The weaponisation of language: English proficiency, citizenship and the politics of belonging in Australia

dc.contributor.author Burke, Rachel
dc.contributor.author Thapliyal, Nisha
dc.contributor.author Baker, Sally
dc.contributor.department Iowa State University Digital Repository
dc.date 2018-08-13T16:26:01.000
dc.date.accessioned 2020-06-30T05:45:06Z
dc.date.available 2020-06-30T05:45:06Z
dc.date.embargo 2017-09-06
dc.date.issued 2018-03-09
dc.description.abstract <p>Calls for greater protection of national boundaries – both physical and ideological – and the politicising of immigration and citizenship are increasingly characteristic of the global geo-political landscape. Several signatory countries to the UNHCR refugee convention have sought to legislate higher levels of language proficiency for citizenship eligibility. Most recently, this has been attempted in Australia, reigniting controversy about the use of language testing to assess a potential citizen’s ‘worthiness’. In this paper, we identify contested conceptions of belonging and citizenship, manifested in mediatised debates around language proficiency and citizenship which emerged following the announcement of proposed changes to Australian citizenship rules. We use Graff’s (1981) concept of the ‘Literacy Myth’ to analyze associations between language proficiency and ‘morality’ evident in Australian media articles, to explore the underpinning discourses of these proposals, and to probe the relationship between citizenship, belonging and language. We argue that these myths work discursively to frame language proficiency as a proxy measure of the morality of prospective citizens and their willingness to ‘integrate’ or ‘assimilate’ into resettlement contexts. Relatedly, these myths can be deployed to justify the denial of the possibility of belonging to those who do not possess the linguistic capital privileged by policy and media elites.</p>
dc.identifier archive/lib.dr.iastate.edu/jctp/vol7/iss1/7/
dc.identifier.articleid 1169
dc.identifier.contextkey 10713539
dc.identifier.doi https://doi.org/10.31274/jctp-180810-107
dc.identifier.s3bucket isulib-bepress-aws-west
dc.identifier.submissionpath jctp/vol7/iss1/7
dc.identifier.uri https://dr.lib.iastate.edu/handle/20.500.12876/52447
dc.source.bitstream archive/lib.dr.iastate.edu/jctp/vol7/iss1/7/V7_I1_Who_Belongs_2.pdf|||Mon Apr 02 18:25:26 UTC 2018
dc.source.bitstream archive/lib.dr.iastate.edu/jctp/vol7/iss1/7/V7_I1_weaponisation.pdf|||Fri Mar 09 20:37:26 UTC 2018
dc.source.bitstream archive/lib.dr.iastate.edu/jctp/vol7/iss1/7/V7_I1_weaponisation_v2.pdf|||Sat Jan 15 01:37:14 UTC 2022
dc.source.bitstream archive/lib.dr.iastate.edu/jctp/vol7/iss1/7/Weaponising_Language_DEC_21_RB_NT_SB_FINAL.docx|||Sat Jan 15 01:37:14 UTC 2022
dc.subject.disciplines Arts and Humanities
dc.subject.disciplines Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies
dc.subject.keywords citizenship; language proficiency; ‘worthy citizens’; belonging; Australia
dc.title The weaponisation of language: English proficiency, citizenship and the politics of belonging in Australia
dc.type article
dc.type.genre article
dspace.entity.type Publication
relation.isJournalIssueOfPublication 62fc4ac3-74d6-4ad1-9303-2b07d932dc90
relation.isOrgUnitOfPublication d2bcee6c-7cba-4fa7-bd11-543354ce7b1b
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