Social inclusion and metrolingual practices

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Journal Article
International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 2011, 14 (4), pp. 413 - 426
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In this paper, we explore the implications of metrolingual language practices for how we understand social inclusion. A vision of social inclusion that includes bi- and multilingual capacities may comprise an appreciation of a diversity of languages other than English, and the skills and capabilities of multilingual language users, yet it is all too often premised on an understanding of language use that cannot escape its origins in statist understandings of language ideologieswhere a particular language is associated with a particular cultural, ethnic or geographical configuration. Recent studies show the creative ways in which language users cross linguistic and cultural boundaries to form new linguistic and cultural possibilities. In this paper, we therefore ask how we can open up an understanding of social inclusion to include not only the recognition of bilingual capacity but also the fluidity and flux of the metrolingual workplace where creative language use beyond static linguistic boundaries are present. Such a move, however, raises important questions for what is included and excluded in any model of social inclusion since it renders the boundaries of difference more fluid than in other approaches to language diversity.We conclude by suggesting to the extent that social inclusion has become the 'new multiculturalism', it can, if broadly conceived and allied to metrolingualism, present a new way forward in understanding language and social disadvantage. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.
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