Lecture by Katharina Brizic, April 18, 2014

Multilingual Inequality: What narratives reveal about social segmentation and academic success in two European crossroads of migration


Katharina Brizic, Postdoctoral Scholar, Berkeley Language Center

At the heart of the challenges of modern societies is social inequality. In my research, the term of social inequality refers to the academic success or failure of whole immigrant groups in European schooling systems. My study approaches inequality from a sociolinguistic angle. The aim is a deeper understanding of the reproduction and, above all, the overcoming of inequality.
The study’s sample is located in two migration crossroads of southeastern Europe: Vienna (Austria) and Istanbul (Turkey). It comprises 170 children, their primary-school teachers and families, thus representing a multitude of majority and minority languages (German, Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, and Romani, to name but a few).
I focus on narrations written by the children in the school context and told by the parents and teachers in biographical interviews. Together with the narrations, discursive patterns emerge: patterns of belonging and exclusion, of academic success and failure, of linguistic and institutional (d)evaluation, and finally of confronting traditional inequalities in the multilingual world of modern European societies.

Friday, April 18, 2014
3 – 5 pm, B4 Dwinelle Hall


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