Publication details [#59739]

Ben-Rafael, Eliezer and Miriam Ben-Rafael. 2015. Linguistic landscapes in an era of multiple globalizations. Linguistic Landscape 1,2 (1) : 19–37.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This paper focuses on linguistic landscapes in present-day urban settings. These spaces consist of numberless establishments riddled with versatile texts or ‘LL items’. They are foci of both the development of globalization that conquers the world through commercial globe-encompassing networks, and of massive migrations from underprivileged countries to privileged ones. In each such city, one distinguishes major ‘downtowns’ and secondary ones in neighbourhoods, whose variety reflects a complex composition. LL investigations help understand how far and in what ways dissonant cleavages divide the public space. Chaos is the rule in this urban landscape, but where it illustrates some permanence and recurrence, it becomes familiar and the feeling of disorder may leave room for a notion of gestalt. Turning from here to the empirical investigation of LLs in Brussels, Berlin, and Tel-Aviv, the paper asks, as far as LLs can say: (1) if globalization causes the weakening of allegiances to all-societal symbols in favour of supra-national ones; (2) if migratory movements toward megapolises express themselves in the creation of segregated LLs or, on the contrary, indicate some ‘melting’ tendencies of the new populations into society’s mainstream; and (3) to what extent these questions elicit the same answers in different places or contribute to different configurations.