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“Languaging the worker: Globalized governmentalities in/of language in peripheral spaces”

Kati Dlaske, Elisabeth Barakos, Kyoko Motobayashi and Mireille McLaughlin
From the journal Multilingua


In the introduction to the special issue “Languaging the worker: globalized governmentalities in/of language in peripheral spaces”, we take up the notion of governmentality as a means to interrogate the complex relationship between language, labor, power and subjectivity in peripheral multilingual spaces. Our aim here is to argue for the study of governmentality as a viable and growing approach in critical sociolinguistic research. As such, in this introduction, we first discuss key concepts germane to our interrogations, including the notions of governmentality, languaging, peripherality and language worker. We proceed to map out five ethnographically and discourse-analytically informed case studies. These examine diverse actors in different settings pertaining to the domain of work. Finally we chart how the case studies construe the issue of languaging the worker through a governmentality frame.

Funding statement: Funding: The special issue was produced in the context of the Peripheral Multilingualism research project (2011–2015) (, funded by the Academy of Finland.


We wish to thank the project for the many forms of support in the production of this special issue. At this point we would also like to thank the reviewers of the papers in this volume for encouraging comments and invaluable insights which helped making the volume stronger. All misunderstandings and shortcomings are of course our own.


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Published Online: 2016-1-6
Published in Print: 2016-7-1

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