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. 152–170
Place-making, mobility and sense of belonging in European cities
This chapter deals with urban multilingualism from a geographical perspective considering the trade-off between mobility, inclusion, and place-making. Place-making in multilingual cities is influenced by the linguistic diversity among their inhabitants, and the sense of place and sense of belonging fostered at the level of the city as a whole and/or in specific neighbourhoods and public spaces shape the individual’s perceptions of linguistic diversity and multilingualism. The chapter introduces key geographical concepts and approaches before examining the new forms of linguistic diversity in European cities fostered by globalisation, Europeanisation, transnational migration and digitalisation. It presents diverse geographical approaches and methodologies relevant to the study of multilingualism and place-making and focuses on two perspectives. First a humanistic geography of urban multilingualism foregrounds the perceptions and representations of languages in relation to a sense of place and a sense of belonging. One empirical study examines linguistic practices and ideologies in Madrid and Amsterdam among residents with a French or German background, another focused on walks through the linguistic landscape and soundscape of the inner-city of Amsterdam. Second a political geography of urban multilingualism explores local policies and city networks regarding the management of linguistic diversity and the trade-off between mobility and inclusion. It examines in turn local policies focusing on mobility and migration, on social cohesion and on multilingualism. Based on both types of geographical research the chapter underlines the importance of raising awareness of the specificity of the local diversity of linguistic trajectories and repertoires and of the coordination between policies articulated and implemented at different scale levels (European, national, local).