Engaging Superdiversity: Recombining Spaces, Times and Language Practices

Edited by: Karel Arnaut, Martha Sif Karrebæk, Massimiliano Spotti, Jan Blommaert

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This book is the fruition of five years' work in exploring the idea of superdiversity. The editors argue that sociolinguistic superdiversity could be a source of inspiration to a wide range of post-structuralist, post-colonial and neo-Marxist interdisciplinary research into the potential and the limits of human cultural creativity and societal renewal under conditions of increasing and complexifying global connectivity. Through case studies of language practices in spaces understood as inherently translocal and multi-layered (classrooms and schools, youth spaces, mercantile spaces and nation-states), this book explores the relevance of superdiversity for the social and human sciences and positions it as a research perspective in sociolinguistics and beyond.

Challenging the superdiversity sceptic, this broad and compelling collection of chapters carefully engages with superdiversity across time and space, from schools to mercantile spaces, from Indonesia to Denmark, showing the emergence of, as well as constraints upon, new convergences, new cultural practices, and new socialities.

Alastair Pennycook, University of Technology Sydney, Australia

The volume represents a bold attempt to establish superdiversity as a key concept in post-variationist sociolinguistics. Based on a range of fascinating case studies – including African fortune-tellers in Paris, language workers in London call centres, discourses of food and integration in Danish schools, and ethnolinguistic stylizations in Indonesian soap operas – the chapters showcase an ethnographically oriented sociolinguistics that centres on heterogeneity, unexpectedness, complexity and reflexivity.

Jannis Androutsopoulos, Universität Hamburg, Germany

This pioneering volume extends earlier use of the concept of superdiversity from describing linguistic and socio-demographic complexity occurring globally since about 1990 to a focus on specific spatial sites and post-panoptic tension between semiotic dispersal and recombination. It admirably succeeds in its aim of reaching out to a wider social science and humanities audience.

David Parkin, University of Oxford, UK

Karel Arnaut is Associate Professor and Research Coordinator at the Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities Research Centre (IMMRC), Leuven University, Belgium.

Martha Sif Karrebæk is Associate Professor in the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Massimiliano Spotti is Assistant Professor in the Department of Culture Studies and Deputy Director of Babylon, Center for the Study of Superdiversity at Tilburg University, the Netherlands.

Jan Blommaert is Professor in the Department of Culture Studies and Director of Babylon, Center for the Study of Superdiversity at Tilburg University, the Netherlands.


1. Karel Arnaut, Martha Sif Karrebæk and Massimiliano Spotti: Engaging Superdiversity: The Poiesis-Infrastructure Nexus and Language Practices in Combinatorial Spaces
2. Piia Varis: Superdiverse Times and Places: Media, Mobility, Conjunctures and Structures of Feeling
3. Jan Blommaert: Chronotopes, Scales and Complexity in the Study of Language in Society
Classrooms and Schools
4. Robert Moore: 'Taking Up Speech' In an Endangered Language: Bilingual Discourse in A Heritage Language Classroom
5. Martha Sif Karrebæk: Rye Bread For Lunch, Lasagne for Breakfast: Enregisterment, Classrooms, and National Food Norms in Superdiversity
Youth, etc.
6. Janus Spindler Møller: 'You Black Black': Polycentric Norms for the Use of Terms Associated With Ethnicity
7. Lian Malai Madsen: Social Status Relations and Enregisterment: Integrated Speech in Copenhagen
8. Andreas Stæhr: Languaging and Normativity on Facebook
Mercantile Spaces
9. Cécile Vigouroux: Magic Marketing: Performing Grassroots Literacy
10. Johanna Woydack: Superdiversity and a London Multilingual Call Centre
11. Zane Goebel: Superdiversity From Within: The Case of Ethnicity in Indonesia
12. Lu Jiqun Luke: 'Designer Immigrant' Students in Singapore: Challenges for Linguistic Human Rights in a Globalising World
13. Kamran Khan: Citizenship, Securitization and Suspicion in UK ESOL Policy

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