Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Join or Create a Guest Account
2017 Conference - Forced return: re-experiencing linguistic estrangement and ostracism
Share |

Political debates on asylum increasingly call for 'easy solutions' such as temporary asylum or forced return. From a psychosocial perspective involuntary or forced return is considered in many cases a cause for severe traumatizing or re-traumatizing, especially when it is experienced by children or adolescents who have lived an important part of their socialization in the country of exile.

The topic of forced return is still marginal in sociolinguistic research although language plays a key role not only in all forms of displacement but also, in a particular way, in processes of expulsion and remigration. Return cannot simply be framed as coming 'back home' to a known social and linguistic environment but rather as a process that involves experiences of linguistic estrangement and ostracism.

This presentation focuses on questions of language and forced return drawing on autoethnographic texts written by Viennese students originating from Bosnia and Herzegovina. In these writings they reflect on their complex language biographies and life trajectories that first led them as refugees from the war in the territory of the former Yugoslavia to European countries in the German speaking area and then as adolescents, because of forced return programs, back to Bosnia.

Using the concepts of the lived experience of language (Spracherleben) and of the linguistic repertoire as a space of potentialities and constraints I will explore the difficulties of being positioned and of positioning oneself as a returnee who arrives with a linguistic repertoire that has itself changed during exile and who finds him- or herself back in a space that has altered in the meantime and in which he/she encounters unexpected linguistic practices and ideologies.

Membership Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal