The CUNY Sociolinguistics Lunch is a series of talks on sociolinguistics and anthropological linguistics given by students, faculty, and visiting scholars usually from local institutions.
The talks are held 2-4 p.m. at the Graduate Center on three Fridays per semester. The format includes ample time for discussion, and so it is an excellent venue for presenting on-going research or research in preparation for publication. All are welcome.
Students and faculty of the Linguistics Program are welcome to present their work at the Sociolinguistics Lunch. For more information or to suggest a speaker contact Cecelia Cutler, Michael Newman or Miki Makihara.
Sociolinguists Lunch with Marnie Holborow
Marnie Holborow, associate faculty at Dublin City University, presents a talk and develops some themes to be found in her recent book Language and Neoliberalism (Routledge 2015).
“Neoliberalism, the commodification of language and the labour dimension.”
To what extent does the commodification of language accurately describe language in our social world? Language as commodity, identified for some time now in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology, postulates that language forms and styles have a greater role in the global economy, generate added value in certain niche markets and, in the new communicative work configurations of late capitalism, acquire a distinct material dimension. Language commodification can also be understood as part of the neoliberal project. It is a means of quantifying elements in the production process which contribute to greater profits and it articulates an ideological narrative in which communication skills are measured as ‘human capital’ elements which supposedly boost an individual’s earning potential. This talk examines the similarity and tensions between these two versions of language as commodity. It proposes a discussion of these issues within a broader political economy framework, which includes language in the Marxist concepts of labour power and the labour theory of value, and how this might form the basis of a critique of language commodification.
The talk will be followed by a reception in the Linguistics Department. All are welcome.