Language debates in the making of Europe

Discursive genealogy, language ideologies and (post) national constructions at the Council of Europe
Project management
10.2012 - 10.2016
Diversity, Institutions, Policy
University of Strasbourg, University of Fribourg and swissuniversities

This thesis traces a discursive genealogy of the language debates at the Council of Europe. Through a sociolinguistic and discursive approach to international institutions, different institutional texts produced between 1949 and 2008 are examined in their socio-historically situated conditions of production. The focus is on the (dis)continuity of old language ideologies in the construction of the discourse on linguistic diversity and plurilingualism and on the way the discourse on languages is a terrain which articulates, on the one hand, the ideologies of nation-states, as independent entities,and, on the other hand, the ideologies of the Council of Europe as an international institution that functions on the basis of interstate cooperation. This thesis is a critical reflection on the discourse of celebration and valorization of plurilingualism and linguistic diversity, on the role of (the discourse of) international institutions in the context of the globalized new economy and the internationalization of politics, and on the exercise of symbolic power by means of institutional and discursive apparatus.