Discourse hub seminars spring 2019

January 31, 2019 - June 3, 2019

These seminars are for discussing key texts, new elaborations and critique around Critical Discourse Studies and related fields.

Session dates and times:

January, 31 (12.15-14.00, A134). The reading for the first time is “Materiality and Subject in Marxism, (Post-)Structuralism, and Material Semiotics” by Johannes Beetz (2016).

February, 15 (13.00-15.30, C411).

Old practices, new directions? Revisiting theorizing and making a social impact in applied linguistics. Workshop by Ingrid de Saint-Georges

In applied and sociolinguistics today, as in most social sciences, methodological considerations occupy a prime position. Newcomers to the field learn from celebrated theories and framework, which they apply to their own research and observations. Established researchers detail at great length their research design, and often build new approaches on the blind spots and limitations of the work of their predecessors. In this exploratory workshop, I argue that while methodology is an essential part of academic research, other important discussions in the field seem in comparison to be still lagging behind. Drawing on concrete examples (including from a nexus analysis approach), I propose to explore two such discussions in particular:  1) what is the purpose and meaning of theory and theorizing in applied and sociolinguistics?: 2) what are the scientific meanings and practices of attempting to engage in making a social impact with one’s research? The workshop will be organized to provide both input and discussion time. It will aim to unpack the notions and practices of “theorizing” and “impacting”, to show how they have evolved over time, and to think about directions for future research arising when these two pillars of research are taken seriously.

Many voices speak: Negotiating communicative needs and authentication in rural tourism. A talk by prof Monika Dannerer, University of Innsbruck.

March, 28 (9.30-12). The reading for the seminar is “Materiality and Subject in Marxism, (Post-)Structuralism, and Material Semiotics” by Johannes Beetz (2016).

April, 25 (12.15–15), A134. Anna-Maija Ylä-Mattila presents her research on media representations of victims of terrorist attacks. Further, an open forum where we update one another on the recent literature we have been reading lately.

May, 23 (12–15), RUU 207 Toivo. Sigurd D’hondt: Confessions and Chronotopes

June, 3 (13.15–14.30), C411.

Interpreting work and social mobility: Becoming multilingual in the Indian healthcare industry. A talk by Dr. Sebastian Muth, Lancaster University.

In line with an increasing commercialization of healthcare and the now global circulation of patients across borders, India is currently aspiring to become a destination for medical tourists from emerging economies and developing countries. Within this context, the Indian medical industry created an increasing demand for multilingual healthcare interpreters and brokers to attract and linguistically accommodate patients from a variety of backgrounds that include the elites of former Soviet republics and war-torn Central African states, North Americans outsourced by their health insurers as well as Iraqis and Yemenites in search for accessible and affordable healthcare.

This globalized industry also has implications on language production and the valuation of communicative resources that are dependent on patient demand, projections of market growth and the inherent volatility of a globally operating neoliberal service industry. While medical interpreters enter this industry as self-entrepreneurs or zero-hour laborers with proficiency in one foreign language as capital to draw from, they soon realize that to sustain a living and remain competitive in this market it is imperative to strategically expand their multilingual repertoires. To highlight this speculative dimension of multilingualism and the value ascribed to different communicative resources, this paper follows the working lives of three workers who started off as Russian-speaking healthcare interpreters and who are now navigating this market as self-enterprising multilinguals.

Drawing from long-term ethnographic research of their working lives at private hospitals in the Greater Delhi area, this paper aims to further highlight the ways, multilingualism is discursively constructed as an activity that promises future employability and -success. I argue that this promise of prestige is contrasted by strenuous work conditions, insecurity within volatile healthcare markets and contrasting regimes of linguistic value, thus putting any long-term convertibility of multilingual repertoires into question. This volatility ties in with the social and cultural backgrounds of medical interpreters and their initial social backgrounds, highlighting language teaching and learning as a site that both reflects and reproduces social inequalities in the country.


Discourse Hub leaders and info: Sari Pietikäinen, Sigurd D’hondt

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