Changing Sociolinguistic Concerns, Linguistic Ethnography, and North/South Research Relations?

Author Information

Ben Rampton,
King’s College London, U.K.

DOI: 10.47298/cala2022.1-2
The GLOCAL Proceedings:  The GLOCAL Conference in Asia 2022


Many influential theories and concepts in applied and sociolinguistics – such as ‘intercultural communication’ or ‘language standardisation’ – are inevitably limited by the conditions prevailing inside the Western nation-states, from which they have now emerged. These Westernized theories and concepts are prevalent, yet are being increasingly contested and subject to scrutiny by scholars the world over.

But in this talk, I will focus on Linguistic Ethnography and Interactional Sociolinguistics as modes of enquiry, and I will ask whether, how far and in what ways they avoid “scientific colonialism” (Hymes 1969, pp. 49, 55), along with the manner and extent to which they are “forms of scientific knowledge … compatible with a democratic way of life, least likely to produce a world in which experts control knowledge at the expense of those who are studied”  (1980, pp. 105, 99).

Keywords: Linguistic anthropology, linguistic ethnography, interactional sociolinguistics, scientific colonialism, language standardisation

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