Language Policy & the Multilingual City:
“Identities in urban contexts: the European multilingual city”
In 2014 a Jean Monnet Network on ‘European Identity, Culture, Exchanges and Multilingualism’ (EUROMEC) was established. Its aim was to become a reference point for researchers in the themes of European identity, culture, European citizenship, exchanges and multilingualism. The network was coordinated by the Faculty of Philosophy, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski “, with the support of the ” Jean Monnet” initiative of Erasmus+ programme on the European Commission.
A major strand of the work, coordinated by Lid King, was a focus on identities in urban contexts – the multilingual, multicultural city. The aim was to increase our understanding of how the city is becoming part of networked new identity spaces where the meaning of ‘here’ is changing because it relates less to national hinterlands and more to preference networks, where the meaning of “neighbour” has expanded from a pre-industrial definition of the next village and a twentieth century definition of the bordering country to a global definition determined by air routes and migration patterns.
To this end we carried out an analysis of attitudes towards multilingualism among the educated young in 3 European cities – Dublin, Kraków and Sofia , using “Q methodology” . Q was first developed by William Stephenson in the 1930s and has more commonly been used in fields other than language policy, as a way of understanding subjectivity, combining objective and subjective analysis.
We have now published an online report and analysis- MULTILINGUAL IDENTITIES A study of attitudes towards multilingualism in three European cities. This gives an overview of research and policy in the area, a description of the methodology used and research reports from Dublin, Kraków and Sofia. The review concludes with a reflective analysis by Professor Joe LoBianco, the international expert on language policy.
This work is a continuation of research carried out by previous networks – LUCIDE, Language Rich Europe – which provided data from cities across Europe (and beyond).
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