The Institutional Context of ‘Linguistic Injustice’: Norwegian Social Scientists and Situated Multilingualism

Journal article

Nygaard, Lynn P. (2019) The Institutional Context of ‘Linguistic Injustice’: Norwegian Social Scientists and Situated Multilingualism, Publications 7 (10): 1–13.

Read the article here (Open Access)

The debate about ‘linguistic injustice’ centers on whether or not English as an additional language (EAL) writers face challenges in writing academically that are qualitatively different from those of novice academic writers irrespective of language background. This study aims to add nuance to this debate by looking at range of writers (from novice to expert) within an interdisciplinary social science research institute in Norway in order to investigate the mediating role of the institutional context. Using an ethnographic approach with an academic literacies perspective, it examines the challenges these writers face and discusses them in light of tensions between identity and institutional environment. It argues that the high degree of immersion in English causes ‘situated multilingualism’, where their ability to write about their topic in English surpasses their ability to write about it in Norwegian. Nonetheless, even the expert writers, particularly those in disciplines that value a unique authorial voice, demonstrated insecurity and lack of ownership to their writing in English. Moreover, the pressure to also sometimes write in Norwegian represented an additional site of negotiation not faced by their non-Norwegian counterparts. This suggests that the challenges EAL writers face are not determined by their language background alone, but also by their institutional environment—including the pressure to publish ‘internationally’, the amount of writing expected, and their immersion in English.

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