Project description

The project seeks to arrive at a comprehensive and conceptually versatile approach to investigating contemporary sociolinguistic contact zones (Pratt 1991) in the Nordic countries, involving the mobilities and diversity of people and of their linguistic and other semiotic resources, and the often asymmetrical power relations within which they encounter one another. It develops the insights emerging in recent sociolinguistics in which diversity is understood as the multifaceted entanglement of various forms of multilingualism, multisemioticity and interaction, including the increased use of digital media, diversified forms of migration, and new forms of conviviality.

Drawing on such insights, the project focuses on contemporary social and linguistic processes specifically in the Nordic context, while bearing in mind its connectedness to and engagement in more general, European and global changes and mobilities. This focus has recently proven to be particularly relevant with the rapid societal changes caused by the refugee situation leading to increased multilingualism and to intense discussions of how the Nordic societies should handle this diversification.

In our research groups we combine studies of multilingual interaction with studies of how people construct, treat and evaluate diversities such as ethnicity, gender, class, and language. We aim to explore the ways in which new forms of conviviality and social or institutional engagement are constructed through the use of multilingual and multisemiotic resources and to use this understanding to inform the development of alternative ways for institutions and organisations to engage with diversity, including but not limited to educational policies and pedagogies.

The workshops will thus provide a Nordic platform for sharing and collaboratively developing further theoretical viewpoints, methodological solutions and robust empirical research on multilingualism and mobility. Thus, the project will serve to establish common ground between the participating researchers and to create systematic opportunities for ambitious research cooperation and publication work across institutional and national borders among research groups all of which have an impressive track record in the area of the present project and share many key theoretical and methodological coordinates and research aims.

In line with these aims, the three exploratory workshops will probe into current theoretical and empirical sociolinguistic issues pertaining to multilingualism, multisemioticity, diversity and mobility. More specifically, the workshops will address three interrelated themes, highlighting a range of sociolinguistic contact zones

1) Linguistic diversity and enregisterment in everyday languaging (Copenhagen, Spring 2017),
2) Mobility and diversity of actors and semiotic resources in languaging around and in social media (Jyväskylä, Winter 2018)
3) Moving and being stuck: developing sociolinguistic lenses (Stockholm, Autumn 2018)


University of Jyväskylä team:
Professor Sirpa Leppänen
Samu Kytölä (Post-doctoral researcher)
Elina Westinen (Post-doctoral researcher)
Saija Peuronen (Doctoral student)
Sonya Sahradyan (Doctoral student)
Piia Jäntti (Doctoral student)
Professor Sari Pöyhönen
Heini Lehtonen (Post-doctoral researcher/ University of Helsinki)

University of Copenhagen team:
Associate professor Janus Spindler Møller
Associate professor Martha Karrebæk
Associate professor Lian Malai Madsen
Andreas Stæhr (Post-doctoral researcher)
Thomas Rørbeck Nørreby (Doctoral student)
Astrid Ag (Doctoral student)

University of Stockholm team:
Professor Christopher Stroud
Dr. Caroline Kerfoot (Senior scholar)
Natalia Ganuza (Post-doctoral researcher)
Linus Salö (Post-doctoral researcher)
David Karlander (Doctoral student)
Linnea Hannell (Doctoral student)
Plenary speaker to be invited:
Professor Adam Jaworski (HKU)

Funded by The Joint Committee for Nordic research councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS)