This paper examines Agents of Ishq, an online site/project seeking to create a space for the public discourse of sex and sexuality in India, with particular attention to a single music video that is part of the project. The content produced by the project is informed by idioms of Bollywood films and film-music. The paper draws on the notion of popular culture to see how meanings are encoded within the video productions and explores the politics of representation of these audio-visual and textual resources. It also briefly examines the effect that being hosted on a digital platform, freely accessible at any time and from any location, (rather than as part of traditional and broadcast media) has on the content produced by Agents of Ishq. It examines the need for the proliferation of pedagogical resources of this kind and, at the same time, draws attention to the ways in which they need to be critically problematized in terms of the cultural hegemonies they may run the risk of reinforcing.
This paper introduces the theme of Languaging, Diversity and Democracy. Contemporary issues of participation and ways-of-being and positions the 12 individual papers that constitute the 2022 double special issue of Bandung: Journal of the Global South. Its interest lies in contributing to knowledge that is relevant for contemporary human challenges related to issues of mobility, digitalization, and communication in and across different geopolitical regions across the planet and across virtual-physical spaces. Raising concerns regarding universalizing tendencies of special issues (and collected volumes generally), and based on the premise that what kind of knowledge matters is tied up with the issue of whose knowledge and in what named-language this knowledge matters, this paper raises critical queries that focus on the narrators positionality and gaze, the composition of scholarly narratives, the flow of narratives, what vocabularies circulate in frontline scholarship, including the organization of special issues, etc. Drawing attention to the universalizing Euro/America-centrism that shapes what counts as knowledge, the paper draws attention to the taken-for-grantedness of what counts as international languages of publishing which eclipses alternative epistemologies, ways-of-thinking and ways-of-being. It argues that by taking such issues as inspiration in the curation and editing of this double special issue, participatory processes and ways-of-being enabled a contribution to the doing of democracy and diversity in the scholarly enterprise. Such work of democratizing academic publication work calls for unlearning to learn that is closely related to the theme explored in the double special issue. Aligning with analogue-digital languaging in contemporary existence, the paper also traces the journey of how this double special issue has come into being.
This paper presents the relationship among Nepal’s linguistic diversity, multilingualism, and democratic practices by bringing into ideas from the global north and global south. The guiding question for exploring this relationship is, “why is Nepal’s linguistic diversity being squeezed despite the formulation of democratic and inclusive language policies that intended to promote multilingualism?”. To investigate this concern, qualitative data were obtained from semi-structured interviews with two purposively selected high-profile people working in the capacity of language policymaking in the state agencies. In Nepal, although democracy promoted awareness towards the issue of language rights and the need of preservation and promotion of minority languages, the narrowing of multilingual diversity continued in practice. This study concluded that democracy allowed neoliberal ideologies to penetrate sociolinguistic spaces and put greater emphasis on English and Nepali. While there is an intertwined relationship between linguistic diversity, democracy, and multilingualism, the ongoing democratic practices have become counterproductive in maintaining the linguistic diversity leading to the marginalization of minority and lesser-known languages. Also, despite ample literature documenting linguistic diversity as a resource and opportunity, the notions of ‘linguistic diversity’ and ‘multilingualism’ were utilized merely as political agendas and issues of critical discourses which have left negligible impact on changing the conventionalized practices of linguistic domination of Nepali and English. Therefore, we question the co-existence of diversity and democracy and claim that democracy alone does not necessarily contribute to the protection of linguistic diversity. In line with this concept, democratic practices could even be counterproductive in the promotion and protection of linguistic diversity. Our findings suggest future interventions about essentializing the use of minority languages in education and governance, alongside democracy providing the fertile grounds for policy pitches to address micro problems in maintaining multilingualism within a democracy.
This paper explores the relationship between networked radio, media participation, and accountability in Ghana. Specifically, we examine how networked radio, the hybrid media space that is the convergence of radio and social media practices, works as a means of democratic accountability through citizen participation in media. We do this through an analysis of how two English-speaking radio stations in Ghana act as intermediaries between citizens and the state, underscoring how the networked elements of radio production facilitate public discourse and make the state less opaque to citizens. We show that while networked radio does provide multiple opportunities for media participation, this participation is relatively passive for the majority of listeners, in part because producers face increased interactivity in-studio and must employ gate-keeping tactics to fit the constraints of airtime. This trade-off inadvertently privileges elite voices over others, even if the radio stations work to diversify the voices heard on air. Still, networked radio provides a limited but necessary alternative to exacting accountability from public officials as those very dynamics of participation elicit the state’s responsiveness more regularly than the formal routes established for those purposes. Accordingly, we characterize Ghanaian networked radio as caught between ‘hogging the mic’ for an elite group of listeners and ‘passing the mic’ between them, the state, and the broader citizenry that constitute the listening public.
The presence of a Chinese community in South Africa has become increasingly visible over the last decade, particularly in the trading sector. This is illustrated in the sizable number of new shopping centres settled specifically by groups of Chinese traders, known as China Towns. Shopkeepers and shop assistants come from various linguistic and cultural backgrounds, China and other African countries respectively, but living and working in a multilingual South Africa, they communicate in English, which is the lingua franca. This paper explores their language practices and reflects on a particular language contact situation where shopkeepers and assistants of various migrant origins work closely together. The study adopts a linguistic ethnographic approach to the analysis of the interaction between shopkeepers and assistants and uses conversation analysis to elucidate the ways in which meaning is negotiated and understood in interaction between multilingual speakers. Unscripted audio recorded spoken interaction of the participants throughout the workday is the primary source of data. Additionally, interviews and observational notes are used to supplement the interactional data and illustrate the creative forms of language use that emerge in a in a China Town centre near Cape Town in the Western Cape.
This paper offers a critique of learning viewed solely through the categories of formal Vs. informal education as used by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (oecd). This critique is based on the perspectives of ethnomethodology, conversation analysis and sociocultural theory. It considers that any learning consists of the construction of a common object between participants. I examine two possible organizations of interaction as participants construct their learning objects in situations that are glossed as second language learning. In the first case, the activity is led by the teacher, in the second case, by the learner. The article shows that this difference in the organization of social interaction has consequences on the organization of a proximal zone of development and therefore has consequences for learning opportunities. In conclusion, the article proposes to add to the typologies of learning, the interactional categories of leader and follower in order to specify the roles of the teacher and learner in a large number of learning situations.
Engaging with four geopolitical timespaces, and the concepts of liminality, lim/lines/ borders/boundaries, mobility and memory, against the backdrop of pre-, anti-, post- and de-colonial ideas, this study illustrates how tenets of what we call a “Second Wave of Southern Perspectives” (SWaSP) can illuminate the myths and imaginations that continue to give credibility to the idea of bounded language, identity and nation-states, including the role of languaging as constitutive dimension of these processes. The study presented in this paper has two aims. First, it explicates a SWaSP framing wherein the role of languaging is both a key dimension of the (multi-scalar) organization of everyday life inside and outside institutional physical-digital spaces, and of the remembering of lim i.e., lines or boundaries as dimensions of belonging. Second, by juxtaposing ideas about belonging and (shifting) boundaries across time and spaces, it highlights the mechanisms involved in contemporary re-enforcements of archaic conceptualizations of language, identity and nation-spaces across global settings. We argue that these mechanisms constitute a similar endeavor across the global-North/South, not least given recent discussions related to mobility and digitalization more generally wherein issues regarding democracy and equity are increasingly confronted with rising right-wing agendas and a racial renaissance. We attempt to show how identity tensions of “individuals/communities” and “an-other” are co-construed and argue that such processes contribute to the re-enforcing naturalization of archaic conceptualizations pertaining to not only language, identity, nation-spaces, but also nationalism.
The objective with this study is to shed light upon how international exchanges on the comic art market contribute to democratization processes and renegotiation of hegemonies in the literary field worldwide. The focus is on how the variation in imported comics from a central language, in this case French, to the peripheral space of Sweden, can be observed during the time-period 1900–2020, as well as on which diversity importation of comics has been allowed over time. Theoretically anchored in sociological perspectives in literary studies highly influenced by Casanova’s () seminal work, this contribution challenges established approaches in the field that depart from central cultural spaces in the world. Instead, this analysis highlights how the periphery gains agency on the international market and challenges relations of domination through translation practices. One hypothesis put forward consists of the idea that Francophone author-illustrators from the global South would be identifiable in the data in 1990’s, as is the case in the literary field. However, in the comics field this change emerges later, and does not appear distinctively until 2005. The change is paired with a promotion of Francophone female author-illustrators in Swedish translations, equally from the global South and the global North. The results also highlight that Sweden positions the Francophone space as hyper-central within the comics field. The specific practices adopted in the importation point to how a periphery creates agency to define a medium and a genre locally and play a role in international cultural exchanges.
While promises of equity mark (inter)national declarations and laws that contemporary democratic societies subscribe to, accessibility and participation for-all continues to remain out of reach for increasing numbers of people and “named-groups” across the global-North/South. Going beyond issues regarding gaps between progressive policies and people’s accounts of their experiences, this paper illuminates the mundane nature of participation by putting the spotlight on people’s everyday lives in and across different societal sectors. By doing so, it illustrates the mundane nature of processes that constitute the “policies of equity and language as participation”. Issues of promises in policies in contemporary democratic societies like Sweden are discussed as framings that need to be decentered and troubled through a multi-scale analytical gaze at the mundane, messy and wild nature of human life. The study draws on data from three projects where data generation has and is taking place through (n)ethnographic fieldwork and cross-scale policy sourcing. Drawing inspiration from the entanglements of two theoretical framings of significance to participation and equity – sociocultural integrationist perspectives and decolonial Southern theories, this paper maps human geographies and performative co-agencies, and illustrates how practices intrinsic to one arena are disrupted or maintained through practices in others. The study also discusses representations of “named-language”, “named-modality” and “named-identity” through a Southern analytical aperture that calls for acknowledging the roles of different types of semiotic resources when human meaning-making is made salient.
What should be taken into account when language policies are developed? It is rarely the case that when language policies are developed, the focus is on issues outside of ‘language’. However, when issues of language are experienced in certain societies as a “cumulative disadvantage” () together with other forms of domination, normative conceptualisations of language policy seem inadequate. The notion of ‘inhabitance’ is a generative lens through which to illustrate this. In the South African university space, since the #MustFall protests, the question of ‘inhabitance’ has taken centre stage in issues of curriculum and access. Through the act of throwing poo on the statue of Cecil John Rhodes, the #MustFall protests have firmly put on the agenda the need for universities to reflect upon itself, and to ask whose knowledges, bodies, histories and lifeworlds it legitimizes, and therefore, its complicity in maintaining coloniality. This has led to a wider call to decolonize universities. However, while the notion of ‘inhabitance’ has been central to the #MustFall protests, it has not been considered from the position of language and language policy. This paper reflects on institution-wide language policy conversations at a South African university arguing to shift attention from the orientations we take to language in language policy, to how policies “orient” () bodies in university spaces. This paper seeks to add to the conversation in the South African Higher Education space in anticipation of the implementation of the new Language Policy for Higher Education (2020).