Gestione istituzionale della diversità linguistica e culturaleUNIVERSITÀ DELLA SVIZZERA ITALIANA
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- Mendrisio (Svizzera)
Linguistic and cultural diversity are the object of sustained and, in many ways, unprecedented attention from governments, international organizations, academics, the media, and public opinion at large. This gives rise to a constant flow of discourse about diversity, multilingualism, multiculturalism, etc., and it is sometimes difficult assess its actual meaning and import.
This 28-hour half-course is designed to help students come to grips with it and develop a clearer, better-informed sense of what diversity is about, why it matters, and how it can be managed. Thus, it does not focus on communication, but it is relevant to communication issues in three ways, because it examines:
- a key set of dimensions (multilingualism, multiculturalism) of the context in which communication occurs, and the concepts with which these dimensions can be characterized;
- issues about which organizations (private-sector companies, public-sector authorities, non-profit organizations, etc.) have to make decisions to manage their operations, including those aspects of their operations that are mediated through language (e.g., internal communication);
- a topic about which, consequently, the same actors will have to formulate and communicate a discourse.
This course provides a general introduction to the concept of linguistic and cultural diversity, stressing its operationalization for policy purposes, before developing a public policy approach to diversity management. In the concluding part of the course, an application (such as “minority language protection and promotion”, “language and migrant integration” or “management of multilingual communication in international organizations”, for example) is chosen jointly by the instructors and students.Of the various dimensions of human diversity, a (non-exclusive) emphasis will be placed on language as a concept with relatively sharper demarcation than ‘ethnicity’ or ‘culture’, and an area in which management through public policies can be more crisply defined.
The course is interdisciplinary in methods and spirit. The analytical instruments applied (whether theoretically or empirically) to the study of diversity in this policy-oriented perspective are mainly derived from policy analysis and language economics, with regular forays in normative political theory, sociolinguistics and education economics. Accordingly, the course stresses the interconnection between abstractions and their application to reality.
The issues addressed are complex and often socially or politically delicate. Consequently, the aim of the course is not to suggest one particular interpretation of linguistic and cultural diversity, but to equip students with a targeted combination of instruments. By the end of this course, you should have gained:
- a consistent analytical perspective on ELC diversity as a complex social, political and economic phenomenon;
- the capacity to approach various situations of ELC diversity as an object of public policy;
- experience in the combination of concepts and methods from various disciplines in the selection, design and evaluation of policy plans dealing with ELC diversity.
Please note that this course is taught in English, although informal interaction in other languages, particularly Italian, French and German, is encouraged.
Evaluation is based on an essay to be submitted, according to precise guidelines, a few weeks before the end of term. This assignment normally takes the form of a commentary and discussion of a paper to be chosen beforehand from a set of papers made available at the beginning of term. Unless otherwise specified, the essay must be drafted in English and proofread by a native speaker of English (or highly competent secondary speaker) before submission. It counts for 30% of the final grade. The remaining 70% are based on the oral defense of the essay, taking place during the normal examination session.
Given the interdisciplinary and relatively novel orientation of the contents and approach, there is no textbook exactly matching the needs of the course. The list of entries below, however, covers the essential notions that we shall use:
Altarriba, Jeanette and Heredia, Roberto R. (eds.), 2008: An Introduction to Bilingualism. Principles and Processes. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Barbier, Jean-Claude, 2013: The Road to Social Europe. A contemporary approach to political cultures and diversity in Europe. London / New York: Routledge.
Bayley, Robert, Cameron, Richard and Lucas, Ceil (eds.), 2013: The Oxford Handbook of Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Edwards, John, 2012: Multilingualism. Understanding Linguistic Diversity. London: Continuum.
Fishman, Joshua and García, Ofelia (eds.), 2010 [2nd ed.]: Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity [2nd ed.]. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Grin, François, 2003: Language Policy Evaluation and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hellinger, Marlis and Pauwels, Anne (eds.), 2007: Handbook of Language and Communication: Diversity and Change. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Iannàcaro, Gabriele and Dell’Aquila, Vittorio, 2002: Modelli europei di pianificazione linguistica. Vich: Istitut Cultural Ladin.
Kymlicka, Will, 1995: Multicultural Citizenship. A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights. Oxford: Clarendon Press, Oxford.
Kymlicka, Will and Patten, Alan (eds.), Language Rights and Political Theory. Oxford, University Press.
May, Stephen, 2012 [2nd ed.]: Language and Minority Rights. London: Pearson Education.
Phillipson, Robert, 2003: English-Only Europe? London and New York: Routledge.
Ricento Thomas, (ed.), 2006: An Introduction to Language Policy. Theory and Method. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Libro corsi COM 2015-2016.indd
Ricento, Thomas (ed.), 2015: Language Policy & Political Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Ruiz Vieytez, Eduardo and Dunbar, Robert (eds.), 2007: Human Rights and Diversity: New Challenges for Plural Societies. Bilbao: Deusto University & Humanitarian Net.