The impact of language and citizenship policies on integration: contrasting case studies of ‘new’ migration in Spain and the UK

Paffey, Darren, Vigers, Dick and Mar-Molinero, Clare (2012) The impact of language and citizenship policies on integration: contrasting case studies of ‘new’ migration in Spain and the UK. In, Studer, Patrick and Werlen, Iwar (eds.) Linguistic Diversity in Europe: Current trends and discourse. Berlin, DE, De Gruyter Mouton, 137-155. (Contributions to the Sociology of Language [CSL], 97).


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This chapter investigates linguistic diversity in Europe by focusing on the interacting and overlapping issues of language policy, migration and citizenship (Castles & Davidson 2000, Hampshire 2005). We frame these concepts within the context of the increasing labour mobility of EU citizens in recent years, and the migratory flows which have been witnessed within and beyond these enlarged EU borders. We argue that such substantial transnational movements of people have repercussions for notions of language and policy, particularly in receiving countries as they seek to deal with issues of ‘integration’ and ‘cohesion’.

In particular, we examine two case studies in detail which explore the notion that national and regional language policies can exist in a spectrum from ‘no policy’ to ‘explicit policy’ . We show how evidence from the case studies – Barcelona and Castelló in Spain, and Southampton in the UK— locates countries at different points of this spectrum, tracking the emergence of the distinct policies (or lack of), as well as critically analysing the public debates around cultural integration, translation services and language learning for migrants. We explore how far national language policies—and their local implementations—affect migrant populations and their aspirations to become citizens of host countries.
Of particular interest to us are the responses of migrants that arise from the debates and policies in each of these differing locations and circumstances. We present qualitative data in order to examine reactions towards the acquisition of the host-country’s language(s) by migrants, and the role of language learning in citizenship. We also examine changing views about the acquisition of language(s) in transnational settings in both host and migrant communities. We ask whether the existence of a language policy (e.g. in Spain) influences the way migrants do (or do not) acquire the ‘host’ country’s language, and specifically in multilingual settings. Furthermore we consider whether aspirations amongst migrants differ in contexts such as the UK where there is little or no explicit policy. We ask if migrants perceive the language policy—or where this is lacking, a policy on citizenship—as designed to ‘naturalise’ them into ‘being British/Spanish/Catalan/etc’. Finally, we question how these differences might relate to ‘Europe’ and European aims to converge policies on language and citizenship in order to appear as a cohesive unit.

Item Type: Book Section
ISBNs: 9783110270839 (hardback)
9783110270884 (electronic)
Related URLs:
Keywords: language, migration, immigration, policy, citizenship, integration, english, spanish, catalan, sociolinguistics, language contact, language planning, language policy, multilingualism
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions : Faculty of Humanities > Modern Languages
ePrint ID: 72239
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
May 2012Published
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2010
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:04

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