Xuan Wang, Massimiliano Spotti, Kasper Juffermans, Leonie Cornips, Sjaak Kroon, Jan Blommaert
April 9, 2014
Work on globalization has been concentrated on typical sites where features and phenomena are abundantly available: the huge contemporary metropolis with its explosive and conspicuous diversity in people and languages, its hyper-mobility and constant flux. Less typical places – peri-urban and rural areas, peripheral areas of countries, peripheral zones of the world, peripheral institutional zones where minorities are relegated – have been less quickly absorbed into current scholarship. Yet, upon closer inspection, there is no reason to exclude these `margins' from analyses of globalization processes and of their sociolinguistic implications. Globalization is a transformation of the entire world system, and it does not only affect the metropolitan centers of the world but also its most remote margins. Thus, we are bound to encounter globalization effects, also in highly unexpected places. A survey of these reifications of globalization at the margins will be the topic of this paper. We shall suggest a specific angle from which such forms of globalization in the margin can be most usefully addressed and we do so by drawing from examples taken from new media and communication technologies, from new forms of economic activity and, last but not least, from the perspective of legitimacy in the contentious struggle between commodification of language and the semiotic construction of authenticity.