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Universities, Their Responsibilities, and the Matter Of Language. On Supplementary-Language Summaries in Internationalizing Academia



The dominance of English in scientific production raises issues in relation to certain responsibilities of Swedish universities, linked to the dissemination of knowledge and the development of the Swedish language. In light of this, the article deals with Swedish-language summaries (SLSs) in English-language doctoral theses. It treats the SLS as an instrument of language regimentation, deliberately aimed at limiting the near-total dominance of English. Drawing on language policy documents , along with scholarly accounts and interview data, the article discusses the SLS as conceived by advocates in language policy and planning, university policy-makers, and active researchers. It is shown that the SLS is aimed at counteracting negative effects pertaining to knowledge outreach as well as register formation. I argue that there is a contradiction between these two aims: on the one hand, an SLS that is simple enough to bridge the gap between science and society is not likely to contribute to the expansion of advanced registers of Swedish; on the other hand, an SLS that takes seriously the task of expanding Swedish registers will be unintelligible for the wider audience. Yet, it may still serve as a reminder that languages other than English are worthy of consideration and use.
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Language and Education
ISSN: 0950-0782 (Print) 1747-7581 (Online) Journal homepage:
Universities, their responsibilities, and the
matter of language. On supplementary-language
summaries in internationalizing academia
Linus Salö
To cite this article: Linus Salö (2018): Universities, their responsibilities, and the matter of
language. On supplementary-language summaries in internationalizing academia, Language and
Education, DOI: 10.1080/09500782.2018.1450417
To link to this article:
© 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa
UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis
Published online: 21 Mar 2018.
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Universities, their responsibilities, and the matter of language.
On supplementary-language summaries in internationalizing
Linus Sal
Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm,
Received 30 October 2017
Accepted 6 March 2018
The dominance of English in scientic production raises issues in
relation to certain responsibilities of Swedish universities, linked to
the dissemination of knowledge and the development of the
Swedish language. In light of this, the article deals with Swedish-
language summaries (SLSs) in English-language doctoral theses. It
treats the SLS as an instrument of language regimentation,
deliberately aimed at limiting the near-total dominance of English.
Drawing on language policy documents , along with scholarly
accounts and interview data, the article discusses the SLS as
conceived by advocates in language policy and planning, university
policy-makers, and active researchers. It is shown that the SLS is
aimed at counteracting negative effects pertaining to knowledge
outreach as well as register formation. I argue that there is a
contradiction between these two aims: on the one hand, an SLS
that is simple enough to bridge the gap between science and
society is not likely to contribute to the expansion of advanced
registers of Swedish; on the other hand, an SLS that takes seriously
the task of expanding Swedish registers will be unintelligible for the
wider audience. Yet, it may still serve as a reminder that languages
other than English are worthy of consideration and use.
summaries; supplementary-
language summaries;
language planning and
policy; university language
policy; regimentation;
register; outreach
1. Introduction
In recent decades, English seems to have fortied its position as the go-to language of
globalizing academia. This circumstance poses challenges to higher education institutions
(HEIs) in Northern Europe and elsewhere beyond the Anglophone world: despite their
internationalizing pursuit, they must live up to various responsibilities on their home
ground vis-
a-vis the societies that enable their presence. This tension is salient in the states
that make up the Nordic region (e.g. Hultgren et al. 2014; Saarinen 2017). With few
exceptions, the HEIs in this region are publicly funded, and the knowledge markets of the
societies that surround and sustain them operate chiey through state-backed national
languages. Thus, a parallel language strategy is called for (see Holmen 2017).
© 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License
(, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium,
provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
It follows that this tension is readily visible in Swedish academia. Here, English perme-
ates most disciplinary elds: 9 out of 10 doctoral theses are written in English (Sal
and English is equally prominent across other genres of scientic production (e.g. Kuteeva
2015; Sal
o and Josephson 2014). While this situation seems to be in line with Swedish
research policy and the trust it places in internationalizationas a prerequisite of research
quality and impact, it nevertheless rests uneasily with a number of legally stipulated
responsibilities of the higher education (HE) sector, pertaining both to knowledge dissem-
ination and language development. Consequently, in the Swedish eld of language plan-
ning and policy (LPP), the prevalence of English has spawned a meta-discursive debate
on negative foreseeable effects on the Swedish language and its speakers. Since the early
1990s, LPP actors language planning institutions, individual language planners, and
scholars alike have raised two kinds of critical questions: (1) How will research ndings
reach out to the man on the street? And (2) how can Swedish remain an effective means
of scientic communication? It has been argued that, rst, the lack of Swedish is a demo-
cratic issue, since the sole use of English prevents general public access to advanced
research ndings. Second, the relative non-occurrence of Swedish in scientic writing hin-
ders the development of terminology and other features of advanced registers.
In Swedish LPP, it has recurrently been stressed that the inclusion of a Swedish-lan-
guage summary (henceforth SLS) in doctoral theses written in other languages can ward
off some of the problems allegedly caused by English-language prevalence. This proposi-
tion has been received as a reasonable compromise in the scienticeld, and the language
policies of most HEIs currently demand SLSs in theses written in languages other than
Swedish. However, it would seem that the perils linked to the dominance of English in sci-
entic communication differ substantially in nature one concerns knowledge outreach,
the other language development. Subsequently, queries may be posed about the precise
objectives underpinning the policy intervention at hand: What sorts of issues are SLSs
intended to be a remedy for, and how do such intentions relate to the practical implemen-
tation of SLS policies in the everyday practices of Swedish academia? Directed by this
research question, the focus of the present article is twofold: On the one hand, it explores
how the SLS has been envisioned by differentially positioned stakeholders LPP actors,
scholars, policy-makers, and so forth united by their common stakes in the issue at
hand. On the other hand, it draws attention to implementation issues that arise in prac-
tice. A subsidiary aim is to compile the rather sparse literature that exists on these matters
in Sweden, which may prove useful in forthcoming policy discussions and empirical
investigations. It follows that initiating a constructive discussion on these matters lies at
the core of what this article seeks to achieve. Prospectively, dwelling upon the theses sum-
maries relevant to the Swedish case might expand the knowledgebase on supplementary-
language summaries more generally, which might prove valuable to debates and consider-
ations across a range of different contexts.
2. Scope, material, and methodology
The present study is broadly situated in the burgeoning area of university language policy
in Sweden (e.g. Bj
orkman 2014; Soler, Bj
orkman, and Kuteeva 2018;K
allkvist and Hult
2016; Karlsson 2017). In ursuit of a comprehensive framework (see section 3) for grasping
SLSs, I invoke the notion of responsibilityas a lynchpin for contemplating different kinds
2 L. SAL
of rationales attached to the SLS: one that focuses on social responsibilities of modern uni-
versities in the production of knowledge, and one that focuses on their responsibilities
with respect to language matters, or more precisely, on processes of register expansion. In
addition, I center on attempts of controlling the production of discourse as a means of liv-
ing up to such responsibilities. To this end, aligning with the theme of this special issue,
the SLS is here understood as being part and parcel of the practice of l language regimenta-
tion that is, of governing the production of knowledge and the linguistic resources used
for such ends (Kroskrity 2000b). In the context discussed here, such attempts are materi-
alized as a feature of locally imposed language policy interventions, designed to retrench
the near-conclusive dominance of English in scientic production. Empirically, the article
examines the steering rationales behind the SLS as a regimenting practice by highlighting
understandings of the SLS as conceived from the viewpoint of advocates, policy-makers,
and practitioners. By advocates, I refer mainly to LPP actors and also to actors of other
elds who have expressed their views of the necessity and justication for imposing this
particular policy regime. By policy-makers, I refer mostly to HEIs and those involved in
crafting and subsequently imposing local language policies; their understandings, subse-
quently, are found in the language policies they have implemented. By practitioners, I
refer to active researchers, whose perspectives are included to foreground issues that arise
when SLS policies are implemented. Practitioners, for all practical purposes, equals PhD
candidates but occasionally also their supervisors and others involved in the production
of PhD theses. Naturally, there are no watertight compartments enclosing each of these
three broad categories of actors. An LPP advocate, for instance, might well be a practicing
researcher in one capacity and also be involved in policy-making, in another. Yet, vis-
a-vis the objective of identifying existing understandings of the SLS, I maintain that it is
justied to distinguish between those who promote regimentation (advocates), those who
regiment de facto (policy-makers), and those whose writing practices are being regi-
mented (practitioners).
Congruently, the material analyzed is three-pronged and encompasses (1) central
documents of national LPP alongside scholarly accounts that have dwelled on the impor-
tance and rationale of including SLSs; (2) 17 language policy documents imposed by
Swedish HEIs, which contain statements on SLSs; and (3) interview accounts with two
active researchers. As for the rst point, the methodological procedure involved the iden-
tication and gathering of ofcial documents and scholarly work where SLSs have been
dealt with to a varying degree. Central LPP documents include The Swedish Language
Act (Ministry of Culture 2009) along with governmental bills and reports preceding this
Act (Ministry of Culture 2002,2008; Ministry of Education and Culture 2005; Swedish
Language Council 1998). Included here are also reports and mappings produced on the
initiative of the Swedish or Nordic bodies of LPP (Falk 2001; Karlsson 2017; Sal
well as other work where discussions on SLSs have appeared (Franke 2007; Josephson
2004,2015; Sal
o and Hanell 2014; Uppsala University 2016). I rely considerably on meta-
analysis of such work, as a way of composing what seems to be the existing knowledgebase
on SLSs.
As for the second point, all existing language policies of Swedish HEI were collected,
and those that include phrasings on SLSs were singled out, amounting to 15 HEIs and 2
autonomous faculties with policies of their own.
These documents thus 17 in total
were subjected to a qualitative analysis of manifest content (Berg 2001, 241ff.; Soler,
orkman, and Kuteeva 2018), which aimed at determining how the rationale for produc-
ing SLSs was stated, and whether directions were given on the sort of text that SLSs
should be.
As for the third point, interviews were conducted with two researchers in the English-
heavy eld of physics. The interviews, which were conducted in Swedish, revolved around
a variety of language-related matters, including SLSs. Both interviewees worked at HEIs
demanding SLSs. One was chosen on the merit of being a recent doctorate who had
included an SLS in her thesis. The other was chosen on the merit of being a senior profes-
sor obliged to make sure that SLSs are being included as a part of his supervision duties.
Their experiences of SLSs were included in the material to provide illustrative examples of
actual SLS writing practices and, accordingly, complementary perspectives on implemen-
tation issues of SLS policies.
3. Framework
3.1. Responsibilities: outreach and register
Reasoning about universities and their responsibilities has long lingered, featuring as it did
earlier in the writings of Immanuel Kant (see Derrida (1992) for an appraisal). In our
time, the theme has taken various directions. Bok (1982) discusses at length the image of
universities as being secluded from society, standing aloof from the public. Opposing this
situation, he calls for a stance that stresses social responsibilities of the modern university.
In short, universities have an obligation to respond to public needs, and of balancing
between the priorities of the institution and the demands of the surrounding society, a
fact that raises pivotal questions about public dialog versus scholarly kudos, etc. (e.g. Bur-
awoy 2004; Einsiedel 2007; Fleck, Hess, and Lyon 2009; Marginson 2007).
Responsibility is also a key word in contemporary discourse in and about research pol-
icy. It features prominently in the EUs Horizon 2020 as well as in ongoing policy discus-
sions and directives in Sweden (e.g. Ministry of Education 2017). At the heart of the
matter, to speak of responsibilitiesfeeds on the idea that universities ought to servesoci-
eties. It may be argued that such a stance is particularly germane in settings where HEIs
are largely publicly funded, as they are in Sweden. In one way or another, tax-funded
research needs to be benecial for its funders, in this case, Swedish taxpayers. Accordingly,
HEIs in Sweden are legally obliged to take responsibility with regard to knowledge out-
reach as well as language development (see below). Swedish law does not provide clear-
cut directives as to how HEIs should take such responsibility. In fact, while HEIs are rec-
ommended to implement language policies (Swedish National Agency for Higher Educa-
tion 2008), there are no national regulations stating that HEIs must have such policies or
what they should address. Likewise, while Sigbrit Franke, Swedens university chancellor
19992007, described it as a reasonable step for all universities to make extensiveSLSs
obligatory (Franke 2007, 18), this vision did not lead to any imperative demands. It fol-
lows from this fact that dictates to produce SLSs are regulated at the level of HEIs and,
occasionally, at the faculty level. On the part of HEIs, then, imposing such policies is one
way of taking responsibility for enforcing practices that meet the demands principally out-
lined in legal frameworks.
4 L. SAL
The responsibility of knowledge outreach feeds into what is known in Swedish HE as
samverkan, which translates roughly into interaction with the surrounding society. Since
1997, the task of third stream activitieshas been inscribed in the Higher Education Ordi-
nance as one of the three tasks of Swedish HEIs, the other two being research and teach-
ing. In more recent research policy developments, samverkan has been ascribed
increasing importance as a facet of university accountability, providing impetus for
increased social collaboration and research utility (Ministry of Education 2016). While
this signier of utilitarianism has focused chiey on the commodication of knowledge
through scienceindustry interactions (e.g. Perez Vico et al. 2017), it also embraces
knowledge dissemination from academia to society at large: popular science communica-
tion, education, and outreach to the general public. Promoters of this latter notion of sam-
verkan are inclined to stress the relationship between science and the knowledge it
produces and the public spherein Habermas(1989 [1962])original sense, that is, the
communicative space of communal debate focal to democracy in society. Outreach, thus,
is an old idea with renewed relevance and value.
The responsibility of language development is regulated through the Language Act of
2009, which contains provisions on language responsibilities of the public sector, to which
Swedish HEIs, as government agencies, belong. The Act states, rst, that The public sec-
tor has a particular responsibility for the use and development of Swedish(Ministry of
Culture 2009,Section 6) and, second, that Government agencies have a special responsi-
bility for ensuring that Swedish terminology in their various areas of expertise is accessi-
ble, and that it is used and developed(Section 12). These phrasings subscribe to a set of
old preoccupations within modernist LPP, originally concerned with the modernization,
intellectualization, and standardizationof languages (e.g. Fishman, Ferguson, and Das
Gupta 1968). The baseline is that linguistic devices develop on the basis of utilization and
that every language is equally well adapted to the uses to which the community puts it
(Halliday 1964, 43). Hence, the logic is that Swedish needs to be used in order to develop,
and that HEIs are obliged to contribute to this cause. Support for such a position can be
found in the more recent work of the linguistic anthropologist, Asif Agha (2007), who has
worked in pursuit of developing a cultural-semiotic understanding of languages as differ-
entiated into registers. In this framework, a register is envisaged as inventory of discursive
signs, culture-internally recognized as being associated with particular social practices
and categories of persons who engage in such practices. Since registers are historical
value-attributed formations, they are also subjected to change in respect to the demo-
graphic mass of speakers acquainted with its forms, the array of semiotic devices that are
recognized as its elements, and the continuity of language practices where the register is
employed over time (Agha 2007, 205). For Agha, formal institutions such as HEIs play a
vital role in the replication, dissemination, and legitimation of advanced registers. They
may facilitate register expansion and competence in society, for instance, by reinforcing a
registers socially distributed existence by making it known to larger groups of people.
3.2. Language regimentation
Given the centrality of language in relation to these responsibilities, controlling or regi-
menting the use of language is critical. In Kroskritys seminal volume Regimes of Lan-
guage (2000b), the notion of language regimentation was employed to direct attention to
practices used in realizing a given politics of language (Kroskrity 2000a). Regimentation
may be achieved through the practical imposition of a language regime, that is, a norma-
tive order that aims to govern, and so exercise some control over, the ways in which peo-
ple use language. Language policies that successfully impinge upon peoples linguistic
choices are paramount cases of such regimes. Regimentation may be a matter of imposing
the language policies of a state, but also those of organizations or institutions within or
beyond the state. This multi-level conceptualization of regimentation suits the purposes
of this article, since dictates to write up SLSs in Swedish academia are regulated at the level
of HEIs, which in turn answer to national legal frameworks.
Thus, I take language regimentation to refer to active attempts of controlling the pro-
duction of discourse. I treat regimentation as serving the aim of promoting the use of par-
ticular capital-L languages but also of registers within such constructions. In other words,
regimentation may be intentionally exercised to bolster knowledge outreach as well as reg-
ister expansion, and it is therefore a matter of governing the production of knowledge as
much as the linguistic resources used for such ends (Kroskrity 2000b). State-backed LPP
deals with ofcialized forms of language regimentation, seeking as it does to arrive at par-
ticular desiredlanguage situations. Yet, since it is up to the individual HEIs to craft and
impose their own language policies, an important aim of LPP is to extend its agenda to
the policies of HEIs. Consequently, I conceptualize debates on language and its use as an
important facet of regimentation. As Blommaert (1999) foregrounds, prolonged debates
often have an impact on the discursive struggles surrounding policy construction, since
they often serve the aim of gathering support for language regimes different from those
that currently prevail. Hence, following Bauman and Briggs (2000), I take a particular
interest in the capacity of discourse to both represent and regulate other discourses(p.
142), that is, in meta-discourse. Meta-discursive practice involves the production of dis-
course about discourse, more often than not with the willful intention of yielding change.
By accentuating detrimental conditions in the area of language, meta-discursive accounts
may successfully materialize into language policies, which may thereafter be used as
instruments to authoritatively regiment the writing practices of active researchers. Illus-
trating this approach, the article now turns to the embedding of SLSs in meta-discursive
debates on Swedish LPP.
4. Towards SLS policies the view of advocates
In Sweden, criticism against the prevailing position of English in academia has been
voiced since the early 1990s, mostly from the juncture of institutionalized LPP and Scan-
dinavian linguistics (e.g. Teleman 1992). In 1997, a survey showed that English in the
hard sciences and, increasingly, in other academic elds was used either extensively or
exclusively for a range of academic activities: at seminars and lectures, in textbooks, as
well as in written production at all levels most notably in scientic publishing (Gunnars-
son and
Ohman 1997). In the meta-discursive debate triggered by this study, attention
was drawn to a wide range of ostensible issues, ranging from matters of language develop-
ment to researcherscognition and competence in both Swedish and English, as well as to
questions of language status and research quality (see e.g. Gunnarsson 2001b).
While this body of criticism is multidimensional, it is possible to discern two strands of
concerns manifested therein. The rst centers on the dissemination of and public access
6 L. SAL
to research, which is what I refer to as the outreach view, linked as it is to public dialog
(e.g. Burawoy 2004). It has often been stressed that Sweden, the same as other high tech-
nology countries, is in essential need of having new knowledge transmitted outside spe-
cialist circles(Ministry of Culture 2002, 50, my translation). It has been argued that these
processes are rendered more difcult as researchers become more and more internation-
ally orientated, thereby distancing themselves from the general public and, in so doing,
yielding a language barrier that could result in a lack of participation of researchers in
public discussions (e.g. Ministry of Culture 2002, 27; Teleman 2003, 232f.). From this van-
tage point, commentators have argued that the dominance of English is problematic in
that large segments of society are excluded from the knowledge produced at universities.
Tellingly, from this vantage point certain democratic objectionswere raised by Gunnars-
son in the following way:
Through whom and in what way should research best benet society, how can research be
useful, and how can the man on the street, politicians and others gain insight into ongoing
research activities? (Gunnarsson 2001a, 289)
The second strand pertains to the maintenance and construction of terminology, dis-
course types and patterns, and stylistic-specic linguistic goods. This is what I refer to as
the register view. At stake here is the oft-noted fear that Swedish could lose its usability as
an effective means for communication within certain areas. Melander (2001, 28), for
example, talks of loss of intertextualityas a process whereby Swedish ceases to be used in
certain genres and text types of science, which results in a small reduction of the stylistic
spectrum of Swedish.By the same token, Gunnarsson (2001b, 62) speaks of genre death
and of the change of culturally determined text patterns, caused by the impact of English
in the realm of science.
In 1997, the Swedish Language Council was tasked by the Swedish government to pro-
duce an action plan for the safeguarding of the Swedish language. In its report (Swedish
Language Council 1998), the Council framed higher education and research as one area
among many where protective measures ought to be taken. On this point, the introduc-
tion of mandatory SLSs in doctoral theses written in other languages was recommended.
At the time, the Council seems to have conceived this form of regimentation as, rst and
foremost, a way of documenting, and thus ensuring, that doctoral candidates were able to
discuss their research topics in Swedish, too. However, as the debate progressed, it mush-
roomed into a wide range of potential issues, as outlined above. Accordingly, in the subse-
quent governmental report Ma
l i mun (Ministry of Culture 2002), the objective for
implementing mandatory SLSs was signicantly elaborated, now based on the dual
grounds of circumventing issues related to register development as well as those of knowl-
edge bridging:
A summary in Swedish makes it possible to keep Swedish vivid also within the most
advanced elds of modern research. () A Swedish summary also increases the precondi-
tions of disseminating the new knowledge out into the Swedish society. (Ministry of Culture
2002, 95, my translation)
In this framing of its benets, the SLS was allotted to counteract several of the problems
that by now were meta-discursively associated with English in academia, including con-
cerns of outreach and register. In subsequent texts, SLSs were similarly advocated as
serving plural aims: to safeguard Swedish terminology, keeping the Swedish language
vivid and disseminating new knowledge to the surrounding society(Ministry of Educa-
tion and Culture 2005, 47, my translation). Noteworthy, there were LPP actors who posi-
tioned themselves either as advocates of the outreach view or of the register view by
leaning to one side or the other. For instance, Nor
en (2006, 28, my translation) argued
that the SLS policy was rst and foremost meaningful when the results are to be used for
education and science information.Thus, she opted for the adoption of Swedish in extra-
scientic communication, aimed for public audiences, and carried out in genres other
than the strictly scientic. From this vantage point, the SLS could be seen as an attempt to
widen the potential readership of the thesis, since the register performing the SLS is delib-
erately scaled down as a way of reaching out to non-experts. Other LPP actors have envi-
sioned SLSs as a way of putting scientic Swedish to work, principally in order to
safeguard or expand its registers. For instance, the well-known linguist and Swedish Acad-
emy member Sture All
en described the implementation of SLS policy as a way to force
researchers to use Swedish technical terms(Lotsson 2003, my translation). Likewise, in a
report published by the Swedish Language Council, Sal
o(2010, 54) depicted SLSs as:
one of the prerequisites for Swedish to remain a complete and society-bearing language with
words for scientic notions. Summaries in Swedish reduce the risk that Swedish is depleted
within certain scientic areas. (Sal
o2010, 54, my translation)
Thus, in terms of rationale, emphasis is chiey placed on the register side. In this view,
shared by All
en and others, the SLS is rst and foremost intended to create a discursive
arena within which the devices of technical and eld-specic Swedish can be entextualized
and replicated, which is seen as benecial for the formation of scientic registers in Swed-
ish. Through such entextualization, linguistic devices that are otherwise used orally only
become reproduced in new forms, which broaden the semiotic range of the written regis-
ter (Agha 2007).
While LPP stances on the SLS occasionally differ, these differences have not culminated
in a major divide. Most commonly, the rationale for imposing SLSs has either been left
uncommented on (e.g. Falk 2001; Isaksson 2008) or has been framed as being benecial
for knowledge bridging and, at the same time, register expansion (e.g. Ministry of Educa-
tion and Culture 2005, 47; Ministry of Culture 2002, 95).
5. Implementation and implementation issues the view of policy-makers
and practitioners
A survey conducted by Falk (2001) revealed that, at the time, relatively few departments at
different Swedish HEIs demanded SLSs. The survey also showed that varying normative
directions were given as to how the SLS should be written, ranging from shortto
extendedSLSs, or that they should be written in a relatively popularstyle. However,
over the last decade, Swedish HEIs have increasingly drawn up and implemented language
policies (e.g. Sal
o2010; Sal
o and Josephson 2014). According to the most recent mapping
(Karlsson 2017), 21 out of 49 Swedish HEIs have a language policy of some sort, a gure
that includes most of Swedens large HEIs.
The language policies of HEIs are the result of negotiation and struggle. Throughout
such processes, as K
allkvist and Hult (2016) have shown, various forms of interests are
8 L. SAL
weighed against each other; legal frameworks may be taken into consideration, and rele-
vant scholarly works may be read. After a given set of normative conditions have been
identied, various instruments can be implemented in order to achieve particular desir-
able effects. A close reading of the existing 21 HEI policies shows that 15 or two-thirds
include language about SLSs (see footnote 1). In addition, SLSs are mentioned in the poli-
cies of the two autonomous faculties, namely TEKNAT and LTH. However, it appears as
though the indecisiveness found among advocates concerning the steering rationales of
the SLS as a regimenting practice is also manifested in the varying positions taken in HEI
language policies. Throughout, SLSs are typically mentioned only in passing, with the pol-
icy simply stating that SLSs are to be produced. Most policies do not address why they are
to be produced, nor do they, consistently at least, specify whether they are to be written in
scientic or more accessible registers. Yet, there are cases where the policies more or less
subtly stipulate what forms of benets SLSs are intended to yield. Three institutions
Chalmers, TEKNAT, and LTH state that SLSs are to be popular scienticand thus
geared toward education and outreach. Subsequently, for these institutions, notably all
with a polytechnic prole, emphasis is consequently not placed upon the task of develop-
ing relevant registers of technical Swedish, but rather on the task of presenting ndings in
an accessible manner. However, KTH, the largest technical HEI in the country, places
weight on the development of Swedish terminology. University of Gothenburg and Lin-
naeus University, for their part, state that SLSs are to be extensive(Sw: fyllig).
The practice of producing SLSs is generally supported within the scientic community
at large that is, it is generally seen as a reasonable way of regimenting the writing practi-
ces of researchers-to-be (Ministry of Culture 2008, 83). The fact that more and more HEI
language policies demand SLSs is also an indication of this fact. Nonetheless, an evident
implementation issue is that not all English-language doctoral theses are complemented
with an SLS, even in cases where the language policy requires practitioners to do so. Point-
ing to this fact, Sal
o(2010, 51ff.) conducted a mini-survey in which three recent doctor-
ates were asked to reect upon SLSs. All three wrote their theses in English, and none of
them included an SLS in spite of the fact that the language policies of their respective
HEIs required them to do so. One doctorate reported that he had been oblivious to the
demand, and said that the matter was never raised in his discussions with his supervisors
and others. Another doctorate recalled pondering upon this question. However, not
knowing that including an SLS was a requirement, this doctorate chose not to include one
after having been informed that doing so was not really necessary. Similarly, unaware that
an SLS was required, a third doctorate avoided writing due to lack of time, and did not
nd it overly important either. All three doctorates reported that they would have
included an SLS had they known that doing so was required. Thus, while the doctorates
accounts, as reported by Sal
o(2010), demonstrate a general willingness to satisfy SLS poli-
cies, their responses nevertheless index that the production of SLSs has low priority
among some HEIs and is, therefore, not taken very seriously by candidates and their com-
mittees. In such cases, efcacious regimentation involves convincing or forcing practi-
tioners to prioritize the writing up of SLSs. There are examples of HEIs that take quite
radical measures to ensure that SLSs are produced. At TEKNAT, a sum of SEK 27.000
(3000 Euro) is provided to departments to cover costs associated with thesis defenses and
printing; this sum, however, is to be paid back to the faculty in cases where the thesis that
is produced does not contain a popular-scientic SLS (Uppsala University 2016, 103).
Probing further into implementation issues, the article now presents the accounts of
two researchers in physics. The rst account comes from a recent doctorate who included
an SLS in her thesis, and whose writing practices were thus regimented through the SLS
policy of her HEI.
Extract 1: Interview account from physicist, Dr Jenny (my alias).
LS: You wrote a summary in Swedish for your thesis, didnt you?
Dr. Jenny: Yes
LS: Do you have any memories if there was anything that was difcult about it?
Dr. Jenny: Do you want me to tell you how I did it?
LS: Yes
Dr. Jenny: I wrote the abstract in English and then I ran it through Google Translate
LS: haha
Dr. Jenny: Then I adjusted it a bit
LS: Right
Dr. Jenny: So that is how good it was
In a discipline where Swedish is practically never used in scientic writing, it might
seem difcult to motivate one to put the time and effort into writing an SLS. As illustrated
by this extract, the doctorate describes her SLS as being a rushed job in which little impor-
tance was placed upon the nal result. Moreover, her account suggests that she fullled
the task oblivious to the intent of policy-makers to regiment her writing practices, whether
these pertain to outreach or register. Rather, she sought to deal with it with the least effort
possible. The gap between the HEIs intentions to regiment and the researchers practices
is wide.
The doctorates account thus speaks further to the fact that the practice of producing
SLSs is, at times, low-valued and is unnecessarily time-consuming. Concerning time,
Josephson has argued, somewhat crossly, that it takes perhaps four days to write up a
good Swedish summary of the doctoral thesis in English(Josephson 2004, 134, my trans-
lation). This estimate seems to be made on the basis that PhD candidates who write their
theses in English have also mastered Swedish. As extract 2 highlights, in cases where this
is not so, a range of other concerns are actualized. Here, a senior professor in physics is
interviewed. In his role as thesis supervisor, he has been obliged to ascertain that SLSs are
included in the theses. While he is generally sympathetic to the demand for an SLS, he
also sees it as problematic, given the fact that senior staff, rather than the candidate, often
end up writing the SLS.
Extract 2: Interview account from physicist, Prof. Folke (my alias).
Prof. Folke: Because Reza is from Iran, he could not write a summary in Swedish
LS: Ok, so it was you?
Prof. Folke: Yes, and in this case I just did a direct translation of his English [abstract], so this
one is not like the Swedish ones that typically appear, it is just straight off of what he had
An immediate question that arises here pertains to whose practices SLS policies are
intended to regiment. Among SLS advocates (e.g. Ministry of Culture 2002), the intention
of controlling the production of discourse through SLS policies seems to have been rst
and foremost for SLSs to be produced, but, additionally, for the individual PhD candidate
to gain practice in using scientic Swedish. For the individual Ph.D. student,Ma
l i mun
states, the production of an SLS gives the opportunity to practice describing ones topic
10 L. SAL
in Swedish, which is seen as an important part of a researchers communicative skills
(Ministry of Culture 2002, 95, my translation). Deliberately or not, this view overlooks
the fact that theses in Swedish academia are commonly produced by candidates who have
not mastered Swedish at a sufcient degree. Consequently, as the account in extract 2 sug-
gests, only the rst goal seems to have been reached in the particular case described the
SLS was produced, but the candidate gained no practice in using scientic Swedish.
Another issue in the implementation issue is that those who actually produce SLSs
understand the task differently. As an illustration, the material analyzed by Josephson
(2015), consisting of 86 SLSs, reveals major variability. First, the genre itself is labeled in
13 different ways –‘Sammanfattning pa
svenska[summary in Swedish], Swedish sum-
arvetenskaplig redog
orelse[Popular science account], and so on which
serves as an index of the ways in which the authors dene their own practices and perceive
the genre they write in. One-third of the SLSs have titles containing the word popular,
thus marking an afnity to outreach communicative practices. Two-thirds have titles that
are unmarked in this sense, that is, they can be, but do not have to be, written within sci-
entic registers more specically. In addition, Josephson makes a rough estimate of ve
kinds of textsthat are represented in the sample:
(1) Short, more or less simplied translations of the English-language abstract
(2) Short adaptations of the translated abstract, where the prose is geared towards the
registers of written standard Swedish
(3) Longer scientic texts, written in scientic registers
(4) Popular science texts
(5) Short hybrids, mixing traits from several registers
Again, then, the implementation of SLS policies seems to be beset with varying concep-
tions of what kind of text the SLS is meant to be. However, notwithstanding such varia-
tion, SLSs are being produced. Sal
o and Hanell (2014) report on a Swedish computer
scientist who, by the end of his thesis project, faced the task of producing an SLS. His
understanding of this task led him to produce a translation of the English-language thesis
abstract, which accordingly resulted in a fairly short text written in advanced registers of
computer science Swedish. Two facts are particularly important to highlight here. First,
his rationale for producing the SLS in the rst place was because the language policy
adopted by his university required him to do so. This shows that language policies
imposed at the university level do have the capacity of regimenting writing practices. Sec-
ond, the SLS that was eventually produced was emailed to colleagues at the department in
order to receive feedback of various kinds, which resulted in some 31 emails that were
sent back and forth between the parties. This exchange triggered a meta-discursive discus-
sion in which several linguistic features were debated. What this suggests is that, from the
viewpoint of LPP interests, the SLS might not in itself be the most vital outcome of his
writing practice. More important, arguably, is the discourse in and about computerese
Swedish, triggered by the production of the SLS. However, in the correspondence sur-
rounding it, it is at the same time evident that the colleagues who were involved under-
stood the purpose of the SLS differently, rendered signicant by the fact that some
participants opted for the use of standard Swedish, intelligible across broad segments of
society (the outreach view), while others opted for technical computerese (the register
view) (Sal
o and Hanell 2014,2224).
6. Conclusions and nal remarks
The position of English in scientic production comprises an intricate problem that seems
to be at odds with the responsibilities of HEIs in Swedish society. To mitigate this situa-
tion, it is becoming increasingly common for Swedish HEIs to demand SLSs of doctoral
theses. Accordingly, this article has conceptualized SLSs as an instrument for regimenting
researcherswriting practices, deliberately aimed at limiting the near-total dominance of
English in scientic production. It has directed attention to existing understandings of
SLS policies and implementation issues that arise in their wake. There is, on the one hand,
variability in advocatesand policy-makersintentions to impose the SLS regime and, on
the other, a gap between any such intentions and the practices of researchers. Actors
within or otherwise concerned with Swedish academia often have different conceptions of
why SLSs should be written at all. As a result, there is a general ambiguity and some-
times dissonance surrounding the very purpose of SLSs and, accordingly, the specic
language policies that enforce them. Ambiguous understandings are also reected in prac-
tice as SLS policies are implemented. Here, a range of implementation issues are also
salient: PhD candidates might not include an SLS in their theses. In cases where SLSs are
included, they may be written by supervisors rather than the candidate, or, are produced
in a rush using automatic translation services. As an instrument of regimentation, SLS
policies here have limited effect on the actual practices of the practitioners.
In my view, the objectives underpinning the policy intervention are particularly inter-
esting to remark upon. Whereas some see the SLS as a knowledge-bridging instrument
used for the purposes of popular science, some see it as a key opportunity for entextualiz-
ing registers that are otherwise performed for the most part orally. These varying ideas do
not correspond straightforwardly to groups of stakeholders such as advocates, policy-
makers, or practitioners, but are found throughout each group. Variation thus resides
among those who promote regimentation, those who regiment de facto and those whose
writing practices are being regimented. Among its advocates, the SLS has also been exalted
as a possible solution to knowledge outreach and, in chorus, register expansion. In this
context, it seems apt to speak of an outreachregister conundrum.It signals that English
represents a conjectural problem, the Janus-faced components of which may prove dif-
cult to solve with any single solution. What has been meta-discursively described as the
perils of English in scientic communication comprises two strands of concerns, each of
which calls for remedies that are potentially incompatible between themselves. Whereas
the outreach strandis concerned chiey with the dissemination of research ndings as a
vital bridge between academia and society at large, the register strandpertains rather to
linguistic processes of sustaining Swedish as an effective vehicle for the communication of
complex thought. While both of these strands of arguments are reasonable, they are not
likely to be realized within the connes of a single text, namely the SLS. Quite simply, an
SLS that is elementary enough to bridge the gap between science and society is not likely
to contribute to expanding advanced registers of Swedish. Vice versa, an SLS that takes
seriously the task of expanding Swedish registers will be unintelligible for the wider
12 L. SAL
audience. Therefore, I would hold, the SLS as a policy regime cannot at once be expected
to resolve the democratic issue and contribute to the expansion of academic registers.
I certainly do not present this argument with the intent of lapsing into polemics but to
produce understanding. Little knowledge has previously been produced on the matters at
hand, and therefore, there is little to argue in opposition to. Rather, the argument that is
embarked upon should be seen as a call to make SLSs into an object of constructive discus-
sion, on the basis of which forthcoming attempts to regiment may be purposefully
launched. Large-scale genre analyses and other in-depth studies are needed. Ultimately, it is
an empirical question whether SLSs aimed for the man on the streetmay concomitantly
expand advanced registers and, vice versa, whether SLSs that do expand such registers are
inevitably incomprehensible for non-specialists at large. In LPP, a number of questions
might be raised: Should doctoral theses optimally contain two SLSs one for outreach and
one for register expansion? Does it matter who writes them supervisorsorcandidates
and, if so, how should they be written? Do varying understandings among advocates and
policy-makers necessarily pose an issue? These matters are up for debate. The SLS might in
one way or another contribute to dissemination research ndingstonewgroupsortothe
legitimation of registers other than scientic English. If there is little scholarly knowledge
concerning the production of SLSs, even less is known about their reception and utilization.
Dependable scholarly investigations are needed. Who reads SLSs, and for what purposes?
Potentially, they are read by other researchers in search of a quick introduction to the
research results for them, the value might lie in the brief format rather than in the supple-
mentary-language feature. They might also be used by members of the educated public who
prefer Swedish over English, or by science journalists, industry collaboration partners and
stakeholders, etc. Thus, in spite of the vagueness, variation, and practical issues surrounding
it, the SLS might nevertheless be useful in different ways, all of which aim to avoid a split of
thepublicspherealongtheaxisoflanguageboundaries, whether these are perceived in
terms of capital-L languages or registers within such constructions. Not least, it may serve
as a symbolic reminder of the fact that science comprises multilingual practices and has
multiple publics, in spite of the current dominance of English in publishing.
1. he following HEIs were identied as having language policies demanding SLSs: Chalmers,
Konstfack, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm School of Economics, Swe-
dishçChicagoAD.pdf University of
Agricultural Sciences, University of Gothenburg, University West, and Halmstad, Karlstad,
Linnaeus, Lund, Malm
o, Stockholm, S
orn, and Umea
universities. The two faculties with
SLS policies are Uppsala Universitys Faculty of Science and Technology (TEKNAT) and Lund
Universitys Faculty of Engineering (LTH). T
This article was produced within the knowledge platform Making Universities Matter: A Knowl-
edge Platform on the Role of Universities in Societywith the support of Vinnova, Sweden (2015-
04473). I thank the reviewers and the following colleagues for providing valuable comments: Niina
Hynninen, Ola Karlsson, Susanna Karlsson, Linnea Hanell, David Karlander, Olle Josephson, Mats
Benner, Sverker S
orlin, Ben Rampton, and Lamont Antieau. All shortcomings are my own.
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the author.
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As universities seek to become more international, their need to engage with a wider range of languages, particularly English, seems more prominent. At the same time, universities are also regarded by many stakeholders as key institutions to preserve a given national language and culture. This apparent tension makes universities a fruitful ground to explore relevant issues of language policymaking. This paper analyses language policies in higher education in two northern European countries, Sweden and Estonia. Applying qualitative content analytical tools, we tackle the following questions: (1) what major themes emerge from the analysis of institutional language policy documents in Estonia and Sweden? and (2) how is English perceived in relation to other languages? Our analysis shows that, despite their different historical and sociopolitical trajectories, universities in the two countries tend to adopt similar stances vis-à-vis their language policy developments. There also exist, however, different nuances in approaching the language question, which we interpret as being the result of the particular cultural backgrounds of each country.
Taking off from the apt epigram that "… language, after all, is a purely historical phenomenon", these sociolinguistic analyses present debates over how language ideologies are formed, articulated, and entextualized. The editor's opening and final essays entitled "the debate is open" and "the debate is closed" bookend ten debates relating to language, identity, and political power: French-into-Corsican translations, dialect in Switzerland, Catalan vs. Spanish in Barcelona since the 1992 Olympics, Canada's linguistic cultures, bilingual education in the US, Ebonics, Singapore's "Speak Mandarin' campaign, the revival status of Israeli Hebrew, and European tongues and literary genres in postcolonial Africa. © 1999 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, D-10785 Berlin. All rights reserved.
The concept of a knowledge triangle, i.e., the principle of strengthening the linkages between research, education and innovation, has emerged as a result of policymakers' expectations that universities assume a broader societal responsibility. Yet, little is known about how these tasks and their interactions are orchestrated at universities. We explore concept of how the knowledge triangle is manifested in the organisation and strategy of three different Swedish universities, and how these manifestations are shaped by the policy landscape. The article highlights the fact that although the knowledge triangle remains a priority, explicit national policies are lacking, with the responsibility of integration falling upon universities themselves. We observe great diversity in how the principles of the knowledge triangle are orchestrated at the universities, e.g., through individuals' interpretations and attitudes, and through management strategies and incentive schemes. However, the three tasks have largely been handled separately, with weak coordination and generally limited ambition demonstrated by university management teams to forge new combinations of remits. At the individual and group levels, we observe weak task articulation, although some role models serve as inspiration. Tensions emerge as the responsibilities of operationalising the knowledge triangle falls on individuals who sometimes lack the appropriate mandate and resources. These findings raise questions for further research and implications for policy and university management.
Since the turn of the century, many universities in non-Anglophone Europe have developed new language policies as a response to internationalization of higher education and academia. Researcher and student mobility has extended the use of English as medium of instruction and as medium of research cooperation and dissemination, while national languages are also used for both research and teaching Cots et al. (2014). In addition, they often function as the means of communication both within the university and between the university and society at large. In their language policy, some universities emphasize the use of English, but many aim at a balance between English and the national language(s) for a number of reasons. Arguments of mobility and ranking of universities and publications overlap with discussions about national and international relevance of higher education and research and often the arguments conflict. In the Nordic region where universities are publicly funded and considered a common good, the increased use of English is linked to the new foci of international research funding and commodification of higher education. At the same time, there is a widespread concern for academic domain loss in the national languages (Harder 2009; Jónsson et al. 2013). As a consequence, universities are mandated to strengthen English as well as the national languages for academic purposes. To do this, many universities develop what is often referred to in the Nordic countries as a “parallel language strategy.” This chapter will present the background and the theoretical discussions related to the introduction of the strategy and similar aspects of language policy.