Under the imperative rubric
Keep Swedish mixed-up”, Cassirer questioned what he referred to as “the haughty atti-
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
tude that only that what is Swedish is good enoughand candidly accused the drive of
playing into the hands of the extreme right:
What [the Language Council] unfortunately does not seem to realize, is that its nine hearty
acclamations about the splendidness of Swedish in fact dabble in the same troubled waters as
those who do not only demand that all foreign words must leave the Swedish language, but
also that all other “foreign elements” must leave Sweden. (Cassirer 1987, 5)
The field of language planning never publicly recognized the relevance of the discursive
link. Instead, the editorial of Språkvård 3/1987 stated that it was “unreasonable for any-
one to mix up attempts of resistance against cultural predominance with manifestations
of contempt for immigrants and foreigners” (p. 3). Similarly, Olsson (1987), professor of
literary studies, stood up in defense of the sticker initiative, invoking the argument that
“Swenglish is nobody’s mother tongue but first and foremost a linguistic behavior that
some Swedes have adopted to impress on other Swedes” (p. 27).
The field, however, shortly thereafter left issues of loanwords behind. Instead, the
question of English in Sweden was reorientated towards a higher sociolinguistic scale
(Blommaert 2010): that of linguistic relative strengths and the status of the Swedish
language. This may first of all be viewed in light of scholarly relevance. The field itself
had devalued the question of loanwords, as borrowing had proven to be a marginal lin-
guistic problem (e.g. Chrystal 1988). Moreover, discourses on purity were greatly de-
valued as the ideas of unification and the authenticity of nationhood came to be deployed
as symbolic resources in crossing xenophobic discourses. The field, arguably, needed to
dissociate itself from these, not least of all because of the official ideology of anti-racism
that was popular in Sweden at that time. Echoing Foucault (1991, 59), this is owing to
“the law of existence of statements” [emphasis in the original], that renders only some
statements possible to make. By and large, this illustrates the point that the outcome of
discursive struggles can be affected by seemingly different discourses in circulation. A
discourse may lose its value if it is deployed concurrently in an ostensibly different de-
bate to which affinity is unwanted. And vice versa, as we shall see, the discourses of
nearby struggles may be drawn from as a resource. Hence, struggles over language nev-
er exist in a vacuum but develop as part of more general sociopolitical processes
(Blommaert 1999, 2).
Crossing discourses of welfare-nationalism
In the wake of industrialization, the emergence of the Swedish welfare state had become
a key component of national identity (Oakes 2001). This gave rise to a new version of
nationalism, which Trägårdh (2002) terms welfare state nationalism, characterized by the
absence of romantic overtones and instead drawing on public pride over core folkhem
values (Trägårdh 2002; see also Ekenberg 1994). This was soon manifested in the field
of language planning. In 1988, the newly elected chairman of the Language Council,
Teleman, held a talk at the Nordic Language Meeting, where he linked the safeguarding
of Swedish to the autonomy of Sweden (Teleman 1989). Danger, argued Teleman, lured
in the event of Sweden joining the EU. Membership in the Union would lead to a “Eu-
ropeanization” of the political and economic climate, which in turn would have apprecia-
ble effects on the national languages. Relaxation of territorial boundaries was bound to
lead to a relaxation of linguistic boundaries. This prediction would first and foremost be
noticeable in large enterprises, universities and culture.
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
The shift in representation of English influence ought then to be contemplated as the
outcome of struggles between new dispositions and old positions, in turn related to is-
sues with connection to the struggle over the field. As Milani’s (2007) analysis reveals,
Teleman’s perspective was adopted and promoted by Svanlund and Westman (1991),
both representatives of the Language Council. Sweden had by now applied for member-
ship in the EU after a time of political debates that Ringmar (1998) calls “a rhetorical
battle” between the center-right yes-camp and the no-camp, viz. the left and the far
right. As was also the case elsewhere, euroscepticism of the left archetypically displayed
a version of civic nationalism organized around an anti-imperialist worldview, rather
than cultural homogeneity as did their right-wing counterparts (Halikiopoulou et al.
2012). In the Swedish debate accordingly arose the somewhat inconsistent peculiarity
that the EU-critical political left came to stand up for national values, thus drawing on
discourses of national identity previously belonging to the repertoire of the bourgeois
(Ekenberg 1994, 54; Stråth 1992, 322). Debaters from the left depicted the EU as an
elitist neo-liberal project rooted in cold-hearted capitalism and colonialism (Trägårdh
2002,154 ff.). Apart from business, money and untamed market forces, the EU manifest-
ed drug-liberalism, sexism and other moral and political values that obviously “contrast-
ed with the democratic, solidaristic and national welfare state” (ibid., 165). As such, the
EU posed a threat to Swedish folkhem values and was thus incompatible with the classi-
cal conception of Sweden (Ringmar 1998, 52).
Much in line with the left’s framing, Swedish, argued Svanlund and Westman (1991),
would hardly be on an equal footing with more commonly spoken languages in a comp-
etitive free trade linguistic market of the EU. Deep gaps between the social classes wou-
ld result “if one were to pass on to deal with our official affairs in English (p. 10–11).
One possible consequence of such developments, according to the authors, was that the
Swedish standard language would be reduced to a “kitchen and home language” (p. 10).
2.2 Domain loss – language ideologies of the ‘90s and onwards
Fields then function as sites for the production of discourse (cf. Bigo 2013). In a Bour-
dieusian approach, discourses are conceived to be symbolic assets in economies of lin-
guistic exchanges (Bourdieu 1977b). Discourses, then, do not just circulate but are pro-
duced and reproduced through real practices, by real agents. In this “materialist per-
spective” (Blommaert and Verchueren 1998), discourses function as a “crucial symbolic
resource onto which people project their interests, around which they can construct alli-
ances, and through which they exercise power” (Blommaert 1999, 7). Production of dis-
course is thus linked to strategy and strategic moves which it is necessary to under-
score are achieved “without express intention or calculation” (Bourdieu 2000, 138).
This thus stands in stark opposition to theories of action à la homo economicus, in
which rational actors deliberately strive to maximize profit for their own personal inter-
Mehan (1996, 253) talks of entextualization as processes through which “complex,
contextually nuanced discussions get summed up in […] a single word”. In Teleman
(1992), these new discourses on English were entextualized in this sense, as they were
given the lexical label loss of functional domain. Teleman listed four domains on the verge
of internationalization: i) research and higher education, ii) politics and administration,
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
iii) trade and industry, and iv) culture and entertainment. Over the years that followed,
this phenomenon was given the shorter form domain loss, as coined in Denmark a few
years before (Lund 1989). The early 1990s, furthermore, saw the publication of Linguis-
tic Imperialism (Phillipson 1992). Directed as it was towards greater issues of language
and power, the book proved to be influential to the Swedish debate and the new line of
language politics given prominence in that debate (Milani 2007, 178). More and more
discourses centered around the exclusive use of English for a number of more or less
specialized practices. Domain loss thereby entered the discussion on English as the
field’s representation and, as such, a more legitimate way of talking about threats
against Swedish with the focal point directed against powerful institutions of social
apparatus instead of ordinary language use. To these discourses, the representation of
domain loss soon came to serve as a symbolic resource among agents of the field.
Laureys (1994), as well as Hyltenstam (1996) and others, invoked the argument that the
integration of Sweden into Europe would weaken the state autonomy, which in turn
would weaken the Swedish language.
The point is this: “What the agents say and how they say it, to an extent, reveal
their position both within and outside the field in terms of […] political affiliations”
(Dezalay and Madsen 2012, 448). The impression that the language issue had become
subordinate was clearly illustrated by Westman, director of the Swedish Language
Council 1985–2000:
With the increasing Europeanization, the national self-determination is quite likely obliged
to be decreased. That is as we know the basic idea. More and more important decisions
which concern us will be made outside of the country after negotiations that are not likely to
be held in Swedish. (Westman 1996, 185)
This juxtaposition gives a prime example of the way in which accumulated forces of
changing a field can “draw support from external changes moving in the same direction”
(Bourdieu 1996, 127). In light of this, one may conclude in line with the analyses by
Hult (2005), Oakes (2005), Milani (2007) and others that it was not a coincidence that
the discussion about domain loss emerged at the same time as the discussion of the EU
was intensified. They occurred in a time of “economic, political and identity crisis”
(Milani 2007, 177). As I have argued elsewhere (Salö 2012), they are also ideologically
interconnected. The juxtaposition indexes the link between the political left and the
safeguarding of the national language, founded in “the nationalism of modernity which
has become the left’s Swedish self-image” (Lindberg 2005, 4). As the new threat to Swe-
dish was constructed around the national autonomy of Sweden, agents of the field mobi-
lized against the EU using language “as the site at which to promote, protect, and le-
gitimate those interests” (Kroskrity 2006, 501). Membership of the EU, following this
logic, created a new market to exercise defense of the Swedish language, mobilized
through the rhetoric of welfarism and sovereignty. This is not to say that post-war safe-
guarding of the national language is a leftish project altogether, but rather that the so-
cial value of Swedish reflects a socio-political ideal (cf. Blommaert 1999, 2). Moreover,
such elaborations of ideology are reconfigurations and hence not free of legacy from
their predecessors, just as the notion of folkhemmet still contains vital allusions to an
ethnic entity, the folk(J. Andersson 2009, 240 [emphasis in the original]). From this
vantage point, the nationalist revival that Oakes (2005) observes may be seen as the out-
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
come of romantic conceptions of the national language becoming revalorized when fil-
tered through the lens of democratism and into the logics of the contemporary field.
However, this may perhaps only be grasped by apprehending language planning as a
battlefield for language disputes, where agents conduct a struggle over what problems
the field should address or how conceptualizations are to be perceived. This then attests
to Bourdieu’s point that “[t]he struggles within the field are struggles to be or remain
contemporary” (Bourdieu 2004, 64).
The struggles over indexicalities
Summing up the last few years of debate, Teleman and Westman (1997) were able to es-
tablish that Swedish was continuously losing domains to English. To maintain and
promote Swedish, a language policy aim was presented stating that Swedish should be a
“complete and society bearing language” (see Milani 2007 for a critical review). The
phrasing is important, as it appeared several years after the coining of domain loss, and
was later to reappear in several important language policy documents. At length, it sets
the objectives towards which domain loss pose a threat. It is through this rationalization
that domain loss has its raison d'être as a representation of a linguistic problem.
In 1997, the government requested the Language Council to draw up an action plan
for the promotion of the Swedish language. Milani (2006) claims that the government
decision to entrust the Language Council with such a task was informed by the field’s
metalinguistic discourses on English. The result was presented the year after in the a
Draft Action Programme (Svenska språknämnden 1998). Here, the proposed measures
for safeguarding Swedish included that the position of the Swedish language should be
established by law. The reason for this was that
“The most far-reaching influence […] consists in Anglo-American taking over areas of us-
age in which Swedish previously predominated” (Svenska språknämnden 1998, 9)
Whereas Swenglish was indexical of Americanized consumerism and mass culture, “An-
glo-American” more distinctively attests that these indexicalities of English are cultur-
al-political. Rendering Anglo-American to be a synonym of English should then be seen
as an attempt to project a certain set of indexicalities onto a language, that is bottom
line to identify English as a cultural product of the United States and, as such, em-
blematic of anti-folkhem values. Use of English then equals caving in to the hegemonic
and normative behavior of a superior power. This is not unique to Sweden but follows a
global tendency in which English is “associated with core values of capitalist ideas of
success: entrepreneurship, mobility, luxury” (Blommaert 2005, 212). If one concurs with
Park and Wee (2012, 125) that the indexical value of English is imbued through meta-
linguistic discourses about English, it makes sense that safeguarding Swedish practices
make use of such discourses in their position-taking. This could serve as a counterwei-
ght to the positive social values of English, emblematic as it is in Sweden of profession-
alism, cosmopolitism and modernity. In this way, the indexicalities are played out
against each other, in turn suggesting fields to be sites for the production of indexical-
ities. Hence, as Silverstein (1996, 299) maintains, “there is a market” [emphasis in the
original]. In Sweden, goods therein to a great extent acquire their indexical value
through the Swedish national self-image. It is through perceived differences between the
Swedish model and the American “model” that values are “projected onto the difference”
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
(Silverstein 1996, 297) between Swedish and English. With English framed as a symbol
for cultural superiority, antipathy to English could be perceived as punching above your
weight. This, moreover, coincides with theories on the politics of language purism
(Weinstein 1989), claiming that purist ideologies tend to target features that manifest
domination, and thus only target languagesconstrued as threats on a social or political
basis” (Woolard 1998, 21–22).
Elaborating monoglot ideology
The Action Programme (Svenska språknämnden 1998) gave rise to critique in Språkvård
(Boyd and Huss 1999). This targeted mainly what was perceived to be a one-sided focus
on the Swedish language, thus sidestepping minority languages. This was unfortunate,
argued Boyd and Huss (1999, 7), particularly because the Action Programme was writ-
ten during the same period as when Sweden was preparing accede to the European
Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of 1992 (see SOU 1997:192). The Charter
was ratified in 2000, with the result that five languages were recognized as minority
languages of Sweden: Finnish, Sami, Meänkieli, Romani Chib and Yiddish.
In response to the critique, Josephson, Scandinavian linguist and recently appointed
director of the Swedish Language Council, counter-argued in Språkvård for the inescap-
able relevance for the Language Council to deal with Swedish too:
“If the government official report on minority languages and rightly socan devote close
to five hundred pages to the minority languages without really discussing the Swedish lan-
guage, then the Swedish language council must be permitted to devote fifteen pages to the
Swedish language!” (Josephson 2000, 35)
This quote reflects a breeding dissatisfaction among agents of the field with the fact that
the position of Swedish had been largely neglected in wider societal discourses on other
languages in the multilingual landscape of Sweden. In particular, these centered around
linguistic rights to other mother tongues, recognition of minority languages and lan-
guage educational issues in connection to speakers of languages other than Swedish.
This discontent was manifested in the oft-noted particularity that the status of Swedish
was enforced by law in Finland but not in Sweden (e.g. Allén 2005; also K. Andersson
2005). By the same token, Falk (2001, 7) raised the point that “[t]he way things are
now, Sweden has five officially recognized minority languages but no official majority
Linn and Oakes (2007, 87) point out that Scandinavian countries were pioneers in po-
liticizing the threat from English. Among these, Sweden was first out. In 2002, the
committee report Mål i mun (SOU 2002:27) was published the result of the last few
years of language political debate. The term domain loss was mentioned repeatedly in
Mål i mun, and the report devoted several pages to conduct a thorough line of reasoning
about potential long-term effects of this phenomenon. Likewise, the dispositional outline
of the report was largely a reflection of the discussion up until this point, where domains
were dealt with separately in different chapters. In broad outline, Mål i mun later came
to be exported as the model for similar reports in other Nordic countries, e.g. Sprog på
spil in Denmark 2003 and Norsk i hundre in Norway 2005 (see Josephson 2012, 23–24).
Mål i mun proposed that Swedish should be established as the principal language of
Sweden by law (p. 35). With its functionalistic ideal now also covering status issues, the
report stands out as a symbol for the completed shift towards the new linguistic order in
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Sweden with Swedish as the principal language. Moreover, room was given for the use
of English in globalized environments if there is parallel room for Swedish too (Hult
2005, 76). As many scholars admit, however, Mål i mun also attempted to put emphasis
on Sweden as a multilingual state (e.g. Boyd and Huss 2003; Hult 2004; Milani 2007).
By and large, this is illustrative of the point made by Hyltenstam (1996): that Swedish
is a local majority language and at the same time a global minority language. This sheds
light upon a crucial feature of language ideology in Sweden, grounded in the task of
keeping the linguistic market unified in the era of globalization but without pressuring
languages subordinated to Swedish in the nation-state hierarchy (cf. Hult 2004; Hylten-
stam 2002).
In this respect, it may be argued that discussions on domain loss and the position of
Swedish were able to effectively cling on to discourses linked to the status of the minor-
ity languages (Salö 2012). However, as Milani and Johnson (2008) have analyzed in
some detail, the follow-up bill Bästa språket (Prop. 2005/06:2) did not include the pro-
posal of establishing the status of Swedish by law. Without referring to this debate, the
responsible minister Pagrotsky (2005) argued that legislation was not needed to en-
shrine the status of Swedish. The reluctance of having the status of Swedish fixed by law
was linked to an anxiety about disfavouring the position of the immigrant and minority
languages and, as a consequence, potentially discriminating against their speakers
(Prop. 2005/06:2, 14ff.). Such concerns had already been raised field-internally (Boyd
and Huss 2003). By and large, these arguments were, however, outcasts within the field
at large. Somewhat dejectedly, Josephson (2005, 13) noted that “[a] law about Swedish
as the principal language would have been directed against English. It was therefore
consistent for the government to reject the proposition.”
One way or the other, it appears as if a struggle about language in the context of a
nation-state is in the cards for touching upon the national. Linn and Oakes (2007) ap-
prehend the underplaying of Swedish as a symbol for national identity as the outcome of
nationalism being a historically burdened conceptualization in Sweden. This “taboo
about ethnicity and nationalism” (Milani and Johnson 2008, 9) may explain the field’s
fear of yet again becoming entangled with discourses of ethno-nationalism. But related
to this, it was reckoned to be offensive to couple the safeguarding of Swedish to nation-
alism. Thus, such juxtapositions invoked frustration within the field. For instance,
Allén, previous Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, argued that onemust be
able to […] point to the fact that Swedish is the most important language of Sweden
without being called a nationalist” (Allén 2005, 6).
This tension around nationalism may then be explained by reference to the Janus-
faced comprehension of this notion in Sweden. Nationalism may be comprehended as
coupled to mainstream ideals of civic unity and political sovereignty but simultaneous-
ly, as loaded with the taste of cultural homogeneity and racism. These are layers of
somewhat intersected indexical meanings. As a result, even those who strive at uphold-
ing nationalistic values more often than not decline the epithet nationalists. For these
reasons, it seems unfruitful to attempt to pin down discourses on English in Sweden by
means of pre-given concepts of nationalism. Although Bourdieu offers no comprehensive
theory on nations and nationalism, he has written extensively on the social genesis of
groups and collectives. Tools elaborated in this framework may subsequently be de-
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
ployed to compass nations and nationalism as objects of struggle (see Gorski 2013).
This compels analysts to refrain from reducing field agents to nationalists. But at the
same time, it cannot be neglected that notions of dominant languages fundamentally de-
rive from processes of state formation and institutionalized political domination (Bour-
dieu 1991, 150). In the phrasing of May “these processes were and are deeply imbricated
with the politics of modern nationalism” (May 2011, 151). In consequence, to language
planning practices, the nation-state is an indispensable category for the promotion of na-
tional languages, and thus, the doxa of the field has nationalistic footings. Globalizing
processes, then, lead up to transformation of capital changes in its valorization, com-
position and distribution which disarrays status quo and triggers “nation-ization”
struggles (Gorski 2013, 261). Discussing nationalist responses to European integration,
Andersson (2009) asserts that “[i]n Sweden, it has clearly given rise to a kind of welfare
nationalism, in which European integration and the Others that it brings with it is seen
as a threat to the architecture and values of the Model, its collective agreements, wage
bargaining system and labour law” (J. Andersson 2009, 241). To this one may add the
language regime, and reactions to the way in which these change in globalizing envi-
ronments (Coulmas 2005). To the field of language planning, globalization threatens the
values at stake.
Most scholarly accounts on language and nationalism deal with an early conception
of nationalism, that of the emergence of the nation-state and the language ideological
nexus of one nation one people one language (see Kroskrity 2000). Domain loss,
however, circumvents this maxim. Its social underpinnings, then, do not disclose a
textbook case of monoglot ideology (Silverstein 1996), as it is commonly manifested in
English only campaigns. Domain loss is based on different assumptions on the role of
Swedish in society, where the rendering of this ideology largely draws on the social or-
der of lingua franca: for Swedish to have the position locally that English enjoys global-
ly. Yet this rendering too shows a strong belief in one neutral, standardized language
emblematic of the unified nation-state possession of which is portrayed as the crucial
key to equality (Silverstein 1996, 286, 291). Moreover, the natural linkage between lan-
guage and place Swedish and Sweden is undisputedly the “neutral point used to
measure and evaluate events and phenomena that are congruent or deviant” (Blommaert
1999, 19). This is apparent irrespective of whether focus is on purity or social value. But
as the backbone permeating many language disputes in Sweden, monoglot ideology is
subject to constant negotiation, elaboration and change.
Regimenting ideology through law
As we have seen, domain loss was effectively used as a resource to gain a hearing for
discourses on English both in and outside the field. That is, this discourse of
problematization was first entextualized and anchored within the field, and then dissem-
inated into other fields of power. This is obviously relevant to issues concerning the reg-
imentation of language ideologies through language legislation. To Bourdieu (1987,
848), the essential instrument of such normalization processes is the law.
In the government report Värna språken (SOU 2008:26) later enforced by the Swedish
Language Act, the government’s chief investigator Nilsson stated that “[a]ccording to
scholars, there is […] nothing that indicates that the incorporation of loan words nec-
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
essarily leads to language death. Language death rather occurs through domain losses”
(p. 45). Subsequently, the Language Act states that Swedish is to be usable in all areas of
society (SFS 2009:600, section 5). This way of representing knowledge, then, had far
greater impact than the mere contribution of a concept, as the entire debate had come to
revolve around the domain worldview. As a case, it shows that a notion may travel
interdiscursively from a field to law through a “chain of legitimation” (Bourdieu 1987,
824) given the state’s authority: from quasi-official examinations to sanctioned action
plans and further on to government official reports, government bills and into the
realms of law. Similarly, Blackledge (2005) refers these discursive phenomena in respect
to the manner in which arguments “travel along ‘chains of discourse’ until they gain the
legitimacy of the state” (2005, VII). In so far as the state is the legitimate issuer of seals,
Bourdieu (2000) considers law to be the objectification of the dominant vision recog-
nized as legitimate. This is to say that a discourse given legal authority guaranteed by
the state is the quintessential form of recognized symbolic power (Bourdieu 2000, 186).
The case of domain loss adds insight to this, as it highlights the historical conditions
under which this force was made possible (cf. Dezalay and Madsen 2012, 438). This may
be seen as an illustrative example of what systems of representations do in the construc-
tion of “reality”. As Hall (2013) reasons, knowledge about any particular subject is in-
formed by historic and culturally specific ways of representing it. Although changing
ideologies may lead to a change of representations, the case of domain loss in Sweden
reveals this to be a reflexive process that rather highlights the reverse: that a elaborated
language ideology may win recognition by offering a new representation on the market.
Domain loss, as an illustrative case for the study of the trajectory of an idea, sheds light
upon one of the most salient features of systems of representations, namely their capaci-
ty to germinate and form the objects they originally set out to narrow down (cf. Fou-
cault 1972). This may be seen as a backwash feature of entextualization, whereby do-
main loss served as an ideological forerunner and the operator of “the regime of truth
that the field imposes” (Bourdieu 2000, 96).
2.3 Language ideology, market, and habitus
New conceptions on the national language in the unified market of the nation-state
should thus be added to the antagonistic tension of the field. The key dynamics of a lin-
guistic market approach maintain that no language has any value outside the market,
and linguistic competence is to be comprehended as linguistic capital (Bourdieu 1993).
In the logic of such Bourdieusian thought, the market of Swedish barely exceeds the ter-
ritorial space of Sweden, while Sweden is part of the global marketplace of English (cf.
Bourdieu 1991, 57). Following Bourdieu (1977b), the language dominating the market
inevitably becomes the norm against which the prices of other languages are defined
and with them the value of the competence in them, authority over them and so forth.
This insight helps explain a kind of process of elimination in the beginning of the
new millennium, whereby the number of domains alleged to be threatened was nar-
rowed down until English as a language of education was the last outpost of the field’s
language ideological struggle. In the years surrounding the publication of Mål i mun,
some work was published surveying the language situation in the most frequently al-
leged domains. Falk (2001) as well as Höglin (2002) as did Mål i munsingled out re-
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
search and higher education to be the domain most prone of suffering from domain loss.
Language in such milieus had already been the subject of investigation in a study by
Gunnarsson and Öhman (1997), in which usage of English was shown to be both wide-
spread and ever increasing. This understanding was strengthened further in the anthol-
ogy Engelskan i Sverige (Svenska språknämnden 2004), yet another attempt to deal with
these domains. The highly globalized area of popular culture proved here to be difficult
to address critically without directing criticism against cultural manifestations of youths
and groups with different possessions of cultural capital. Likewise, in the chapter on the
role of Swedish in the EU, Melander (2004) somewhat unexpectedly commented that
domain loss (particularly loss) was a problematic characterization of a language situation
which “came up first in that Sweden entered the EU” (p. 177).
Attention was instead turned more wholeheartedly towards the universities, a sub-
ject dealt with in Gunnarsson’s chapter and thereafter by Jansson (2008), Salö (2010),
Söderlundh (2010) and others, many of which continued to frame this issue by means of
the domain loss notion. Through the reproduction of such a representation, interest-
laden sets of ideas about language could be transmitted through historical practices as
truths of the field. This way, the professional habitus of those who embark upon playing
the game of the field may be effectively adjusted in advance of the demands of the field,
as pretendents of the field inherit the awareness that domain loss describes a real phe-
nomenon and that it should be fought against. Following Hanks (2005), I suggest that
language ideology aligns nicely with Bourdieu’s concept of habitus on this point, as it
explains orderliness by reference to the social embedding of agents (Hanks 2005, 69).
This accounts somewhat for how one becomes an ideology broker (Blommaert and
Verchueren 1998). In general terms, it explicates why experts, laymen and scholars so
often appear to be disposed to understand the semiotic complexity of a certain linguistic
phenomena in a special way. Language, in this respect, becomes indexical in relation to
habitus as a product of history (cf. Bourdieu 1990, 54).
The globalized transnational fields of science and higher education, too, show vesti-
ges of struggles, which now had the ground prepared for internationalization, New Pub-
lic Management techniques and publish or perish regimes that are commonly held to fa-
vor English (Kauppi and Erkkilä 2011). The “university domain” stood out as indeed
iconic of the dystopia of the field: a tax-funded market crucial to Sweden as a knowledge
society in which languages other than Swedish were valuable linguistic capital. Swedish
was even reported to be absent in many disciplines (Gunnarsson and Öhman 1997).
What was really new, however, was a tendency for English to become established as a
language of instruction (Salö 2010). One might say that university teaching accounts for
the language regime par excellence for the nation-state to uphold which, in fact, has
become much more important than the practice of publishing research. In the linguistic
market of Bourdieu, “the educational system is a crucial object of struggle because it has
a monopoly over […] the reproduction of the market on which the value of linguistic
competence depends, in other words its capacity to function as linguistic capital” (1977b,
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Positions and position-takings
In this light, Bourdieu poses the claim that “[t]hose who seek to defend a threatened
capital, be it Latin or any other component of traditional humanistic culture, are forced
to conduct a total struggle […] because they cannot save the competence without sav-
ing the market” (Bourdieu 1977b, 651). This points to an important correspondence be-
tween the agents and the stakes: positions and position-takings (cf. Dezalay and Madsen
2012, 448). To say that domain loss served as a symbolic resource is to contemplate it as
a product of the relation between habitus and field (cf. Thompson 1991, 14). This is
to acknowledge per se that the field’s agents are those who have orchestrated its con-
struction, including players who from their positions in academic fields have vouched for
the legitimacy of the representation. Against the backdrop of such statements, one may
establish that these discourses on English were not in the first place produced by “ob-
jective” reviewers or “neutral” experts of language endangerment because it is a fallacy
to assume the existence of such objectivity. They were rather produced by those agents
who jointly collaborate into upholding the value of the symbolic goods that constitute
the field. Saving Swedish, according to this logic, implies saving Sweden as a market in
which Swedish and metalinguistic knowledge of Swedish is valued symbolic capital.
Through habitus, this was “collectively orchestrated without being the product of the
organizing action of a conductor” (Bourdieu 1977a, 72). That is to say that this was not
done deliberately in the calculated sense, but in accordance with “the logic of practice”
(Bourdieu 1990, 80ff.) in which representations are structured through the habitus of
their producers (Bourdieu 1977a, 72).
3. Conclusion
The re-reading presented in this chapter proposes domain loss to be a socially embedded
representation, loaded with a particular, historically contingent way of representing
knowledge about the interrelationship between language and the social world. Since the
early ‘90s, it has served as part of a strategy to establish discourses about threats to the
nation-state language regime. As such, it manifests an elaboration of monoglot ideology,
which encapsulates language ideologies partially originating from different conceptuali-
zations of nationalism. Throughout the social history of the domain loss notion, these
have impacted the trajectories of the field’s struggles through crossing discourses that
defined ”the limits and forms of the sayable” (Foucault 1991, 59).
The main argument embarked on in this chapter is that the genesis of this notion
cannot be accounted for by focusing on the debate on Swedish vs. English only. Most
notably, discourses on the position of minority languages, and the linguistic rights of
their speakers, have directed the politics of language also with regards to the position of
Swedish contra English in the era of globalization. The change in representation in the
debate on English in Sweden ought then to be contemplated vis-à-vis other issues with
connection to struggle over the field, as a field effect from adjacent struggles.
The notion of field is suggested to be a powerful tool for fleshing out the mechanisms
of this transformation, as through agents’ habitus it elucidates “the interrelationship be-
tween individual action and group mores” (May 2010, 164). As Blommaert (2005, 43)
has identified: “If we want to explain the way in which people make sense socially, in re-
al environments, we need to understand the contexts in which such sense-making prac-
tices develop.” Thus, the notion of field explicates the linkage of discourses to positions.
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
In this light, metalinguistic discourses on English were produced by agents who had
themselves invested their capital in the market they defended, a market that, outside the
realm of the state, was perceived as becoming devalued. In these struggles, agents were
feeding a growing nostalgia for the ideological foundations of the civic welfare state (cf.
J. Andersson 2009). Swedish, in the narratives of such struggles, becomes indexical of
the post-war notions of Sweden and the social model of Swedish modernity. Domain loss
has its breeding ground in resistance against the disestablishment of the project of the
total and all-embracing language regime(s) of Sweden, in which the nation-state is cru-
cial as a frame for keeping such a vision intact. The notion may then be understood as a
way of handling globalization processes in which the role of the state is set in flux, open-
ing up linguistic markets beyond the control of the nation-state, where Swedish natural-
ly is of low value (cf. Blommaert 2010). In this sense, it is a successful representation, ir-
respective of its status as a scientific notion.
Thanks go to members and supporters of the Swedish Association for Linguistic Anthropology
(Swalan) as well as to two anonymous reviewers. All translations of quotes here are made by
the author unless otherwise stated.
1 This chapter by no means constitutes a field analysis of the language planning practices in Sweden. Such a
task requires a vitally different approach (see Bourdieu 1996). Here, the notion of field is rather deployed as
a theoretical posture as part of a comprehensive sociological model, which, of course, in agreement with
Madsen (2011, 269), “naturally presupposes that a field eventually emerged”. The rationale for adopting this
approach is due to the general laws of fields: “we can use what we learn about the functioning of each par-
ticular field to question and interpret other fields” (Bourdieu 1993, 72).
2 Nämnden för svensk språkvård, later Svenska språknämnden ‘The Swedish Language Council’.
3 Cf. the 1985 conference English in Swedish, focusing mainly on words in different “spheres” (see Språkvård
4 Keynote at Language and Super-diversity: Explorations and interrogations, Jyväskylä June 2013.
Allén, Sture. 2005. “Är god svenska diskriminerande?” Svenska Dagbladet, 6 Dec., 6.
Andersson, Karolin. 2005. “Svenska blir inte lagskyddat.” Svenska Dagbladet, 6 Dec., 3.
Andersson, Jenny. 2009. “Nordic Nostalgia and Nordic Light. The Swedish Model as
Utopia 1930–2007.” Scandinavian Journal of History 34(3): 229–245.
Bigo, Didier. 2013. “Security. Analysing Transnational Professionals of (In)security in
Europe.” In Bourdieu in International Relations. Rethinking Key Concepts in IR, ed. Re-
becca Adler-Nissen, 114–130. London/New York: Routledge.
Blackledge, Adrian. 2005. Discourse and Power in a Multilingual World. Amster-
dam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Blommaert, Jan. 1999. “The Debate is Open.In Language Ideological Debates, ed. Jan
Blommaert,1–38. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Blommaert, Jan. 2005. Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge.
Blommaert, Jan. 2010. The Sociolinguistics of Globalization. Cambridge: Cambridge.
Blommaert, Jan and Jef Verschueren.1998. Debating Diversity. Analysing the Discourse of
Tolerance. London/New York: Routledge.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1977a. Outline of a Theory of Practice. New York: Cambridge University
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1977b. “The Economics of Linguistic Exchanges.Social Science Infor-
mation 16(6), 645–668.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1987. “The Force of Law: Toward a Sociology of the Juridical Field.”
The Hasting Law Journal 38:814–853.
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1988. Homo Academicus. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1990. The Logic of Practice. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1991. Language and Symbolic Power. Malden: Polity Press.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1993. Sociology In Question. London: SAGE.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1996. The Rules of Art. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 2000. Pascalian Meditations. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 2004. Science of Science and Reflexivity. Chicago: The University of Chi-
cago Press.
Bourdieu, Pierre and Loïc Wacquant. 1992. An Invitation to a Reflexive Sociology. Chica-
go: The University of Chicago Press.
Boyd, Sally and Leena Huss. 1999. “Det behövs en helhetssyn på språken i Sverige!”
Språkvård 3:5–9.
Boyd, Sally and Leena Huss. 2003. “Mål i mun och språklig mångfald.Språkvård 1:28–
Cassirer, Peter. 1987. “Bevara svenskan blandad.” Dagens Nyheter, 8 Aug., 5.
Coulmas, Florian. 2005. ”Changing Language Regimes in Globalizing Environments.”
International Journal of the Sociology of Language 175/176, 3–15.
Chrystal, Judith. 1988. Engelskan i svensk dagspress. Stockholm: Esselte Studium.
De Geer, Vilhem. 1962. Svenska språkets engelska sjuka. Stockholm: Andrén & Holm.
Dezalay, Yves and Mikael Rask Madsen. 2012. “The Force of Law and Lawyers: Pierre
Bourdieu and the Reflexive Sociology of Law.” The Annual Review of Law and Social
Science 8, 433–452.
Duranti, Alessandro. 2012. “Anthropology and Linguistics.” In The Sage Handbook of So-
cial Anthropology, eds. Richard Fandon, Olivia Harris, Trevor Marchand, Mark
Nuttall, Cris Shore, Veronica Strang, and Richard Wilson, 12–23. Los Angeles/
London: Sage.
Ekenberg, Stefan. 1994. “Nationalism in the Swedish Welfare State.” Migration 23
Falk, Maria. 2001. Domänförluster i svenskan. Köpenhamn: Nordiska ministerrådet.
Foucault, Michel. 1972. The Archaeology of Knowledge and the Discourse on Language. New
York: Vintage Books.
Foucault, Michel. 1984. The Order of Discourse.” In Language and Politics, ed. Michael
J. Shapiro, 109138. Basil Blackwell: Oxford.
Foucault, Michel. 1991. “Politics and the study of discourse.” In The Foucault Effect.
Studied in Govermentality, eds. Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon and Peter Miller,
53–72. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Gorski, Philip. 2013. “Nation-ization Struggles. A Bourdieusian Theory of Nationalism.”
In Bourdieu and Historical Analysis, ed. Philip Gorski, 242–265. Durham/London:
Duke University Press.
Gunnarsson, Britt-Louise and Katarina Öhman. 1997. “Det internationaliserade univer-
sitetet. En studie av bruket av engelska och andra främmande språk vid Uppsala
universitet. TeFa 16: 188.
Halikiopoulou, Daphne, Kyriaki Nanou and Sofia Vasilopoulou. 2012. “The paradox of
Nationalism: The Common Denominator of Radical Right and Radical Left
Euroscepticism.” European Journal of Political Research 51(4): 504–539.
Hall, Stuart. 2013. “The Work of Representation.” In Representation, eds. Stuart Hall,
Jessica Evans and Sean Nixon, 1–56. London: SAGE.
Hanks, William. 2005. “Pierre Bourdieu and the Practices of Language.” Annual Review
of Anthropology 34: 67–83.
Hill, Jane and Bruce Mannheim. 1992. “Language and World View.” Annual Review of
Anthropology 21:381–406.
Hult, Francis. 2004. “Planning for Multilingualism and Minority Language Rights in
Sweden.” Language Policy 3: 181–201.
Hult, Francis. 2005. “A Case of Prestige and Status Planning: Swedish and English in
Sweden.” Current Issues in Language Planning 6(1): 73–79.
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Hyltenstam, Kenneth. 1996. “Svenskan, ett minoritetsspråk i Europa och världen?
Svenskans beskrivning 21, 9–33.
Hyltenstam, Kenneth. 2002. “Sociolinguistic Dynamism and Minority Languages
Global Trends reflected on the Swedish Scene.” In Cultural Diversity in the Baltic Sea
Region, eds. Imbi Sooman and Erwin Uhrmann, 3644. University of Vienna.
Hyltenstam, Kenneth and Lenore Arnberg. 1988. “Bilingualism and Education of Immi-
grant Children and Adults in Sweden.” In International Handbook of Bilingualism and
Bilingual Education, ed. Christina Bratt Paulston, 475–513. New York: Greenwood
Höglin, Renée. 2002. Engelska språket som hot och tillgång i Norden. Köpenhamn: Nordiska
Irvine, Judith. 1996. “When Talk Isn’t Cheap: Language and Political Economy. In The
Matrix of Language, eds. Donald Brenneis and Ronald Macaulay, 258–283. Boulder:
Westview Press.
Jansson, Erland, ed. 2008. Vetenskapssvenska med svensk kvalitet? Stockholm: Språkrådet,
Högskoleverket and Södertörns högskola.
Josephson, Olle. 2000. “Samhällsbärande språk.Språkvård 2:33–35.
Josephson, Olle. 2005. Bra mål i språkpolitiken.Svenska Dagbladet. 10 Dec., 13.
Josephson, Olle. 2012. “La communauté linguistique nordique. Éléments de comparaison
des politiques linguistiques dans les pays nordiques.” Nordiques 24: 17–36.
Kauppi, Nilo and Tero Erkkilä. 2011. The Struggle over Global Higher Education: Ac-
tors, Institutions, and Practices.International Political Sociology 5:314–326.
Kroskrity, Paul, ed. 2000. Regimes of Language. Santa Fe: SAR Press.
Kroskrity, Paul. 2006. Language Ideologies.” In A Companion to Linguistic Anthropology,
ed. Alessandro Duranti, 496–517. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.
Laureys, Godelieve. 1994. “Det svenska språket i ett europeiskt perspektiv.Svenskans
beskrivning 20: 24–37.
Lindberg, Bo 2005. “Det nya Sverige och språket vi ärvde.” Svenska Dagbladet. 21 March
2005, 4.
Linn, Andrew and Leigh Oakes. 2007. “Language Policies for a Global Era: The Chang-
ing Face of Language Politics in Scandinavia.” In Standard, Variation and Language
Change in the Germanic Languages, eds. Christian Fandrych and Reinier Salverda,
59–90. Tübingen: Gunter Narr.
Lodienius, Anna-Lena and Stieg Larsson. 1994. Extremhögern. Stockholm: Tiden.
Ljung, Magnus. 1988. Skinheads, hackers & lama ankor. Engelskan i 80-talets Sverige.
Stockholm: Trevi.
Lund, Jørn. 1989. Okay? Amerikansk påvirkning af dansk sprog. Köpenhamn: Dansklærer-
Lundberg, Allan 1960. “Om bruket av fula ord.Industria 10: 24–28.
Madsen, Mikael Rask. 2011. Reflexivity and the Construction of the International Ob-
ject: The Case of Human Rights.” International Political Sociology 5, 259–275.
May, Stephen. 2011. “Language Policy.” In Bourdieu, Language and Linguistics, ed. Mi-
chael Grenfell, 147170. London: Continuum.
Mehan, Hugh 1996.The Construction of an LD Student: A Case Study in the Politics
of Representation.” In Natural Histories of Discourse, eds. Michael Silverstein and
Greg Urban, 253–276. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Melander, Björn. 2004.Vinna eller försvinna? Om engelskans användning i EU-
sammanhang.In Svenska språknämnden 2004.
Milani, Tommaso. 2006. “Language Planning and National Identity in Sweden: A Per-
formativity Approach.” In Language Ideologies, Policies and Practices, eds. Clare Mar-
Molino and Patrick Stevenson, 104–117. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Milani, Tommaso. 2007. “Voices of Endangerment: A Language Ideological Debate on
the Swedish Language.In Discourses of Endangerment. Ideology and Interest in the De-
fence of Languages, eds. Alexandre Duchêne and Monica Heller, 169196. London:
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Milani, Tommaso and Sally Johnson. 2008. “Language politics and legitimation crisis in
Sweden.” Language Problems & Language Planning 32(1):1–22.
Oakes, Leigh. 2001. Language and National Identity. Comparing France and Sweden. Am-
sterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Oakes, Leigh. 2005. “From Internationalisation to Globalisation. Language and the Na-
tionalist Revival in Sweden.” Language Problems & Language Planning 29(2), 151–
O’Dell, Tom. 1997. Culture Unbound. Americanization and Everyday Life in Sweden. Lund:
Nordic Academic Press.
Olsson, Bernt 1987. Alla språk duger.” Språkvård 3:26–28.
Pagrotsky, Leif. 2005. “Svenskan är så stark att den inte behöver försvaras.” Svenska
Dagbladet, 20 Dec., 6–7.
Park, Jospeh Sung-Yul and Lionel Wee. 2012. Markets of English. Linguistic Capital and
Language Policy in a Globalizing World. New York/London: Routledge.
Phillipson, Robert. 1992. Linguistic Imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Phillipson, Robert. 2009. “English in Higher Education: Panacea or Pandemic?Angles
on the English-Speaking World 9, 29–58.
Preisler, Bent 2009.Complementary Languages. The National Language and English
as Working Languages in European Universities.Angles on the English-Speaking
World 9, 10–28.
Prop. 2005/06:2. Bästa språket en samlad svensk språkpolitik. Stockholm: Kulturdeparte-
Ringmar, Erik. 1998. ”Re-imagining Sweden: The Rhetorical Battle Over EU Member-
ship.” Scandinavian Journal of History 23:45–63.
Rydgren, Jens. 2006. From Tax Populism to Ethnic Nationalism. Radical Right-Wing
Populism in Sweden. New York: Berghahn Books.
Salö, Linus. 2010. Svenska eller engelska? En kartläggning av språksituationen inom högre ut-
bildning och forskning. Stockholm: Språkrådet.
Salö, Linus. 2012. “Domänförlust som språkideologisk representation. Språkvårdens
diskurser om engelska i Sverige.Nordand 7(2):21–59.
Schieffelin, Bambi, Kathryn Woolard and Paul Kroskrity , eds.1998. Language Ideologies.
Practice and Theory. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press.
SFS 2009:600. 2009. Språklag. Svensk författningssamling. Stockholm: Kulturdeparte-
Silverstein, Michael. 1996. “Monoglot ‘Standard’ in America: Standardization and
Methaphors of Linguistic Hegemony.In The Matrix of Language, eds. Donald
Brenneis and Ronald Macaulay, 284306. Boulder: Westview Press.
SOU 1997:192. 1997. Steg mot en minoritetspolitik - Europarådets konvention för skydd av
nationella minoriteter. Stockholm: Landsbygdsdepartementet.
SOU 2002:27. 2002. Mål i mun. Förslag till handlingsprogram för svenska språket. Stock-
holm: Kulturdepartementet.
SOU 2008:26. Värna språken förslag till språklag. Stockholm: Kulturdepartementet.
Stroud, Christopher. 2004. Rinkeby Swedish and Semilingualism in Language Ideologi-
cal Debates: A Bourdieuean Perspective.Journal of Sociolinguistics 8(2): 196–214.
Stråth, Bo. 1992. Folkhemmet mot Europa. Ett historiskt perspektiv på 90-talet. Stockholm:
Tidens förlag.
Svanlund, Jan and Margareta Westman. 1991. “Svenska språkets ställning vid europeisk
integration.” Språkvård 4:9–11.
Svenska språknämnden 1986. Nyord i svenskan från 40-tal till 80-tal. Stockholm: Esselte
Svenska språknämnden 1998. Förslag till handlingsprogram för att främja svenska språket.
URL: (Feb. 22 2013).
Svenska språknämnden 2004. Engelskan i Sverige. Språkval i utbildning, arbete och kultur-
liv. Stockholm: Norstedts.
Söderlundh, Hedda. 2010. Internationella universitetet lokala språkval. Om bruket av talad
svenska i engelskspråkiga kursmiljöer. Uppsala universitet.
To appear in English in Nordic Academia: Ideology and Practice, eds. A-K. Hultgren, F. Gregersen
and J. Thøgersen. Studies in World Language Problems. John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Teleman, Ulf. 1989. “Det nordiska språksamarbetet. Idéer och framtidsuppgifter. Språk
i Norden 1989, 14–32.
Teleman, Ulf. 1992. “Det svenska riksspråkets utsikter i ett integrerat Europa.Språk-
vård 4:7–16.
Teleman, Ulf. 2003. Tradis och funkis. Svensk språkvård och språkpolitik efter 1800. Stock-
holm: Norstedts.
Teleman, Ulf and Margareta Westman. 1997. “Behöver vi en nationell språkpolitik?
Språkvård 2:5–16.
Thompson, John. 1991. “Editor’s Introduction.” In Bourdieu 1991.
Trägårdh, Lars. 2002. “Sweden and the EU. Welfare State Nationalism and the Spectre
of ’Europe’.” In European Integration and National Identity. The Challenge of the Nordic
States, eds. Lene Hansen and Ole Wæver, 130–181. London: New York: Routledge.
Vikør, Lars 2010. “Language Purism in the Nordic Countries.International Journal of
the Sociology of Language 204, 9–30.
Weinstein, Brian. 1989. Francophonie: Purism at the International Level.In The Poli-
tics of Language Purism, eds. Björn Jernudd and Michael Shapiro, 53–79. Berlin New
York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Wellander, Erik. 1939. Riktig svenska. En handledning i svenska språkets vård. Stockholm:
Norstedts & Söner.
Westman, Margareta. 1996. “Har svenska språket en framtid?In Svenskan i tusen år.
Glimtar ur svenska språkets utveckling, eds. Lena Moberg and Margareta Westman,
182–194. Stockholm: Norstedts.
Wacquant, Loïc. 1992. “Toward a Social Praxeology: The Structure and Logic of
Bouridu’s Sociology.” In Bourdieu, Pierre and Loïc Wacquant. 1992.
Woolard, Kathryn. 1998. Introduction. Language Ideology as a Field of Inquiry.” In
Schieffelin et. al. 1998.
... en beskrivning som antar och möjliggör särskiljande av enskilda diskurser från varandra, vilka sedan kan visa sig innehålla fler diskurser (jfr Foucault, 1969). Inom ramen för det akademiska fältet fokuserar vi olika diskurser som cirkulerar och korsas under samma tidsperiod (jfr termen "korsande diskurser", Foucault, 1984;Salö, 2013). De kan gå på tvärs med varandra och delvis även sammanflätas (jfr Scollon, 2008). ...
... Flera texter är ambivalenta genom att delvis ansluta sig till sva-diskursen men därutöver uppta aspekter av den korsande inkluderingsdiskursen, utan att göra reda för hur utgångspunkter för sva-diskursen ska hanteras, i synnerhet avseende en långsiktig utbildning. Det visar hur diskurser som korsas vid en viss tidpunkt både kan kollidera och sammanflätas (Foucault, 1984;Salö, 2013). ...
Full-text available
I denna artikel urskiljer och diskuterar vi diskurser i vetenskapliga texter inom det akademiska fältet i Sverige om skolämnet svenska som andraspråk (härefter sva) efter dess införande 1995, utifrån begreppet likvärdighet. I studien analy­seras vilka typer av argument som anförts, i vilken teoretisk och empirisk bas de kontextualiseras, och vilka antaganden om likvärdighet som de avspeglar. Två kolliderande diskurser identifieras där argumenten i den ena, sva-diskursen, främst sprungen ur fältet flerspråkighets- och andraspråksforskning, utgår från erkännandet av språkliga undervisningsbehov hos elever som lär på ett andra­språk som ett uttryck för likvärdighet (equality-as-equal-opportunity) och som motstånd mot ”olikhetsblindhet”. Sva mejslas i denna argumentation fram som del i en pluralistisk språkpolicy i vilken såväl ämnet sva som ämnet modersmål ingår. Kritik mot ämnets organisering återfinns inom diskursen samtidigt som behoven av andraspråksundervisning erkänns. I den kolliderande diskursen, som kretsar kring begreppet inkludering, beskrivs ämnet istället som uttryck för bristperspektiv på de elever som ämnet är avsett för, och särskiljande av elev­grupper ses som ett huvudproblem. Interdiskursiva relationer urskiljs i det att aspekter av inkluderingsdiskursen även finns inom sva-diskursen. De olika tolk­ningar av brist och språk som framkommer återspeglar hur diskurser konstru­erar sina objekt, i detta fall innehåll i och syfte för sva (Foucault, 1972). Diskursernas anteciperande prägel indikerar en involvering av aktörer med hög grad av agentivitet, vilket reflekterar det akademiska fältets relativt stora in­flytande på det politiska fältet avseende språkpluralistisk utbildningspolicy. Den empiriska forskning om sva-ämnets undervisningspraktik som till dels under­bygger de identifierade diskurserna är dock påfallande begränsad. Nyckelord: svenska som andraspråk, diskurser, pedagogisk inkludering, likvär­dighet Similar or similar opportunities? Discourses on the school subject Swedish as a second language within the academic field in Sweden Abstract In this article, we take the concept of equality as the basis to discern and discuss discourses in scholarly texts within the Swedish academic field on the school subject Swedish as a second language (SSL) after its introduction in 1995. The study analyzes the types of arguments, their theoretical and empirical under­pinnings, and the assumptions of equality reflected. Two colliding discourses are identified, of which the arguments of the SSL discourse, stemming from research on multilingualism and second language research, recognizes lan­guage educational needs in students’ learning in their second language as an expression of equality-as-equal-opportunity and resistance to “difference blind­ness”. In this line of argument, SSL is constructed as part of a pluralistic language policy comprising SSL and mother tongue education. However, the recognition of second language educational needs exists alongside criticism of the subject’s organization. The colliding discourse centers on inclusion, describes SSL as an expression of deficiency regarding the students, and considers the separation of students to be a key problem. As aspects of the inclusion discourse are also found in the SSL discourse, interdiscursive rela­tions are discerned. The emerging interpretations of deficiency and language reflect how discourses construct their object (Foucault, 1972), in this case contents and aims of SSL. The anticipating characteristics of the discourses indicate an involvement of actors with a high degree of agency, reflecting the relatively high impact of the academic field on the political field in terms of multilingual education policy. Research on the SSL educational practices, partly underpinning the discourses, is however strikingly limited. Keywords: Swedish as a second language, discourses, pedagogical inclusion, equality
... Dar vienoje publikacijoje mišrus anglų ir švedų kalbų stilius interpretuotas kaip amerikietiško vartotojiškumo ir masinės kultūros indeksas (55). Kinijos TV dainų konkurso tyrime anglų kalba siejama su amerikiečių ir britų populiariąja muzika, jos vartojimas esą leidžia atlikėjams ir klausytojams kurti vakarietiškos, Vakarų kultūrą pažįstančios, į tarptautinę auditoriją orientuotos asmenybės tapatybę (58). ...
Full-text available
This paper describes the social value of the global English language as identified in the investigations of various communities worldwide and shows how the social meanings of English relate to each other in a broader ideological field universal for today’s locally global world. The notions of indexical field (Eckert 2008) and bivalent indexicality (Cotter, Valentinsson 2018) are applied in the analysis. The aim of the study is to synthesize results obtained by different researchers from different ideological and communicative contexts and to explore the indexical potential of English, including its local varieties and mixed speech styles. The study is based on a qualitative analysis of a corpus of secondary sources, consisting of a total of 74 scholarly publications from the Expanding Circle communities, which were published in English in 1990–2020 (most of them during the second decade of the 21st century).In total, more than 50 social meanings of the global English language have been identified. It is likely that the abundance of social associations with English is due to the strong first-order indexes. Hence, the social meanings were grouped into the following nine indexical categories based on the presumed first-order sociocultural indexicalities: British and American culture; International sphere; Technologies, science and education; Economic and social status; Personal capital; Youth; Popular culture and media; Urban sphere; and Male. Positive social meanings dominate the indexicalities, but for some of them, bivalent indexicality (presence of contradictory positive and negative values) has been recorded. Although there is much overlap between these relative categories, the constellation as a whole is interpreted as a complex of several separate and multivalent indexical fields. It is to be hoped that this study not only illustrates that the notion of indexical field is applicable for analysis of the imagined global community of users of English, but also provides a broader ideological context for further research of the social meaning-making potential of the global English language.
... However, the main advocate for the precursor of Bokmål in the nineteenth century, Knud Knudsen, also promoted strong purist views. As mentioned in Section 2, the main focus of present-day Norwegian language policy in relation to foreign language influence is expressed through the term domain loss, something that may appear to be a shift in perspective from a purist ideology to a more knowledge-based approach to linguistic change (Salö 2013). ...
Full-text available
This article explores some dimensions of how the role of the English language in Norway has been discursively constructed in newspapers during recent years, based on the analysis of data from the five-year period 2008–2012. The analysis is conducted using a specialised corpus containing 3,743 newspaper articles which were subjected to corpus-based macro-analyses and techniques, as well as manual micro-level analyses and categorisation. The main focus of the analysis is on the manifestation of attitudes through various ways of expression, such as the occurrence of lexical sequences and conceptual metaphors related to language. The results show that even though positive perceptions of English were quite frequent in the data, the main part consisted of expressions where English is seen in a negative light. Hence, a fairly negative attitude towards the role of English is predominant, as illustrated by the most frequent conceptual metaphor
Full-text available
In the context of migration policies in Belgium in the 1990's, this book analyses the discourse of the 'tolerant' majority, as found in news reporting, policy statements, social-scientific research reports, anti-racism campaigns and training programs. The analysis reveals what the authors call a 'homogeneistic' ideology, fundamental non-acceptance of diversity.
Much of the existing body of literature on language planning and national identity in Sweden has underscored the absence of language planning and a sense of a traditional national identity until the mid-1990s (for example, Teleman 2003; Teleman and Westman 1997). This was followed in the late 1990s by the flourishing of a series of debates on the Swedish language both among academics and politicians. The new overt interest in language planning issues in Sweden has been interpreted in the light of social identity theory and language attitude theory as the manifestation of a budding ethnonationalist revival, which puts great emphasis on the Swedish language as a symbol of national identity in order to counteract the increasing pressure of globalization (Oakes 2001).
The global spread of English both reproduces and reinforces oppressive structures of inequality. But such structures can no longer be seen as imposed from an imperial center, as English is now actively adopted and appropriated in local contexts around the world. This book argues that such conditions call for a new critique of global English, one that is sensitive to both the political economic conditions of globalization and speakers' local practices. Linking Bourdieu's theory of the linguistic market and his practice-based perspective with recent advances in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology, this book offers a fresh new critique of global English. The authors highlight the material, discursive, and semiotic processes through which the value of English in the linguistic market is constructed, and suggest possible policy interventions that may be adopted to address the problems of global English. Through its serious engagement with current sociolinguistic theory and insightful analysis of the multiple dimensions of English in the world, this book challenges the readers to think about what we need to do to confront the social inequalities that are perpetuated by the global spread of English.