Language Awareness in Multilingual and Multicultural Organizations

Authored by: Eva Codó

The Routledge Handbook of Language Awareness

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138937048
eBook ISBN: 9781315676494
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315676494.ch32

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Abstract

Cultural and linguistic heterogeneity is the defining trait of contemporary organizations. The sharpening of worldwide inequalities together with the development of affordable means of transportation and the influence of media-saturated transnational imaginations (Appadurai, 1996) have spurred mobility across regional and continental borders. Migration rates have increased over the last decades, but now, unlike previously, movements are not just from the global South to the global North but also within the global South (Han, 2013). Labour migration does, however, not exhaust contemporary forms of mobility. Nor are all forms of mobility for reasons of work related to the improvement of workers’ socioeconomic circumstances. In fact, individuals move for a variety of reasons beyond or in addition to labour (e.g. love, leisure, education, religious persecution, global warming, etc.). This results in superdiverse urban centres (Vertovec, 2006), where disparate kinds of people coming from various socioeconomic, religious and geographical backgrounds, with different legal statuses, and possessing distinct linguistic, cultural and educational capitals come to live together and interact on a daily basis. In this context of hyper-heterogeneity, organizations – whether local businesses, universities, non-profit agencies or transnational corporations – have become more global than ever. Complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity define the working environments of the 21st century (Mughan and O’Shea, 2010).

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