Sociology of language

Amado Alarcón
Table of contents

Sociology is a discipline in dialogue with other social sciences to understand and analyze, under the rules of scientific method, societal organization and social change. Organization and change occur both under specific conditions of social inequalities and in institutional frameworks. Sociology originally emerged from 18th and 19th century philosophy around the change from traditional society to industrial and modern society. Following this tradition, today’s main sociological concerns relate to the complexities of differently defined and approached aspects of the postindustrial reorganization of society. In particular the effects of the Information Age on the social restructuration of capitalism (Castells 1996) in the late 20th century, or more recently, in the 21st century, of the so-called 4th industrial revolution and the Internet of Things (the interconnection through the internet among things and persons).

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price.


Alarcón, A. & J. M. Heyman
2013 “Bilingual call centers at the US-Mexico border: Location and linguistic markers of exploitability.” Language in Society 42(1): 1–21. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Alarcón, A., A. DiPaolo, J. M. Heyman & M. C. Morales
2014 “The occupational location of Spanish–English bilinguals in the New Information Economy: The health and criminal justice sector in the US borderlands with Mexico” In The Bilingual Advantage: Language, Literacy and the US Labor Market, ed. by R. M. Callahan & P. C. Gándara, 110–137. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Alarcón, A. & M. Joanpere
2019 “Introduction.” Special Issue on Language at Work, Revista Internacional De Organizaciones 23: 7–15. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Attewell, P.
1990 “What is skill?.” Work and occupations 17(4): 422–448. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Barton, D.
2001 “Directions for literacy research: Analysing language and social practices in a textually mediated world.” Language and education 15(2–3): 92–104. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Bernstein, B.
1973Class, Codes and Control. Vol. I. London: Paladin.Google Scholar
Block, D.
2019 “What on earth is ‘language commodification’”. In Sloganizations in language education discourse, ed. by B. Schmenk, S. Breidbach and L. Küster, L., 121–141. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
Boudon, R., M. Cherkaoui & J. C. Alexander
1997The Classical Tradition in Sociology: The European Tradition. London: SageGoogle Scholar
Bourdieu, P.
1991Language and Symbolic Power. Harvard: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Boutet, J.
2001 “La part langagière du travail: bilan et évolution.” Langage et Société, 4: 17–42. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Cameron, D.
2005 “Communication and commodification. In Language, communication and the economy”. In Language, Communication and the Economy (Vol. 16), ed. by G. Erreygers & G. Jacobs, 9–23. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Carr, E. G.
1985 “Behavioral approaches to language and communication.” In Communication Problems in Autism, ed. by E. Schopler, G. B. Mesibov, 37–57. Boston, MA; Springer. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Castells, M.
1996The Rise of the Network Society. Volume I: The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Chiswick, B. R. & P. W. Miller
2003 “The complementarity of language and other human capital: Immigrant earnings in Canada.” Economics of Education Review 22(5): 469–480. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Church, J. & I. King
1993 “Bilingualism and network externalities.” Canadian Journal of Economics 26(2): 337–345. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Cohen, D.
2009Three Lectures on Post-industrial Society. Massachusetts: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Coleman, J. S.
1990Foundations of Social Theory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Coulmas, F.
1992Language and Economy. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
2012Writing and Society: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
De Swaan, A.
1998 “A political sociology of the world language system (1): The dynamics of language spread.” Language Problems and Language Planning 22(1): 63–75. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Del Percio, A., M. C. Flubacher & A. Duchêne
2017 “Language and political economy.” In The Oxford Handbook of Language and Society, ed. by O. García, N. Flores & M. Spotti, 55–75. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Dhir, K. S.
2019 “Contribution of language to the creation of corporate social capital.” Revista Internacional de Organizaciones 23: 243–263. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Duchêne, A.
2009 “Marketing, management and performance: Multilingualism as commodity in a tourism call centre.” Language Policy 8(1): 27–50. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Duchêne, A. & M. Heller
2011Language in Late Capitalism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Dustmann, C.
1999 “Temporary migration, human capital, and language fluency of migrants.” Scandinavian Journal of Economics 101(2): 297–314. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Edwards, A. D.
1976Language in Culture and Class: The Sociology of Language and Education. London: Heinemann Educational Publishers.Google Scholar
Eisenstadt, S. N.
1964 “Social change, differentiation and evolution.” American Sociological Review 29(3): 375–386. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
European Council
2018Council Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning [COM (2018) 24final; 2018/C 189/01], 22 May 2018. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
Fishman, J. A.
1974 “Language modernization and planning in comparison with other types of national modernization and planning”. In Advances in Language Planning, ed. by J. Fishman, 79–102. The Hague: Mouton. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Fishman, J. A., C. A. Ferguson & J. D. Gupta
1968Language Problems of Developing Nations. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
Flubacher, M. C., A. Duchêne & R. Coray
2018Language Investment and Employability: The Uneven Distribution of Resources in the Public Employment Service. Cham: Springer / Palgrave Macmillan. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Friedman, A. L.
1977Industry and Labour: Class Struggle at Work and Monopoly Capitalism. London: Macmillan. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Gazzola, M., & B. A. Wickström
(Eds.) 2016The Economics of Language Policy. Massachusetts: MIT Press. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Gee, J. P.
1996Social Linguistics and Literacies: Ideology in Discourse. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
1999 “The future of the social turn: Social minds and the new capitalism.” Research on Language & Social Interaction 32(1–2): 61–68. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Gellner, E.
1983Nations and Nationalism. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Giddens, A.
2013Politics, Sociology and Social Theory: Encounters with Classical and Contemporary Social Thought. London: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
Grin, F., C. Sfreddo & F. Vaillancourt
2011The Economics of the Multilingual Workplace. London: Routledge. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Hall, C.
2018 “Language danger: Metal Gear Solid V and the weaponization of English.” International Journal of Transmedia Literacy 4: 69–89. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Heller, M.
2011Paths to Post-nationalism: A Critical Ethnography of Language and Identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Holborow, M.
2018 “Language, commodification and labour: the relevance of Marx.” Language Sciences 70: 59–67. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Kaster, R. A.
1988Guardians of Language: The Grammarian and Society in Late Antiquity. Berkeley: University of California Press. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Kelly-Holmes, H. and G. Mautner
(Eds.) 2010Language and the Market. London: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Laitin, D. D., C. Solé & S. N. Kalyvas
1994 “Language and the construction of states: The case of Catalonia in Spain.” Politics & Society 22 (1): 5–29. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Markowitsch, J., & C. Plaimauer
2009 “Descriptors for competence: Towards an international standard classification for skills and competences.” Journal of European Industrial Training 33(8/9): 817–837. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Martin, G. P., D. Kocman, T. Stephens, C. J. Peden & R. M. Pearse
2017 “Pathways to professionalism? Quality improvement, care pathways, and the interplay of standardization and clinical autonomy.” Sociology of Health & Illness 39(8): 1314–1329. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Myers-Scotton, C. M.
1982 “Language use in Kenya: An urban-rural comparison of the Luyia.” International Journal of the Sociology of Language 34: 121–136.Google Scholar
Myers-Scotton, C.
1993 “Elite closure as a powerful language strategy: The African case.” International Journal of the Sociology of Language 103: 149–164. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Olson, M.
2012 “The Logic of Collective Action [1965]”. Contemporary Sociological Theory 124.Google Scholar
Omoniyi, T. & J. A. Fishman
(eds.) 2006Explorations in the Sociology of Language and Religion. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Osha, S.
2005Kwasi Wiredu and Beyond: The Text, Writing and Thought in Africa. Dakra, Senegal: Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa.Google Scholar
Parkin, F.
1974 “Strategies of social closure in class formation”. In The Social Analysis of Class Structure, ed. by F. Parkin. London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
Parsons, T.
1966Societies: Evolutionary and Comparative Perspectives. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
Pascale, C. M.
2007Making Sense of Race, Class, and Gender: Commonsense, Power, and Privilege in the United States. New York, Philadelphia; Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
Pascale, C., J. Mohr & C. Kirchner
2009 “Creating an inclusive venue for sociological studies of language”, American Sociological Association, Culture Newsletter, Spring 2009.Google Scholar
Pascale, C. M.
2019 “The weaponization of language: Discourses of rising right-wing authoritarianism.” Current Sociology 67(6): 898–917. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Pasquinelli, M.
2014 “The labour of abstraction: Seven transitional theses on Marxism and accelerationismFillip Magazine 19:20–35Google Scholar
Pool, J.
1972 “National development and language diversity.” In Advances in the Sociology of Language, Volume 2: Selected Studies and Applications ed. by J. Fishman, 213–230. The Hague: Mouton. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Quintini, G.
2018 “Automation, skills use and training.” OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
Rafael, V. L.
2012 “Targeting translation counterinsurgency and the weaponization of language.” Social Text 113: 55–80. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Ritzer, G.
1995Expressing America: A Critique of the Global Credit Card Society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge PressGoogle Scholar
Romaine, S.
1994Language in Society: An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Schleicher, A., K. Zimmer, J. Evans and N. Clements
2009PISA 2009 Assessment Framework: Key Competencies in Reading, Mathematics and Science. OECD Publishing (NJ1).Google Scholar
Schnepf, S. V.
2007 “Immigrants’ educational disadvantage: An examination across ten countries and three surveys.” Journal of Population Economics 20(3): 527–545. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Simmel, G.
1986Sociología, Estudios sobre las formas de socialización. Madrid: Alianza.Google Scholar
Smith, A.
1991 [1776]The Wealth of Nations. London: Everyman’s Library.Google Scholar
Solé, C.
1976Modernización: Un análisis sociológico. (Coleccion Homo Sociologicus) Barcelona: Península.Google Scholar
1987 “Sociedades avanzadas: Transfromaciones básicas y nuevas tecnologías.”: Revista de Sociología 28: 77–90.Google Scholar
Soler-Gallart, M.
2017Achieving Social Impact: Sociology in the Public Sphere. New York: Springer. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Steinberg, M. W.
1999 “The talk and back talk of collective action: A dialogic analysis of repertoires of discourse among nineteenth-century English cotton spinners.” American Journal of Sociology 105(3): 736–780. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Street, B.
2003 “What’s “new” in New Literacy Studies? Critical approaches to literacy in theory and practice.” Current Issues in Comparative Education 5 (2): 77–91.Google Scholar
Tsai, S. L.
2010 “Language skills and status attainment in Taiwan.” Journal of Language, Identity, and Education 9(4): 229–249. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Urciuoli, B.
2008 “Skills and selves in the new workplace.” American Ethnologist 35(2): 211–228. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Urciuoli, B., & LaDousa, C.
2013 “Language management/labor.” Annual Review of Anthropology 42: 175–190. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Vidal, A. & A. Alarcón
2021Language and Occupations in the Digital Age. Tarragona: Publicacions URV.Google Scholar
Weber, M.
1993El problema de la irracionalidad en las ciencias sociales. Madrid: Tecnos.Google Scholar
Williams, G.
2014French Discourse Analysis: The Method of Post-structuralism. London: Routledge. DOI logoGoogle Scholar
Woodcock, J.
2017Working the Phones: Control and Resistance in Call Centres. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
Woydack, J. & B. Rampton
2016 “Text trajectories in a multilingual call centre: The linguistic ethnography of a calling script.” Language in Society 45(5): 709–732. DOI logoGoogle Scholar