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Title: Belonging in mother tongues
Author: Mourgue d'Algue, Amélie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 217X
Awarding Body: Royal College of Art
Current Institution: Royal College of Art
Date of Award: 2018
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What does it mean to belong? On the one hand, belonging is the dynamic, internal, intimate, individual experience of relating to others and being part of a ‘we’ that remains undetermined. On the other hand, belonging is the result of an external act of attribution, a fixed assignation of identity. Both are essentially carried in and through language. I propose that belonging is made possible by the act of coming to speaking and the experience of being heard. I explore this possibility through a social art practice that works with the poetic, emotive, reflexive and phatic function of the word, especially when spoken, and of the photographic image, still or moving. My research outputs, often the results of encounters and collaborations taking place in specific places, function as examples of what it means to belong. Throughout this research project, I draw on the experience of living in between one’s mother tongue and other languages in order to demonstrate how immersing oneself in a language different from the language one grew up in radically reconfigures a subject’s identity and sense of belonging. The Bulgarian-French psychoanalyst, literary theorist and poet Julia Kristeva writes that in between silence, your element is silence. Breaking that silence and coming to speaking and writing in a new language transforms the relation between subject and language into a dynamic and emancipatory relation, reassessing what makes a language maternal and proposing a reformulation of what it means to belong. The experience of belonging is connected to the practice of place. Over the past couple of years, I have developed my research in between three different kind of places: the fine art research seminar room, conversing with fellow researchers who live in between languages, the Masbro community centre in Hammersmith, London, working with the students and teachers of English as a Second Language (ESOL) classes, and my home, which is the place where I live with my family, welcome my relatives and friends and develop my work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Q900 Others in Linguistics