Follow-up days

Stephen May, University of Auckland, New Zealand

12 March 2013


"(Re)discovering" the multilingual speaker: Implications for SLA and TESOL

Multilingualism is the norm worldwide, although one would hardly notice this in the fields of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) and TESOL, which continue to be almost wholly predicated on the normative notion of the monolingual speaker. Similarly, while critical applied linguists are increasingly turning to the study of multilingualism, particularly in urban contexts, mainstream SLA and TESOL scholars continue blithely to ignore such work. Why is this and what can be done about it? This presentation provides some of the necessary backstory to the recent “multilingual turn” in critical applied linguistics, as well as examining critically the ongoing resistance to it within the mainstream SLA and TESOL fields.

This open lecture was organised organised by doctoral researchers from the
MOSAIC Centre for Research on Multilingualism, School of Education.

Norman Fairclough, Emeritus Professor, Lancaster University

8 March 2013


The contribution of critical discourse analysis (CDA) to policy analysis

Norman discussed the potential contribution of CDA to policy analysis through a comparison with recent papers in the journal Critical Policy Studies and in Fischer & Gottweis (2012) which discussed the contribution to policy analysis of Cultural Political Economy (CPE) on the one hand (Jessop 2009, Sum 2009) and Poststructuralist Discourse Analysis (PDA) on the other (Howarth 2009, Howarth & Griggs 2012). CDA, CPE and PDA agree with those in policy studies who adopt broadly ‘interpretivist’ (anti-positivist) positions that there needs to be a ‘discursive (or semiotic) turn’ in policy studies. CPE and PDA have both drawn upon CDA to achieve a better analytical purchase, and CDA has sought to work in a ‘transdisciplinary’ way with particularly CPE so that it can properly address (as it aspires to) dialectical relations between semiotic and material facets of social change. But as well as this common ground, there are significant differences between CDA and the other two over what the ‘discursive turn’ should amount to. The comparison between CDA and CPE/PDA is a way of addressing contentious issues over what exactly discourse analysis can contribute to policy analysis (as well as political analysis more generally and political economic analysis).

He discussed in particular the contentious issue of what role analysis of argumentation should have in critical approaches to policy analysis. Argumentation analysis is widely associated with a Habermasian position which is taken to be incompatible with critical social analysis (both CPE and PDA see themselves by contrast as Gramscian). The ‘argumentative turn’ in policy studies (Fischer & Forester 1993, Fischer 2003) would seem to have such a Habermasian orientation, notably in viewing the task of policy analysts as facilitating the achievement of consensus in policy debate. But Isabela Fairclough and Norman Fairclough argue, in Fairclough & Fairclough (2012), that argumentation analysis is compatible with the concerns and objectives of CDA and other critical approaches, and indeed can strengthen CDA in certain important ways. His aim was to show, with reference in particular to policy responses to the current financial and economic crises, how our approach to the integration of CDA and argumentation theory and analysis helps to address certain limitations of CPE and PDA with respect to the ‘discursive turn’, and might help to enhance the contribution that they can make to policy analysis.

This open lecture was organised organised by doctoral researchers from the
MOSAIC Centre for Research on Multilingualism, School of Education.

Francis M. Hult, University of Texas at San Antonio

12 June 2012

Applications of Nexus Analysis to Investigating Educational Policy and Practice

TFrancis Hulthe hallmark of educational linguistics is its problem-centered approach to issues in language (in) education (Hornberger, 2001; Hult, 2008). These practical problems or issues are often complex in nature, mediated by a confluence of factors from individual to sociopolitical scales and everything in between—all interconnected (Hult, 2010a; Larsen-Freeman & Cameron, 2008). A related methodological challenge, then, is balancing attention to what Halliday (2007) refers to ‘synoptic and dynamic perspectives,’ in essence attending to our objects of study as they appear in real time (synoptic) while also taking into account how they are articulated as part of larger systems (dynamic). For instance, how can we understand a particular conversational exchange between a student and a teacher in a classroom in interactional terms while also determining how this exchange is mediated by larger scale factors such as the life trajectories of the individuals involved and/or the curricula and policies in place? This workshop presented nexus analysis (Scollon & Scollon, 2004) as a meta-methodology for addressing these kinds of issues in educational linguistic research. Drawing upon his own work (e.g., Hult, 2010b, 2012) as well as the work of others who have employed this approach (e.g., Compton, 2010; Lane, 2010, Pietikäinen, 2010), he demonstrated how principles of nexus analysis serve to tease out relevant factors in complex educational problems and, in turn, aid in tracing how those factors are influenced by discursive processes on other scales.

Franis Hult, University of Texas at San AntonioNexus analysis combines elements of critical discourse analysis, ethnography of communication, and interactional sociolinguistics yet it is more than the sum of these parts, offering a novel and holistic empirical perspective that is ideally suited for addressing multidimensional research questions. In the workshop, he focused particularly on (a) key concepts of nexus analysis and their relevance for educational linguistics, (b) ways in which nexus analysis can guide critical thinking about data collection and analysis, and (c) practical benefits and challenges of applying nexus analysis. During interactive discussions, participants had the opportunity to experiment conceptually with the potential application of nexus analysis to their own current research.


Compton, S. (2010). Implementing language policy for Deaf students from Spanish-speaking homes: The case of agents in a Texas school district. Master’s thesis. University of Texas at San Antonio.
Halliday, M. A. K. (2007). On the concept of “educational linguistics.” In J.J. Webster (ed.), The collected works of M.A.K. Halliday, volume 9: Language and education. London: Continuum.
Hornberger, N. H. (2001). Educational linguistics as a field: A view from Penn’s program on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. Working Papers in Educational Linguistics, 17(1-2), 1-26.
Hult, F. M. (2008). The history and development of educational linguistics. In B. Spolsky & F. M. Hult (eds.), The handbook of educational linguistics (pp. 10-24). Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Hult, F. M. (2010a). Theme-based research in the transdisciplinary field of educational linguistics. In F. M. Hult (ed.), Directions and prospects for educational linguistics (pp. 19-32). New York: Springer.
Hult, F. M. (2010b). Analysis of language policy discourses across the scales of space and time. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 202, 7-24.
Hult, F. M. (2012). English as a transcultural language in Swedish policy and practice. TESOL Quarterly, 46(2), 230-257.
Lane, P. (2010). “We did what we thought was best for our children”: a nexus analysis of language shift in a Kven community. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 202, 63-78.
Larsen-Freeman, D. & Cameron, L. (2008). Complex systems and applied linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press.
Pietikäinen, S. (2010). Sámi language mobility: scales and discourses of multilingualism in a polycentric environment. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 202, 79-101.
Scollon, R. And Scollon, S.W. (2004) Nexus analysis: discourse and the emerging internet. London: Routledge

Professor Jan Blommaert, Tilburg University The Netherlands with Dr Mark Sebba Lancaster University As discussant

18 May 2011

Emerging normativity and the politics of authenticity

New media offer spaces for communication for which apparently no clear rules are available. They are spaces for experimentation. Yet we see the emergence of instant norms, bodies of scripted and unscripted rules converting the spaces of experimentation to spaces of control, forming what can effectively be described as ‘supervernaculars’. The formation of such vernaculars, at the same time, generates ‘deglobalized’ dialects oriented towards what appears to be an overarching norm: authenticity. Examples from SMS-code will be used to illustrate the points made.


 Follow Up Days

 Follow Up Days