practices of multilinguality vs. national language-policies
The world has become Babel more than ever before. Thanks to the modern means of communication, its multilinguality is now a common fact of everyday life. To speak and understand in this world means nothing other than to constantly translate, linguistically as much as culturally. And yet our intellectual initiation, the institutional forms of our education and cultural production are still based on the monolingual ideology that adheres to the old romantic idea that every language has a unique spirit of its own. It is time for a change, which can only start from scratch, that is, from "wild" practices of multilinguality both on the level of trans-national intellectual and cultural production as much as on the level of immigrant workers, sans papiers and refugees of all sorts.
The official scripting of the Northern Irish conflict in recent years has worked to define and accentuate ethnic and linguistic difference, suggesting that only officially mediated processes of cultural translation can bridge those ‘inherent communal divides’. This produces not only absolute, reified identities, but also works against initiatives that seek to address questions of history, power and democracy. Thus, the peace process has largely continued the management of conflict without addressing the aporia of the border.
Quality vs. Mobilization
There is a recurring debate within and outside Babels, the international network that provides volunteer interpretation in the Social Forums: is Babels a service provider whose major concern should be quality in interpretation or a political actor that helps mobilize people through its choices and practices? The answer is relevant to the nature of the Social Forums.
or Babel in the Île-de-France
There is a linguistic code peculiar to the housing estates of the French banlieue. Within this code, which defies the long-established authority of the written language, oral exercises displaying a high degree of verbal artistry are stimulating the rediscovery of oral culture. People engage in “digs”, “verbal jousting” and “slamming”, word games that trace elegant and rugged metaphorical arabesques whose fury is akin to the fury expressed in graffiti, rap or even riots. With uncompromising frankness and biting wit, language works on the misunderstandings that arise from ordinary encounters and life in the suburban housing estates.
Reflections on the "Signpost Dispute" and Experiences with a Film
The initially apparently trivial story – the conflict over bilingual signposts in southern Carinthia – holds an abundance of chasms at a closer look, which inevitably link this story with larger historical and political contexts.
On language, nationalism, federalism and postcolonialism in Belgium
On language, nationalism, federalism and postcolonialism in Belgium: the recovery of anti-colonialist discursive material devices in behalf of the federal (re)formation of the state.