Language and the State

Jacqueline Mowbray

in Linguistic Justice

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646616
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745485 | DOI:
Language and the State

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This chapter interrogates the concept of ‘the state’, with the aid of the methodology of Pierre Bourdieu, in order to highlight the political dimensions of language disputes. Against this background, the chapter considers language issues which arise in the context of dealings with state authorities, such as government departments and the courts. It examines various areas of international law which are relevant to language use in this context, including non-discrimination rights, rights to a fair trial and procedural fairness, freedom of expression, minority rights, rights to take part in cultural life, and law on the protection of linguistic diversity. This analysis reveals that the ‘politics of language’ tends to be obscured in international legal approaches to language policy, and that this limits international law’s potential to achieve greater linguistic justice for minorities.

Keywords: linguistic justice; international law; language; state; politics; Bourdieu; fair trial

Chapter.  15072 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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