Language For Integration, Language As Discipline? A Foucaultian Perspective on L2 Learning in the Context of Asylum

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Serval ID
serval:BIB_758B2BD2DD1A
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Institution
Title
Language For Integration, Language As Discipline? A Foucaultian Perspective on L2 Learning in the Context of Asylum
Journal
Diacrítica
Author(s)
Zeiter Anne-Christel
Publication state
Published
Issued date
05/2019
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
31
Number
3
Pages
185-209
Language
english
Abstract
Between 2014 and 2016, like in other European countries, a substantial increase of asylum requests took place in Switzerland, which forced the professionals and politicians involved in this context to take urgent action. This crisis produced an effect of magnifying glass on power issues linked to language learning, or in other words on language learning as Foucaultian discipline. In this article, I will show that the common link socially constructed between “language learning” and “integration” allows the social actors encountered by asylum seekers to make them learn French as soon as possible for preparation for life in their new country. In doing so, the society sustainably disciplines and controls them: asylum seekers, once they reach the status of legitimate refugees, are namely concentrated in low-skilled jobs, officially because they lack the necessary language skills for finding a job corresponding to their actual qualifications and desires. Most of them thus live on welfare, a situation that gives arguments to strengthen the current immigration policy and, at the same time, lock them in a refugee identity, that is, of people indebted to a society where they have no other role to play. Meanwhile, this discipline that the State and the host society impose to asylum seekers articulates with social representations of learning the language of the host country, and with the general equivalence that asylum seekers make themselves between learning the host language and integrating the host society. Asylum seekers often conceive of L2 learning as a discipline they have to exercise, as they appreciate the language level they should reach to get “normalized” in an apparent linguistically homogeneous society, even if they know that it will never be enough to level social inequalities.
Keywords
Sociolinguistics, L2 learning, asylum, migration, power
Open Access
Yes
Create date
02/05/2018 14:00
Last modification date
20/08/2019 15:32
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