De-politicizing language: obstacles to political theory's engagement with language policy
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Ives, Peter. "De-Politicizing Language: Obstacles to Political Theory's Engagement with Language Policy." Language Policy 13(4) (November 2014): 335-350. DOI: 10.1007/s10993-014-9323-1.
This article argues that while there exists considerable overlap and potentially productive dialogue between political theory and language policy scholarship, any such effort will be hampered by the dominant approaches to political theory that assume individualistic and instrumentalist conceptions of language. Augmenting the language ideologies approach to such questions, I argue that within political theory there are resources to address such issues. After summarizing a few key contributions of recent political theory to debates on linguistic justice and language rights, the article turns to the writings of John Locke to analyze the underlying conception of language in these approaches. It concludes by suggesting that the key developments that language scholars have focused on in terms of the rise of global English, questions of native versus non-native ownership of language, changes in the nation-state and the context of global capitalism create the conditions in which such liberal and individualistic are unlikely to have significant purchase for scholars of language and language policy. I conclude by suggesting other theoretical resources that yield more attractive perspectives including Antonio Gramsci, Valentin Volos¡inov and Mikhail Bakhtin.