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Introduction: Language and globalization in South and Central Asian spaces

  • Brook Bolander EMAIL logo and Till Mostowlansky


In this introduction, we outline our approach to the two main themes this interdisciplinary special issue brings together – language and globalization, and South and Central Asian spaces. Arguing for the importance of exploring these topics from multiple, complementary disciplinary angles (sociolinguistic, anthropological and historical), we delineate a conceptualization of language and globalization which both acknowledges the inextricable relationship between language (use and ideology) and processes of globalization (past and present); as well as the challenges this relationship poses for linguistic research. We thereby adopt a viewpoint which underscores the importance of not a priori assuming that any one layer or scale – local, national, transnational, transregional – will be central to the ways language is used to perform or index globalization. To address questions of language and globalization in connection with South and Central Asian spaces, we further underscore our approach to regions as “process geographies”, an outlook which is suggestive of the importance of critically reflecting on the notion of “areas” as potentially unfixed, unstable and oscillating entities.


Special thanks to David Britain and Karénina Kollmar-Paulenz for their feedback on earlier versions of this introduction, and to Ofelia García for her guidance preparing this special issue. Thanks also to all the participants of the workshop “Traversing super-, trans- and inter-: Central and South Asia revisited” held at the third ISLE conference in Zurich, Switzerland, in August 2014, whose input has been key to the development of this introduction and the issue as a whole. Many thanks also to the Swiss National Science Foundation’s International Exploratory Workshops, and the University of Zurich’s ZUNIV and VAUZ, who sponsored the workshop leading to this special issue.


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Published Online: 2017-7-7
Published in Print: 2017-8-28

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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