Linguistic Relations, Diversity, and Divides

By: Leo Dana   Maria Elo  

Theoretically, this paper addresses linguistic diversity from the perspective of the possession of communication skills in particular languages, dialects, and forms of communication. It examines the formal and undocumented, the explicit and tacit use of language and communication. The theory framing includes the language-in-use, i.e. the different purposes and ways of employing communication abilities and skills in different contexts, and switching between them. Contextually, the setting includes linkages both with and across the immediate strong ties, e.g. family and close friends, the more meso-level ties in local communities and groups, and the more macro-level ties on global scale and with other cultures and population. Usually, the language skills are linked to highly skilled and educated expatriates and international managers when diversity is discussed, and very rarely the competences carried by refugees and other disadvantaged people receive any attention. This is a gap in the theoretical understanding of diversity, especially, as refugees and others who are dependent on the assistance and support from various others, through weak ties, they are potentially more connected to diverse cohorts of people across the globe than many managers. Methodologically, this complex real-life phenomenon is approached using ethnographic participant research. The research data is collected in various contexts of interaction. It consists of observations, photos, videos, printed materials, advertisements, correspondence, books and other diverse materials. Data is analysed using a categorization approach sorting out different groups consisting of individuals with similar skill types and heritages, their linguistic use-patterns and other contextual features, such as migratory background.

Diversity, Language
Identity and Belonging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Leo Dana

Professor, Business, MBS, France

Maria Elo

UTU University, Finland