Heriot Watt University

Multiculturalism in the Public Sphere

This research area focuses on multilingual, multicultural communicative practices of citizens and non-citizens in the public sphere. The emergence of new publics, new media, new platforms of communication, as well as the recognition and inclusion of multiple languages and cultures in contemporary public spheres calls for renewed theoretical frameworks in public sphere communicative practices. Specific issues include:

  • How is multiculturalism affecting the structure and role of public spheres as networks of citizens that monitor and feed the institutionalised political system with ideas and public opinions (Habermas 1996; 2001)?
  • How are power differentials manifested and managed in multilingual/multicultural public spheres?
  • How are non-native speakers of the dominant language(s) affected?
  • What is the role of language-defined public spheres in promoting minority or diasporic languages?
  • How is political participation and public opinion formation affected?

 

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