Moving language: the language geographies of refugees and asylum-seekers in Glasgow

Shuttleworth, Sophie Rose (2018) Moving language: the language geographies of refugees and asylum-seekers in Glasgow. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Over the past five years the UK has seen an increased number of refugees and asylum-seekers arriving on its shores as a result of ongoing conflicts happening around the world. Refugees and asylum-seekers make up only a very small percentage of the country’s population, yet immigration concerns regularly make headlines and are a ‘hot topic’ for politicians seeking public support. Glasgow became home for a large number of refugees and asylum-seekers after it signed up to the ‘dispersal’ scheme nearly twenty years ago, and as a result the make-up of communities in the city is everchanging. It has increased multiculturalism and is a decidedly multilingual city. This thesis brings together work in language geographies and migration studies to explore the everyday language geographies of refugees and asylum-seekers in Glasgow. The central aim is to reveal the situated dynamics of ‘talk’; what languages are used, in what combinations, and with what kinds of ‘props’ as people seek to ‘get-by’, make friends and express themselves, all the while considering the implications of the spaces involved.

Through the voices of refugees, asylum-seekers and associated professionals, this thesis explores different spaces of multilingualism and the associated emotional geographies of these spaces. Language is conceptualised in this thesis as an object in itself, engendering feelings of belonging (or not), and recognises that language is fluid and mobile, mutually constituted with the space in which it happens. The thesis explores four different sites of language use - journeys to the UK, the body, the classroom, and the community - to investigate the complex geographies of refugees and asylum-seekers as they seek to acquire English and settle in the city of Glasgow. Of importance is the part that language plays in positioning refugees and asylum-seekers in society, often relating to insider-outsider type dichotomies, but also thinking about how these divides may be overcome. Finally, the refugee and asylum-seeker body is conceptualised as the mobile linguistic stranger, simultaneously near and far, and the thesis uncovers how this figure comes to be and the implications of such a conceptualisation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Migration, refugees, asylum-seekers, language, language geography, social geography.
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Funder's Name: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Supervisor's Name: Parr, Professor Hester and Philo, Professor Christopher and Phipps, Professor Alison
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Miss Sophie Rose Shuttleworth
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-30964
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2018 09:47
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2019 09:11
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/30964

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