The Commodification of Language in Late Modernity

Monday, November 2, 2015 11:30 am - 11:30 am EST (GMT -05:00)

A lecture by Monica Heller, University of Toronto

In this talk Prof. Heller will consider some of the ways in which the authenticity of language, culture and identity associated with the nation-state have been destabilized by the conditions of the globalized new economy (sometimes referred to as late or high modernity, or late capitalism). In particular, using examples from francophone Canada, Prof. Heller will talk about some of the dilemmas related to the commodification of language both as symbol of authenticity (as in tourism, or the locavore movement) and as a technical skill (as in call centres, or translation).

Monica Heller

Monica Heller's research focuses on the role of language in the construction of social difference and social inequality in the post-nationalist, globalizing new economy. Her ethnographic, sociolinguistic research mainly examines these processes as they unfold in francophone Canada. She is also involved in work in these areas conducted in western Europe, and in their relevance for policy in the areas of language and education and training, the workplace and public space.