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Language policy as ‘frozen’ ideology: exploring the administrative function in Swedish higher education

Journal article
Authors Susanna Karlsson
Tom Karlsson
Published in Current Issues in Language Planning
ISSN 1466-4208
Publication year 2019
Published at School of Public Administration
Department of Swedish
Language en
Keywords Language planning policy, higher education institutions, local policy making, language ideology, exclusion, multilingualism, internationalization, academic careers
Subject categories Languages and Literature, Specific Languages, Scandinavian languages, Swedish language, Public Administration Studies, Political Science

Abstract

This article examines Language Policy documents within higher education institutions in Sweden. Its main focus is on how national language policies and policies for internationalization of the higher education are reinterpreted as local language policy. The analysis of ideologies surrounding the prescribed language(s) in meetings of decision making bodies in fifteen local Language Policy documents reveals how a monolingual national language policy is negotiated to accommodate an internationalized multilingual workplace. When the multilingual context of the internationalized university intrudes on the nationally oriented context of public administration, which favors Swedish as a default language, there are two solutions to be found in the language policy documents. (1) a temporary or permanent shift towards an internationally oriented monolingual context by allowing the use of another language, favoring English, or (2) a temporary or permanent shift towards parallel language-informed practices. Restrictive measures are found to construct situations where participation is made possible for non-regular non-Swedish-speaking members, while permissive measures provide inclusion for regular non-Swedish-speaking members, too.

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