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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

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Volume 2017, Issue 247


Building bridges across the Oxus: language, development, and globalization at the Tajik-Afghan frontier

Till Mostowlansky
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  • Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
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Published Online: 2017-07-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2017-0021


In this article I set out to explore the Tajik-Afghan frontier in Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan region as a “contact zone” in which different actors engage in communicative encounters. Against this backdrop I take the construction of bridges across the Tajik-Afghan border river as a point of departure to analyse how these actors envisage processes of globalization. Following Pennycook, I argue that a focus on language as local practice reveals that the Tajik-Afghan frontier is marked by a high degree of different languages, but also by multiple meanings within and beyond these languages. As a result I maintain that highlighting the locality of languages at the Tajik-Afghan frontier provides an opportunity to frame language as tied to specific communicative encounters in semiotized time and space.

Keywords: global connections; local practice; language ideology; Tajikistan; Afghanistan


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About the article

Published Online: 2017-07-11

Published in Print: 2017-08-28

Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Volume 2017, Issue 247, Pages 49–70, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2017-0021.

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