The role of multilingualism in the construction of social identity in a high social class family

A sociolinguistic ethnographic study

Authors

  • Marie-Anne Mansfield University of Southampton

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/sols.22377

Keywords:

Ethnography, Neoliberalism, Cosmopolitanism, Family, Identity, FLP (family language planning), Russian / British family

Abstract

This article explores the language ideologies and language practices of a multilingual, high socioeconomic status family, resident in the United Kingdom, from a critical sociolinguistic perspective (Heller, Pietikäinen and Pujolar, 2018). Drawn from a larger, longitudinal, multi-sited ethnographic study, it focuses on a predominantly Russian/British family of high socioeconomic status. The study concentrates on their daily rituals. Socialization moments are revealed, and the mechanisms and underpinning ideologies are analysed, drawing upon the approach of Goffman (1956). It explores how their language ideologies and practices may be deemed constitutive of a neoliberal self (Urciuoli, 2008), and how they create and present a cosmopolitan class identity. It makes a methodological contribution by demonstrating how ethnographic participant observation is valuable in FLP research. Such an approach enables an understanding of which ideologies are actually enacted through which practices in the face of acceptance, resistance or conflicting ideologies from other family members, and the other constraints of daily life.

Author Biography

Marie-Anne Mansfield, University of Southampton

Marie-Anne Mansfield has recently completed her doctoral research at the University of Southampton, United Kingdom. Her research focusses upon the role of semiosis in families, with particular attention to multilingualism, multi-modality, and considerations of temporality. Taking an ethnographic stance, she explores language as praxis and its role in the creation of habitus and identity.

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Published

2022-11-22

How to Cite

Mansfield, M.-A. (2022). The role of multilingualism in the construction of social identity in a high social class family: A sociolinguistic ethnographic study. Sociolinguistic Studies, 16(2-3), 203–222. https://doi.org/10.1558/sols.22377