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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
Volume 21
Issue 1
Pages 67-68
ISSN 1466-4208
Publication year 2020
Published at School of Public Administration
Department of Swedish
Pages 67-68
Language en
Keywords Language planning policy, higher education institutions, local policy making, language ideology, exclusion, multilingualism, internationalization, academic careers
Subject categories Political Science, Public Administration Studies, Swedish language, Scandinavian languages, Specific Languages


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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