Papers & Workshops



  Reclaiming Minority Languages in the (Post)Modern World; Educating for (Critical) Multilingualism.


Dr Stephen May

Sociology Department, University of Bristol, UK


If predictions are right, this century will see the demise of the majority of the world's languages. What, if anything, can be done about this? Should we care?

This paper will explore the following key issues with respect to the ongoing maintenance of minority languages, and the related fostering of multilingualism, in the (post)modern world:

  • the traditional organisation and possible reconception of nation-states in the postmodern, globalised world;
  • the 'inevitable' association of 'majority' languages with modernity and progress;
  • the central role of education in facilitating and enforcing this association;
  • the potential role of education in contesting dominant cultural and linguistic hegemonies and revaluing previously subordinated knowledges and languages;
  • the pedagogical implications of a more diverse and critical(ist) conception of knowledges and languages within education
  Presentation Format: 45 min. paper

RMIT, Melbourne, Australia

5-9 July 2000