Theme 2015

Linguistic and cultural diversity have become the hallmarks of late modern societies. Globalization has increased population flows in unprecedented ways so that urban centers have been transformed into sites of encounter for groups and communities that are highly diverse in terms of origins, cultural practices and languages.

Technological developments and global connectedness have also contributed to spread diversity as they intensify contact and exchange between peoples who often are spatially removed and culturally different from each other. New technologies allow for massive access to globalized phenomena, thus exposing people to a great variety of linguistic and cultural models. The proliferation of new media creates new communicative genres and hybrid semiotic practices. Thus, we live in a world in which (physical or virtual) contact and interaction between different peoples, languages, cultural models, media and practices are the norm.

These changes and developments have deeply affected the ways people use language and communicate in all contexts of life, thus creating the need for a rethinking of the traditional concepts and methodologies used in sociocultural linguistics.

Recent work in the field has started to give substance to this reflection problematizing the conception of languages as well-bound, separate codes, complicating traditional associations between languages and social identities, emphasizing the connectedness of communicative events and practices at different scales and the embedding of languages within new physical landscapes and mediated practices. The objective of GURT 2015 is to foster and advance this reflection on the ways in which linguistic and communicative practices are affected by and contribute to diversity and on the theoretical-methodological challenges that accounting for such phenomena poses to sociocultural linguistics.