Is the Future of Tourism Something Akin to “Outbreak”, “Westworld”, “Blade Runner” or “Eyes of Darkness”?

We recently published Science Fiction, Disruption and Tourism edited by Ian Yeoman, Una McMahon-Beattie and Marianna Sigala. In this post Ian discusses the aims of the book and highlights some of its key chapters.

As the Scenario Planner at VisitScotland in 2006, I facili­tated a team to model and construct a set of scenarios which replicated the present COVID-19 pandemic reality. This is an exam­ple of science fiction coming true and a journey beginning. Science fiction was used to explore the possible and impossible, to construct futures based upon technologies which had not been invented, to think about the transformation of tourism, and to predict the end of tourism based upon a natural disaster. The process took rationality to its limits. However, as academic researchers we would normally view science fiction as nothing more than a piece of creative writing. It is not something based upon fact but imagination; it is not real but fantasy. COVID-19 has challenged our thinking, as in Dean Koontz’s prediction in the Eyes of Darkness about Wuhan 400 or the 2011 film Contagion which portrays spread of a virus, attempts by medical researchers and public health officials to identify and contain the disease and the loss of social order in trying to halt its spread. Science fiction has become reality.

Thinking about the future

Science fiction is a ‘thinking machine’. It is about imagination and is right at the centre of scenario planning – the main research methodology used in futures stud­ies. Thus, the purpose of this book is to understand the role of science fiction in tourism research and how it is used to portray and make us rethink the future of tourism. It explores if science fiction can be of benefit to tourism researchers in a rapidly changing world, as it provides them food for thought and a way of thinking, rethinking and de-thinking of tourism futures. It helps set research agendas, directions and scope of research. In this vein, science fiction can be seen as a useful approach to foster and support transformation in tourism research.

Why change is necessary

Given the implications of COVID-19 and the overdue changes required in tourism, this book is more than just topical in nature and focus; it is also much needed to direct and foster tourism research that envisions beyond the past normal. As such, we fundamentally address the requirements for transformational tourism thinking and research through the contributions of the authors in this edited collection. Holistically, the combined contribu­tion of the chapters is to understand and construct a theoretical position or framework between science fiction and the future of tourism. If one can find an underpinning theory, then we have the basis of using science fiction as a theoretical lens and methodological approach to explore, frame and even form the future of tourism. By focusing on a specific form of tourism or topic, every book chapter uses a practical example and evidence to dis­cuss and explain the theoretical underpinnings, as well as the methods that others can also use to vision and rethink tourism futures.

Highlights of the book

In Chapter 6, Life Without Limits: Design, Technology and Tourism Futures in Westworld, Gurevitch uses a design theory per­spective which intertwines media, tourism futures and design. He explores the disruptive potential of technology to deliver experiences and the desire of tourists to feel free from the moral, social, economic and political con­straints of their daily lives.

In Chapter 8, Wildlife Tourism in 2150: Uplifted Animals, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Everything In-between, Bertella discusses the current research in both tourism and other disciplines in order to make a considered predic­tion about the future of wildlife tourism in 2150. Bertella examines the authenticity of future wildlife tourism where technology has been used to enhance the tourism experience.

In Chapter 9, Tears in the Rain: Tourism in the World of Blade Runner and Total Recall, Bolan addresses the worlds and their technology as depicted in the science fiction works by Philip K. Dick and explores their impact and influence on tourism. He examines the transformational impact of technology in tourism, from rep­licants to memory implants and self-driving cars to holograms.

In Chapter 10, Destination of the Dead: The Future for Tourism?, McEntee and col­leagues consider tourists a plague of zombies within the context of over­tourism and sustainability. The chapter takes a novel look at tourism and its impact on the people and places that experience excessive numbers of tourists. Zombies are now a clear genre in popular culture, appearing in countless movies, TV programmes and comic books, all of which depict crowds of mindless bodies shuffling along aimlessly while leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. The same could arguably be said for some tour­ists, slowly walking along looking upwards at buildings with a selfie stick in hand while busy locals go about their daily business.

Towards a theoretical framework

Tourism futures needs a theoretical frame­work to contribute towards the evolution of tourism research. But as Yeoman and Beeton note, tourism futures is often presented with­out a foundation, is often misunderstood, and those that write about the future tend to emphasise presentism. What COVID-19 has taught us is the importance of moving beyond presentism and not thinking about the future as a linear projection based upon previously studied interrelations of known (economic) variables. Hence, the value of this edited collection is it encourages us to make a quantum leap in the terms of how we view and how we can afford to think about the future of tourism and tourism research. It takes us beyond the positivism to the non-linearity of interpre­tivism and a multiplicity of futures.

The book gives us a theoretical framework to study the future of tourism based upon science fiction. From an ontological perspective, the assumption is that the future needs to be explained by how the future will occur through science fiction. From an epistemological perspective, the book identifies a number of concepts including plurality, disruption and transformation, hyperreality of authenticity, dystopia, liminality, scepticism and the importance of narrative.

What next?

Many science fiction movies and books come in sequels. So, COVID-20 we suppose, but hope not! Indeed, that is not a science-fiction-inspired thought anymore but very much a possibility. We can only suggest you read a good science fiction novel and draw your own imaginings about the future of tourism. That’s what we did, and Captain Kirk was our inspiration, along with films such as Soylent Green or Star Wars. Delve into those alternative, imaginative worlds and ask yourself, what if they were to come true?

Ian Yeoman

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like The Future Past of Tourism edited by Ian Yeoman and Una McMahon-Beattie. 

Seen and Not Heard – Until Strictly Come Dancing put the Spotlight on Signing!

Rose Ayling-Ellis’ recent win of Strictly Come Dancing has inspired deaf young people around the UK, as well as sparking an interest in learning Sign Language among hearing fans. In this post, author of Making Sense in Sign, Jenny Froude, welcomes these developments and the positive impact they will have on her own family, as well as a generation of deaf young people. 

Before the Strictly Come Dancing final came the Christmas card from an old schoolfriend whom I seldom see.

“I have thought of you all in the last few weeks. I’ve been glued to Strictly Come Dancing and the beautiful and talented Rose and her partner. They have highlighted the Deaf community. Astounding performance. I’m sure they will win – they certainly deserve to. You too, deserve a great deal of credit for the support and encouragement you have given your son, his wife and family. You must be so proud of all their amazing achievements”.

So, yes, Rose Ayling-Ellis, the darling not only of the dancing world but also the Deaf community, has charmed the team and the viewers and made Sign Language suddenly something to be embraced – watched, learned and, hopefully, used by hearing people as well as by today’s new young deaf generation.

Signing should, like charity, begin at home! My book Making Sense in Sign: A Lifeline for a Deaf Child (2003) which was started when our son Tom was 3 years old and completed when he reached 21, celebrates the infant, deafened by bacterial meningitis at 5 months, who grew up in a hearing family. In responding to USA’s Linguist List deciding that it was only “offering one family’s story so that other parents, teachers, and students can experience one view as they investigate still others on the road to making informed decisions concerning the individual children in their care” a writer of one cover endorsement wrote that his experience had been that “more effective insights are often gained from a personal rather than a text book approach”. And a Teacher of the Deaf (ToD) described me in the BATOD (British Association of Teachers of the Deaf) magazine as “the parent you wish you could introduce to the parents of your pupils”.

Despite the time lapse, I like to hope that sentiment is still relevant. Huge developments in technology have taken place and bilateral cochlear implants are available for babies now, but human communication should still take priority, for practical, familial and mental health reasons. Another ToD wrote that, “Jenny describes herself as a ‘lay’ person but she is the expert really; widely informed, from her own experiences but with sound and sensitive appreciation of the D/deaf issues”.

Tom and Alfie – “Where’s my top?”

During the pandemic many hitherto unknown issues have come to the fore. The need for wearing masks has been one of the worst. Following an article in their Magazine on the joys of flirting while wearing a mask, I quickly wrote to The Observer pointing out that eyes alone cannot convey all that a profoundly deaf person needs to know. From a possibly steamy visor, Tom’s wife labouring in summer 2020 would be unable to discern congratulations or concern from just the eyes of an obstetrician, midwife or mother, wearing masks and full PPE, as she gave birth to their third child. I hated the thought of her floundering in such circumstances, when masks made lipreading impossible and words obviously unintelligible. As it happened, after a slow start Alfie proved as anxious as his siblings to arrive speedily and be placed into the arms of his father who had kindly been permitted to attend the third stage. And this baby has been as calm and contented as his adoring sister and brother ever since, enjoying their company during their long lockdown home schooling of his first, somewhat solitary, summer.

Faced first with furlough and then redundancy from the store in which he had worked since it opened 11 years ago when it became one of a number of branch closures, Tom has encountered little in the way of Deaf Awareness. A Job Centre seemed fazed by his needs and he had to rely on his mother-in-law to make contact by phone fortnightly with them whilst he stood beside her and she relayed information. Hardly empowering for a deaf man well able to make contact by email or text, both of which the centre denied him. Job interviews he set up himself took place on Zoom but had to be delayed until an interpreter was available and, having secured employment, there was a delay with Access to Work over which he had no control. A situation unlikely to endear a deaf person seeking work to a possible employer! Thankfully his new colleagues are keen to learn some signs!

While hoping the great British public will not expect all deaf people to dance divinely, any more than they expect them to be as musical as Dame Evelyn Glennie, people in the spotlight do help others to focus on the condition and possibly some of the problems it can sometimes bring in its wake.

From her obvious ability to lipread and with the benefit of some sound from her hearing aids, plus a beautifully clear voice herself, Rose showed her allegiance to the English language and signed what I know as SSE (Sign Supported English), based on signs from BSL (British Sign Language). BSL is a language recognised in its own right since 2003 in this country and those newcomers signing up to classes as a result of Rose may well be initially bemused by the grammar of this living, visual language which was not evident in her speech.

Jenny with her grandchildren

We want our grandchildren to be proud of their parents’ signing skills and if Strictly has drawn attention to signing there is cause for rejoicing! On Christmas morning Tom sent me a little video of 8 year old Daisy, an angel, and 6 year old Oliver, a king, signing a Christmas song in their village church Nativity the previous evening, alongside many young friends doing the same! Signing in a situation like that adds another dimension to the words and to the whole atmosphere (I had been surprised in one of Rose’s interviews when she said that stage musicals had been unknown to her previously. Sign Language Interpreted Performances (SLIPS) are just magical in the right, professional hands and unbelievably captivating to watch). SOLT (Society of London Theatres) regularly produce a free book listing all such performances, plus Captioned, Audio-described and Relaxed ones.

For their parents to not only see the signs but also read the words on a white screen make such memorable events accessible. Daisy, who was fascinated by her own hands at the age of five months, is now astute enough, without ever having been told to do so, to precis important information at the school gate for her mother, and has done so since the age of five when it seems an observant teacher feared it indicated her own sentence structure might be faulty. Her bilingualism at that tender age was obviously not appreciated as her own conversational speech used perfect English! Both she and her brother read well and he astounded me at the age of five when he insisted on reading the first children’s book written by deaf poet Raymond Antrobus, Can Bears Ski? to me, never having seen it before I gave it to him that day! Both children lipspeak and sign sensitively, often unobtrusively, to their parents.

The newest family member has already, at 18 months, a good repertoire of signs and long been endearingly signing “where’s Mummy?” Sign language, as anyone familiar with baby/toddler Tiny Talk groups,  either as a professional or as a parent/grandparent/carer will testify, “jumpstarts” language, be it for hearing or deaf children.  And if in their teen years ours are loath to sign in public I hope by then Rose’s influence will have permeated and publicised signing to such an extent that more and more people will proudly use it. As CODAs (children of deaf adults) ours will appreciate support and deserve all the praise they should get for their skills, gained at such tender ages from the parents they love.

Little did I dream, 40 odd years ago as I embarked on signs with our one-year-old, that I would be so proud to see Tom’s hearing offspring signing to him and his wife. Babysitting his then tiny daughter some years ago, I showed her my book about him. Engrossed, after information overload she briefly fell asleep on my lap, then suddenly woke up and demanded, “and what happened next?”!

I filled in some details for her but the rest is yet to come. For now, she and her siblings hold the future in their hands, just as Tom holds theirs in his.

Jenny Froude

Jenny’s book Making Sense in Sign is available on our website.

If you liked this post, you may also be interested in the following titles:

Understanding Deaf Culture by Paddy Ladd

The Legal Recognition of Sign Languages edited by Maartje De Meulder, Joseph J. Murray and Rachel L. McKee

Critical Perspectives on Plurilingualism in Deaf Education edited by Kristin Snoddon and Joanne C. Weber

Get 40% off all our Deaf Studies titles with code DS2022 at the checkout on our website.

Can a Book Project Be Decolonial?

We recently published Decoloniality, Language and Literacy edited by Carolyn McKinney and Pam Christie. In this post the editors discuss the main themes of the book and how it came together.

Educators in the Global South grapple not only with the stringencies and curtailments of neoliberal economic policies, but also with the deep intersectional inequalities that linger on as legacies of colonialism – summed up by the term ‘coloniality’. In teacher education, the decolonial struggle means working for change within and against deep structural inequalities in schooling and higher education systems: inequalities that are evident in institutional provision, fees, and barriers to access, but are also evident in assumptions about what counts as valuable knowledges and languages.

This book is based on conversations among colleagues that began in response to the intense experiences of campus protests and shutdowns, as university students in South Africa called for free, decolonial education. Our conversations, which extended over several years, grappled with how to prepare student teachers to enter a highly divided and unequal schooling system shaped by coloniality in the Global South, and at the same time work for change. Our key concerns have been to develop a better understanding of the multiple damaging ways in which coloniality shapes the schooling and university experience/environment, and how we as educators might work within the complex dynamics of border conditions in our different practices.

The book reflects on:

  • how teacher educators and educational researchers might grapple with the colonial matrix of power in our daily practice;
  • how we make decisions about what counts as ‘knowledge’;
  • how we teach ‘canonical’ disciplinary knowledge while at the same time challenging this and acknowledging the epistemic violence wrought by the partiality of this knowledge;
  • how we challenge the monolingual myth and enable multilingualism; and
  • how we explore the possibilities and constraints of conducting research and scholarship in times of instability.

As a collective of tenured academics and graduate students, we came together in this project because of the challenges we face navigating multiple ways of knowing and being. The oral mode and embodiment, i.e. physical co-presence, talking, being together and eating with each other (face to face in the same space, even if masked!), feeling, seeing and hearing each other’s affective responses – passion, distrust, anger, curiosity and love – was our starting point. Without this there would be no written texts. Our embodied interaction was also very literate, drawing on a range of disciplinary knowledge (e.g. science education; applied linguistics; literacy studies) as well as our experiences of teaching and learning. To the extent that we needed to turn these interactions into published written form in order for them to count as legitimate academic knowledge, we recognize that the production of a (mostly English) book is itself a legacy of colonialism.

In a recent discussion of the Pennsylvania State University African Studies Global Virtual Forum (hosted by Sinfree Makoni) following a presentation by Bonny Norton, the question was raised ‘can a book be decolonial?’ or ‘can a book project be a decolonial project?’ While Norton asked this question in relation to children’s books produced for the African Storybook project, we believe it is highly relevant for academic publishing as well.

While still questioning whether a book project can be decolonial, or disrupt or delink from coloniality, our collected conversations presented here show some of the approaches and tactics we used collectively and individually to disrupt coloniality in knowledge production and participation, and our attempts to work within border conditions rather than write about them.

During the course of this project, we were joined in conversation by colleagues from Chile, Brazil and Canada whose work resonated in different ways with issues of decoloniality and language in education.  Making South-South connections is the aim of the final part of our book.

Apart from the usual theorized accounts of empirical data, we decided to include a range of genres to show how knowledge is made through different kinds of texts. These include poetry, a photo-essay; short language history narratives; an interview; visual representation of data in comic strip form and dialogues between research participants and the authors as well as amongst authors using call-outs or boxed text. These unconventional genres sit alongside more conventional ones.

How far we managed to delink from coloniality in our book will be up to the reader to decide.

Pam Christie and Carolyn McKinney

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Decolonising Multilingualism by Alison Phipps. You can freely access and download her Short Manifesto for Decolonising Multilingualism here.

Relanguaging Language

This month we published Relanguaging Language from a South African Township School by Lara-Stephanie Krause. In this post the author explains the term ‘relanguaging’.

This book documents a thought experiment. It emerged from a long-term linguistic ethnography with a focus on English classrooms at a primary school in Khayelitsha, a township in Cape Town, South Africa. The thought experiment results in an attempt at a new conceptualisation of language classrooms – and, by extension, of language practices more generally. My methodological approach is unconventional and risky. Being at the school and engaging with the situated linguistic data in detail gave me the sense of overlooking something when applying existing theories of classroom language practices (like code-switching or translanguaging) to the data. This researcher’s intuition pushed me to reconsider existing analytical lenses. My hypothesis became that the phenomenon I observed could indeed not be described via the repertoire of existing theories. I pursue this hypothesis throughout the book and it drives me to develop a fresh analytical lens at the intersection of linguistics, applied linguistics and sociolinguistics. Relanguaging is what becomes visible once this lens is consistently applied.

While translanguaging focusses on flexible and fluid languaging practices, relanguaging is a relational phenomenon. It does not focus either on fluid languaging practices or on institutionally enforced, fixed named languages (nomolanguages). Rather, relanguaging focusses precisely on what is going on in the space that opens up between languaging and nomolanguages. In this particular study, this space is the Khayelitshan English classroom, which I see as constituted by the relationality between fluid, flexible classroom languaging practices and enactments of Standard English. Here, relanguaging is a linguistic sorting practice that is enacted by teachers (and sometimes learners) and that works in two directions:

  • Linguistic fluidity and heterogeneity (classroom languaging) gets sorted out to arrive at a homogenised classroom repertoire (Standard English)
  • Standard English gets reassembled with other linguistic resources into a heterogeneous classroom repertoire (classroom languaging)

Relanguaging therefore conceptualises language teaching not as a progression from a fixed L1 to a fixed L2 but as a circular sorting process constantly sorting out and bringing together again fluid, heterogeneous classroom languaging and Standard English.

Another notable difference between translanguaging and relanguaging is that the latter can make linguistic sorting practices visible. In translanguaging research, the idea of sorting also exists: People are said to sort through their individual repertoires made up of heterogeneous resources (rather than out of separate languages), choosing to actualize the resources most suitable for the interaction at hand. However, the sorting process itself is inaccessible to (socio)linguistic analysis. It remains ‘hidden’ in each individual’s head. By spatializing languaging – relying on the concept of spatial rather individual repertoires – relanguaging brings this sorting practice into the open and makes it accessible to (socio)linguistic analysis.

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Assessing Academic Literacy in a Multilingual Society edited by Albert Weideman, John Read and Theo du Plessis.

Crossing Borders, Writing Texts, Being Evaluated

This month we published Crossing Borders, Writing Texts, Being Evaluated edited by Anne Golden, Lars Anders Kulbrandstad and Lawrence Jun Zhang. In this post the editors explain how the book came together.

Zoom and Teams are wonderful for communication, but, alas, they cannot make up for real encounters with new and inspiring colleagues at international conferences. This book is the results of such a get-together. As Norwegian researchers in the field of second language learning and use, we have long been concerned with how some groups of students struggle to satisfy the requirements of language mastery in the new country, particular when it comes to writing. How great then to meet and get to know researchers from other corners of the world having the same concerns! Two of us met at the 14th Symposium on Second Language Writing in Auckland, New Zealand in 2015 and then three of us incidentally met again in 2017 at the American Association for Applied Linguistics in Portland, USA.

We all wondered if the experiences some groups of students had from their prior schooling with writing texts did not match the expected way of writing in the new language or in the new areas of study. Do the language tests they have to take function as strict gatekeeping with borders too difficult to cross or bars too high to jump? For us this was a question of social justice and we saw the task of teachers and researchers as a two-front struggle: On one front, scholars should critically examine testing regimes and raise public awareness about the hidden agendas implicit in language tests. On the other front, scholars should develop research-based knowledge about tests and testing practices, including concealed or unconscious norms as well as raters’ bias, so that institutions of adult education, schools and universities can better prepare learners for the tests they are required to take. We decided to address these questions at the next Sociolinguistic Symposium, which happened to be in Auckland the year after. This is where this book started, at the colloquium in Auckland in 2018. Now it is out. Zoom and Teams would not have been able to initiate this.

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Languaging Myths and Realities by Qianqian Zhang-Wu.

How Do We Work Towards Linguistic Justice for Multilingual Writers on Campus?

This month we published Linguistic Justice on Campus edited by Brooke R. Schreiber, Eunjeong Lee, Jennifer T. Johnson and Norah Fahim. In this post the editors set out three key principles to help educators move towards more linguistically just practices.

In the process of editing this book and discovering the many paths our authors have taken towards more actively anti-racist campus spaces, we have learned that a key component of linguistic justice work for multilingual students is bringing to light what’s usually hidden by typical, normative university practices. Often, the ways that universities represent and “manage” linguistic diversity on campus align with neoliberal discourses, treating multilingual students’ abilities, experiences, and practices in multiple languages as useful commodities for the global workforce. Students’ linguistic identities and language use are thereby rendered as simple, stable, and fitting neatly into pre-assigned categories. We offer here three key principles to help educators move beyond this limiting monolingual approach and enact more linguistically just practices in classrooms, writing centers, and professional development.

Shifting how we view multilingualism 

The contributors in our book argue for an epistemological shift in thinking about what counts as legitimate language and literacy; this goal lies at the core of linguistic justice work. Regrettably, what dominates on university campuses is often white-centered, English-only, monolingual, and racist ideologies that see and hear our multilingual students’ language practices through a deficit lens. We must actively seek more expansive ways to understand and highlight students and their communities’ rich, complex, and dynamic languaging practices. As our contributors demonstrate, taking such action requires questioning and destabilizing what is taken as “given,” “normal,” or “conventional” as it is often these discourses that maintain structural inequity. For instance, Shanti Bruce, Rebecca Lorimer Leonard, and Deirdre Vineyard’s work demonstrates that we should recognize the limitations that institutional categories such as “diverse,” “ESL,” or “second language writers” impose on our multilingual students. Students’ language use – and their linguistic identities – are far more complex than tools like language surveys might reveal. Ultimately, a shift in how we see and hear multilingual practices on our campus and beyond is a precondition to linguistic justice.

Learning to engage with difference rhetorically 

Linguistic justice work challenges us to approach language difference more rhetorically – focusing on meaning and intent rather than correctness. As several of our contributors, most prominently Alexandra Watkins and Lindsey Ives have shown, scholarly frameworks like rhetorical listening, translingualism, and decoloniality offer specific dispositions and terms that challenge our students, faculty, writing tutors and administrators to negotiate language difference on an equal footing.

This work is emotionally demanding, but sitting with this discomfort, especially for people in positions of linguistic privilege, is vital. As Marilee Brooks-Gillies explains, writing tutors can benefit from engaging with “difficult” and genuine conversations about race and language provided through professional development. Hidy Basta calls for us to create spaces for writing tutors that support a reflexive approach to counter privilege and linguistic biases, for example, by closely examining the writing center’s guiding documents and other artifacts.

For writing center directors and tutor educators, pushing tutors – and faculty members – to understand the problematic reality that writing centers have historically been places that promote “standardized” versions of English is a daunting task. Using strategies such as translingual reading groups, workshops, or shared blog post reflections can help tutors reflect on and deconstruct deficit language views.

Centering multilingualism

In our classrooms and in tutoring contexts, we must not only make visible but value multilingual students and language differences. Centering marginalized communities and their languaging practices means creating spaces for all students to learn more about the ongoing ideological and material consequences of colonial history. This could mean, for example, as in Kaia Simon’s work, bringing the experiences of child language brokers into the classroom.  It might mean making linguistic differences explicit features of writing classrooms, asking students to reflect on their linguistic privilege or non-privilege, as Zhaozhe Wang does in his classroom, or it could mean investigating and acknowledging the Indigenous history of the physical contexts our classrooms occupy, as in Rachel Presley’s teaching. As these chapters show, centering multilinguality and disrupting the hierarchical, standard notions of communication in higher education context benefits all writers, including monolingual students.

The research our contributors share is all aimed toward engaging others in thinking about, seeing, and understanding how our multilingual students practice language and literacy. It is our hope that this collection invites and inspires more teaching and scholarship that facilitates the ongoing work of linguistic justice.

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Sociocultural and Power-Relational Dimensions of Multilingual Writing by Amir Kalan.

How do Mobility and Immobility Manifest in Language Use?

We recently published Exploring (Im)mobilities edited by Anna De Fina and Gerardo Mazzaferro. In this post the editors reveal what readers can expect from the book.

Mobility has become a central concept for understanding the way late modern societies work. Sociologists such as Giddens and Bauman have recognized the role of the increased physical and virtual mobility that the world is experiencing in changing patterns of communication, social practices and perceptions about identities. In this book we argue, however, that mobility cannot and should not be conceived as separated from immobility. Such separation is not only artificial but carries the risk of ignoring the many ways in which the mobility of some depends on the immobility of others and the mobility of many is interrupted and punctuated by immobilities. It is also important to recognize that there are many different kinds of mobilities with different effects on people and their social and personal trajectories.

In this volume we aim to advance the investigation of issues of mobility/immobility in sociolinguistics by exploring how mobilities are affected by, and in turn affect, power dynamics and relations, the kinds of resources that people use and how they use them within communication processes that emerge in different types of (im)mobilities, and the role of agency in the management of (im)mobilities.

Our contributors focus on the tensions between institutional blocks to physical and social mobility and the desires and aspirations of mobile people, they discuss how linguistic and semiotic resources are deployed in order to resist these obstacles or to perpetrate them, to counter discourses of immobility or to impose them. Thus, they also investigate subjectivities and agentive meaning making practices through which (im)mobility is recontextualized and reconfigured by individuals and groups from their own perspective. Chapters in this volume center on migrants, refugees and other minorities whose mobility is regimented and explore a variety of situations and geographical areas including South Africa, Italy, Spain, Australia, Greece and the UK.

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Multilingualism, (Im)mobilities and Spaces of Belonging edited by Kristine Horner and Jennifer Dailey-O’Cain.

Multilingual Contexts of Language Standardization and Variation

We recently published Language Standardization and Language Variation in Multilingual Contexts edited by Nicola McLelland and Hui Zhao. In this post the editors explain how the volume came together.

It’s no accident that this volume is a cooperation between two editors from quite different research backgrounds: one of us (McLelland) comes from a European tradition of language standardization studies, while the other (Zhao) is trained in variationist sociolinguistics, with a particular focus on Chinese. What brought us together for this collaboration was our shared desire to shed new light on language standardization and variation in three crucial ways.

First, we wanted to bring language standardization and language variation studies, which in effect examine two sides of the same coin within sociolinguistics, into conversation. Second, we wanted to shine the light firmly on the languages of Asia, thus far badly under-represented in our fields compared to Europe and the English-speaking world. Third, we wanted to add momentum to the growing recognition of multilingualism in sociolinguistic studies.

Every chapter in the volume, therefore, deals with language variation and/or standardization in a multilingual context in Asia. In many multilingualism case studies, one of the languages involved is English, so it’s worth noting that while English is indeed relevant in several of our case studies, all of our authors tackle contexts that are already multilingual before we factor in English.

Readers will, we trust, draw their own lessons from the volume, but as we send it into the world, it’s worth highlighting what we editors have been privileged to learn from the project ourselves. We’ve certainly learned more about the “hidden multilingualisms” of the world, not least within China: our volume includes contributions looking at minoritized languages within China’s borders, including Mongolian, Sibe, Tibetan, and Zhuang, as well as shedding light on the relationship between different Chinese languages and varieties spoken both within China (Beijing, Shanghai) and elsewhere (Malaysia).

Several studies in our volume are also a reminder to those of us schooled in the historical language standardization of certain major European languages that standardization remains a burning real-world aspect of contemporary language planning and policy, for example as it concerns Tibetan and in Patani Malay spoken in Thailand.

We’ve also been confronted once more with how intimately language standardization and/or the acceptance of variation and of language varieties are entangled with questions of social, cultural and political power – whether it’s a case of exercising power in deciding how language varieties are talked about (e.g. the case of Jejueo in South Korea), or in seeking to resist hegemonic power through language standardization (Zhuang in China), or in how language usages express identities (e.g. dialect “cosplay” or the performance of transgender identity in Japanese).

Our volume is in English, even though for us and for every one of our contributors, English is just one language among our multilingual repertoires. The irony, for a volume focussed on “multilingual contexts”, is not lost on us. But we are grateful to our contributors for giving us – and our readers – insights into rich and diverse instances of multilingual contexts of language standardization and variation in Asia. We trust that readers will share our appreciation of those new perspectives too.

This volume is the result of a conference held at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, as part of the project Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (www.meits.org ).

For more information about this book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Language Prescription edited by Don Chapman and Jacob D. Rawlins.

Five Myths About International Students Debunked

We recently published Languaging Myths and Realities by Qianqian Zhang-Wu. In this post the author explains what inspired her to write the book.

With the internationalization of higher education, millions of multilingual international students travel across the border to pursue tertiary education in Anglophone countries. In the United States, the largest international student host country in the world, Chinese international students represent the largest ethnic group. How do newly arrived Chinese international students negotiate their identities and draw upon their bilingual resources to navigate English-medium instruction at the tertiary level? How do they function linguistically across academic and social contexts? How can higher education institutions in English-speaking countries understand the within-group variabilities and dynamics among Chinese international students in order to provide better academic and linguistic support? Seeking to unpack these questions, my monograph Languaging Myths and Realities: Journeys of Chinese International Students draws upon rich ethnographic methods, including a 4-month digital ethnography, over 500 hours of bilingual language logs, semi-structured interviews, and texts analysis of writing samples among many other data sources, to closely examine Chinese undergraduate students’ first-semester languaging journeys in American higher education.

As a former Chinese international student pursuing tertiary education in the US and now an English professor working in an American university, I have always been fascinated by the mismatch between multilingual international students’ English language proficiency as measured by high-stakes standardized assessments and their actual ability to function linguistically across contexts. For instance, despite my perfect score in reading as measured by TOEFL, upon arriving in the US in 2012 as an M.S. Ed student in TESOL, I found myself scratching my head when reading about common academic concepts such as “L1 as a scaffold” and “English as an auxiliary language.” Similarly, regardless of my full mark in the TOEFL listening subtest, I was panicked when the barista repeated my order of “a small coffee with nonfat milk” as “a TALL skinny latte,” even though in reality the “tall” latte I finally received was way shorter than I had thought.

My lived experiences have made me curious – if high-stakes gatekeeping standardized language proficiency assessments do not always linearly predict multilingual students’ ability to meet the linguistic demands in English-medium environment, how can higher education institutions in Anglophone countries deliver linguistically responsive instruction to support their growingly superdiverse international student populations? I carried this question with me throughout my years as a graduate student. When I finally became an English professor specialized in multilingual writing and working closely with multilingual students in 2019, I did not hesitate to dedicate my very first monograph in life to explore this topic.

In my book Languaging Myths and Realities: Journeys of Chinese International Students, I took a unique insider-outsider perspective to examine the lived first-semester languaging experiences among 12 Chinese undergraduate students studying in American higher education. Through the lens of bioecological model of human development and languaging theories, my research has found that Chinese international students are not simply “Chinese international students.” My participants, while all able to meet the TOEFL threshold for university admission and are too often categorized under the catch-all umbrella term of “Chinese international students,” went through drastically different journeys during their initial experiences studying in English-medium higher education. Depending on their various language and education experiences prior to tertiary education, these students demonstrated complex within-group dynamics linguistically, academically, and socially. This has prompted me to propose a continuum to capture multilingual international students’ varying degree of academic and linguistic readiness for tertiary education in English-medium countries. I argue that higher education researchers, administrators and instructors must adopt a developmental perspective in understanding the dynamic languaging experiences of students from culturally, racially and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Challenging the largely misconceived homogeneity of Chinese international students has served as the foundation for my book to further unpack the diverse languaging practices, educational equity for international students and progressive pedagogies for English language users from various linguistic backgrounds. Joining the broader discussions on monolingualism and racism in American higher education, my book triangulated rich ethnographic data from various multilingual and multimodal sources to debunk 5 commonly held myths regarding international students including:

  • Myth 1: TOEFL results accurately predict international students’ abilities to function linguistically on college entry
  • Myth 2: An English-only policy is necessary in college classrooms to help international students improve their linguistic functioning in English
  • Myth 3: First Year Writing guarantees international students’ successful writing performances in content-area courses
  • Myth 4: English is responsible for all the challenges facing Chinese international students
  • Myth 5: Chinese international students are well supported in American higher education, both linguistically and academically

For more information about the book please see our website.

If you found this interesting, you might also like Making Language Visible in the University by Bee Bond.

Welcoming Rosie to the CVP Team

We recently welcomed Rosie to the team, who is commissioning editor while Laura is on maternity leave. In this post we find out a bit more about her…

What were you doing before you joined us?

I came here from Routledge, where I was working as an Editorial Assistant on their Language Learning list. Before that, I studied Applied Linguistics and taught English as a Second Language in New York, so I’m not sure there’s any doubt about my favourite subject!

What made you apply for the job?

I have always loved working with language and linguistics, and it only took a glance at the catalogue to be convinced this was the place for me! I really liked the idea of working for a smaller publisher too, as it gives you the chance to get to know different aspects of the publishing process.

What were your first impressions?

I think the first thing that struck me was how well everyone knew each other. Not only within the team, but series editors and authors too, it really is a CVP family. Everyone was immediately very welcoming, which isn’t so easy over email and Zoom! One thing I love about working in this subject area is seeing the names of my old lecturers crop up as authors or reviewers, and there have been a few already!

Do you prefer ebooks or print books? What are you reading at the moment?

I still prefer print but I do have a Kindle which I would load up when travelling to save space. I just started ‘The Goldfinch’ and I am absolutely loving it (though at 800+ pages it definitely would have been easier to carry around on kindle). I always have a non-fiction book on the go at the same time, and this year I’ve been reading ‘On This Day in History’. I read a page each morning with my first cup of tea, and it’s nice to know that on 31st December I can add one more to my Goodreads reading challenge, just in time!

Do you have a favourite book?

I would struggle to pick a favourite each year! One I keep recommending to people is ‘To Be Taught, If Fortunate’ by Becky Chambers. I’m not usually a sci-fi reader, but this is definitely one of the best books I’ve read in the last few years. The concepts are clever, the characters well-rounded, and it’s just so beautifully rich for such a short book.

What do you like to do when you’re not in the office?

I recently moved back to Scotland after six years away, so I’ve been enjoying visiting family and friends at the weekends, and I’m looking forward to a lot more hillwalking in the spring. I play piano, love to bake, and at the moment I’m learning Italian through a combination of podcasts, books, Duolingo, and a carefully curated playlist of Italian Disney songs!