Spray-canned discourses

As linguistic beings, people occupy space producing language that endows it with a distinctive character (what has been variously –though often mistakenly¬– called “identity”). Public and commercial signage, mottos, slogans, graffiti, and advertised commodities are typical ingredients of the linguistic landscape (LL). Drawing on recent research in sociolinguistics and anthropology, this project focuses on the areas of Gazi/Kerameikos and Stadiou Street, in central Athens, and the Dorćol area of Stari Grad, in Belgrade, with the aim of investigating the role of language in the symbolic/ideological construction of space. Our goal is to show that LLs are formed, among other things, by discourses currently circulating in (and about) certain spaces –spaces turned into (embodied, inscribed, and often, contested) places via human agency and the subjectivity which is its defining characteristic. As people occupy space, aspects of the discourses they produce find their way on city walls in the form of written messages and eventually come to stand in an indexical relation to the places in which they were created and the place which they had an active role in constructing at a certain historical moment. The innovative aspects of this project is a) that it sets out to investigate aspects of the LL in urban spaces which are not generally thought of as multilingual and b) that is does so with a focus on citizenship and its intricate interplay with dominant discourses on ethnicity and nationhood. I.e., this project envisages a dialogue between the latest developments in sociolinguistic LL research and anthropological work on citizenship in the Balkans.

Principal Investigators
Voß, Christian Prof. Dr. (Details) (South Slavic Languages and Cultures)

Duration of Project
Start date: 05/2015
End date: 04/2016

Last updated on 2020-22-03 at 23:09