Chapter in:Advances in Interdisciplinary Language Policy
Edited by François Grin, László Marácz and Nike K. Pokorn
[Studies in World Language Problems 9] 2022
► pp. 112–128
Language and inclusion in a multilingual environment
A bottom-up approach
Since the turn of the century, two important social developments have had a considerable impact on daily life in most western European cities. The first is increasing mobility in a globalised world that transcends the traditional concept of migration and has even led to a paradigm shift in sociological thinking (‘new’ mobilities paradigm). A second related development is at the technological level, where communication patterns have changed significantly and prompted people to expand their networks beyond the local level. Both evolutions are most prominent in cities in which a growing number of citizens engage in different networks and traditional forms of social solidarity are under pressure. In this context, language plays a key role.In this article, based on the case of Brussels, we investigate the dynamics behind the process of social inclusion in a mobile environment and the role that languages play in this. We set out from the Brussels pacification model and the analysis of the impact of mobility on the local population. Based on the shift in language use and citizens’ attitude towards multilingualism and living in a multicultural environment, we seek a breeding ground for inclusive policies through a bottom-up approach. The conclusions focus on its impact on Brussels and its potential significance for other cities.