Department of Linguistics
King’s College London,
Ben was the founding Director of the Centre for Language Discourse & Communication, directed the King’s Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Centre from 2011-14, and was founding Convener of the Linguistic Ethnography Forum (2001-09). He has been on the editorial board of more than a dozen international journals (including Journal of Sociolinguistics, Language in Society, Applied Linguistics, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology and Ethnography), and edits Working Papers in Urban Language & Literacies. Ben has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Copenhagen, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and the Royal Anthropological Institute. Ben’s work involves ethnographic and interactional discourse analysis, cross-referring to work in anthropology, sociology, cultural and security studies. His publications focus on language in relation to urban multilingualism, youth, popular culture, ethnicities, class, (in)securitisation, education, second language learning, and research methodology.
Title: Changing Sociolinguistic Concerns, Linguistic Ethnography, and North/South Research Relations?
Description: Many influential theories and concepts in applied and sociolinguistics – like ‘intercultural communication’ or ‘language standardisation’ – are inevitably limited by the conditions prevailing inside the Western nation-states where they emerged. But in this talk, I will focus on Linguistic Ethnography and Interactional Sociolinguistics as modes of enquiry, and I will ask whether, how far and in what ways they avoid “scientific colonialism” (Hymes 1969:49,55), along with the manner and extent to which they are “forms of scientific knowledge… compatible with a democratic way of life, least likely to produce a world in which experts control knowledge at the expense of those who are studied” (1980:105,99).