Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The social life of language commodification : a critical sociolinguistic study of the promotion and mobilisation of Irish in business
Author: Brennan, Sara C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7963 462X
Awarding Body: Heriot-Watt University
Current Institution: Heriot-Watt University
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Language has come to be increasingly constructed and managed in economic terms under the political-economic dynamics of contemporary globalised capitalism, a phenomenon which has been discussed in critical sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology as the commodification of language. More emergent market-oriented conceptualisations of language now co-exist, intertwine, and clash with more traditional cultural and political perspectives on language. In seeking to better understand how situated social actors make sense of these processes, the present thesis explores the promotion and mobilisation of the Irish language as a commercial resource for businesses in the Republic of Ireland. It focuses specifically on the business centred promotional initiatives of two Irish language advocacy organisations, as well as on their local business communities, in order to study both how the organisations (re)frame Irish as economically valuable, and how the merchants understand, act on, and contest these efforts. Grounded in critical ethnographic sociolinguistics, the analyses draw on qualitative fieldwork data from the two sites. Turning first to the language advocacy organisations, the thesis argues that the promotion of a primarily visual form of commercial Irish allows the organisations not only to tap into circulating discourses on the added value of minority languages for branding purposes, but also to address the largely non-Irish-speaking merchants' concerns and hesitations, many of which have been shaped by the legacy of Irish language policy in Ireland. The discussion then focuses on the merchants, drawing out how Ireland's socio-historically informed, geopolitically demarcated linguistic boundaries appear to articulate with the local enthusiasm (or lack thereof) for the promoted commercial viability of Irish. The final analyses then take a closer look at how merchants linked their mobilisation of Irish in business to a range of social projects, illuminating the complex interweaving of considerations, economic or otherwise, that shape the integration of the language into economic activity. On the basis of these discussions, the thesis concludes by pointing to the central role played by historically informed, locally situated social, cultural, political, and economic dynamics in shaping the promotion and mobilisation of minority languages such as Irish within the commercial sphere.
Supervisor: O'Rourke, Bernadette ; Danson, Michael Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available