Investigating Inheritance and Identity in Multilingual Europe

Posted on Thursday 4th February 2010

University of Birmingham academics are carrying out a cutting edge study that will inform and shape national and European policy in relation to education, migration, multiculturalism, and diversity.

The two-year project ‘Investigating discourses of inheritance and identity in four multilingual European settings’, in collaboration with Universities of Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Tilburg, investigates how multilingual young people negotiate ‘inheritance’ and ‘identity’ in urban settings in Denmark, England, Sweden, and The Netherlands.

It is being carried out at the University of Birmingham’s MOSAIC Centre for Research on Multilingualism, and funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) Joint Research Programme.

Director of the international project, Professor Adrian Blackledge, explained: “This is an important opportunity for researchers at the MOSAIC Centre for Research on Multilingualism to collaborate with leading international scholars in multilingualism research. Globalization and global mobility are creating multilingual and multi-ethnic societies throughout Europe and beyond.

This two-year project will allow us to undertake ground-breaking research to understand how multilingual young people in ‘super-diverse’ Europe negotiate their sense of belonging and affiliation. The research will extend current understandings of cultural heritage and local, national, and global identities.”

Case studies in the four national contexts will use ethnographic observation and interviews to investigate cultural heritage and global identities in a range of educational settings, where new and established linguistic practices connect and disconnect.

Research teams in Birmingham, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Tilburg will investigate the range of language and literacy practices of multilingual young people in these four European settings, their cultural and social significance, and the way in which they are used to negotiate heritages and identities.

For further information:

Anietie Isong, International Press Officer, University of Birmingham. Tel: 01214147863 e-mail: a.isong@bham.ac.uk