Chapter published in:Identity Struggles: Evidence from workplaces around the world
Edited by Dorien Van De Mieroop and Stephanie Schnurr
[Discourse Approaches to Politics, Society and Culture 69] 2017
► pp. 335–352
“I speak French=eh”
Multilingualism and professional identity struggles in Luxembourg
This chapter discusses the relationship between multilingual practices and the construction and challenging of professional identities at work. Whereas research into workplace discourses has intensely studied the ways in which staff members construct, negotiate and challenge each other’s professional and other identities at work, less work has so far been conducted on the specific impact of a multilingual workplace on these processes. This seems surprising, given that multilingual workplaces are the norm rather than the exception in today’s globalised world, and given that multilingualism in the workplace is a prominent area of research in workplace discourse. Moreover, the relationship between multilingualism and identity has been identified as one of the major issues in other areas of sociolinguistics. Using selected interactions from a supermarket and an IT company situated in Luxembourg, this chapter seeks to address this research desideratum by analysing (a) how staff members use their multilingual resources in their attempts to construct a coherent professional identity, (b) draw on their multilingual repertoires to challenge established power relations in the workplace, and (c) challenge others’ legitimate professional identities for using the ‘wrong’ language.
Keywords: multilingualism, workplace discourse, identity, challenge, Luxembourg
Published online: 26 April 2017
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