Introduction: Language and globalization in South and Central Asian spaces

Brook Bolander 1 , 2  and Till Mostowlansky 1
  • 1 The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 2 Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Brook Bolander
  • Corresponding author
  • The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), University of Freiburg, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
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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.

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IJSL is dedicated to the development of the sociology of language as a truly international and interdisciplinary field in which various approaches - theoretical and empirical - supplement and complement each other, contributing thereby to the growth of language-related knowledge, applications, values and sensitivities. The journal features topically-focused issues with individual contributions on small languages and small language communities.