Language Investment in the Trajectories of Mobile, Multilingual Humanitarian Workers

Détails

ID Serval
serval:BIB_D5D5C739CADA
Type
Article: article d'un périodique ou d'un magazine.
Collection
Publications
Titre
Language Investment in the Trajectories of Mobile, Multilingual Humanitarian Workers
Périodique
International Journal of Multilingualism
Auteur(s)
Garrido Maria Rosa
Statut éditorial
Publié
Date de publication
2020
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
17
Numéro
1
Pages
62-79
Langue
anglais
Résumé
This article analyzes the discursive construction of mobile, multilingual humanitarian workers at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from a critical sociolinguistic perspective. In the light of fluctuating linguistic requirements and needs, I focus on the trajectories of ICRC delegates as a window onto the different values attributed to language resources and investments before and during humanitarian work. The data analyzed include interviews with three (former) delegates complemented by institutional documents. The ICRC requirement for major languages including English and French goes hand in hand with recent personality profiling in relation to ‘international experience’ (understood as geographical mobility), which is closely connected to cosmopolitan discourses of openness to other cultures and languages. The three delegates mobilize the trope of ‘interest’ in other cultures and languages anchored in their transnational families. Simultaneously, they have expanded their linguistic repertoires during their missions, often ‘bits and pieces’ of local languages, to respond to unplanned linguistic needs in the field and to manage interpreters in ways that reinforce power imbalances. I argue that linguistic investment in non-strategic languages like Kurdish during humanitarian missions seldom translates into economic capital, but it is converted into symbolic capital indexing their professional mobility and flexible, entrepreneurial speakerhood.
Mots-clé
international organizations, mobile workers, humanitarianism, linguistic investment, sociolinguistic trajectories, multilingualism
Création de la notice
29/06/2019 10:30
Dernière modification de la notice
15/04/2021 8:30
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