In this presentation I discuss the work of a group of education scholars, including myself, who are trained in applied linguistics and in language socialization research (which is a subfield of linguistic anthropology). The core of these scholars’ analytical approach includes extensive linguistic/discursive analyses of video and audio recordings of face-to-face interactions (and in some work, online) in order to examine how those engaged in learning activity summon the assistance of others or engage semiotic means to mark their involvement with others in concerted social activity. The work addresses adults’ and children’s agentive and innovative interactions as they interface with the bureaucracies of education and other social institutions. Drawing from anthropology and language studies these scholars’ research engages a triple methodological axis:
(1) Long-term/Longitudinal ethnographic approaches as central to capturing the experience of socialization across activities and sites across multiple timescales.
(2) Multi-context/Multi-sited approaches afford a comparative lens to observe agency and linguistic and cultural development across sites of activity, including diasporas (migration and transnationalism) but also of more locally situated and racialized contexts of interaction.
(3) Close sociolinguistic/discourse analysis of educational and learning practices, including the ways in which a myriad of signs, from accent to posture to institutional labels to material arrangement of learning environments, come together in semiotic ensembles in everyday communicative encounters and institutional discourses, and both within and across events.
The transdisciplinarity in these scholars’ work offers a richly-layered, multi-scalar, and empirically-grounded view of some of the same issues of concern to applied linguists, linguistic anthropologists and educators. There are, however, potential tensions that can arise when the goals and demands of academic departments put value on single focus disciplinary approaches. This presentation discusses some of these potential situations.
Baquedano-López, P., García Sanchez, I., Howard, K., Moore, L. &Sterponi, L. (2013). Exploring the intersection of Language Socialization Research and the Anthropology of Education. Paper presented at Columbia University’s Conference on the Future of the Anthropology of Education at Schools of Education (October 19).
Mangual Figueroa, A., and Baquedano-López, P. (in press). Language Socialization and Schooling. In N. Hornberger and P. Duff (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Language and Education, 3nd Edition. Volume 8: Language Socialization. Springer/Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Schieffelin, B. B., & Ochs, E. (1986). Language socialization. Annual Review of Anthropology, 15: 163-191.