Dominant Language Acquisition in destination countries: Structure, Agency and Reflexivity

Gina Netto, Maria Hudson, Nicolina Kamenou-Aigbekaen, Filip Sosenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article advances understanding of the structural and agentic factors which influence how migrants in low-paid work reflexively acquire the dominant language of destination countries. Bourdieu’s theories on the symbolic power of language and habitus, and theories of reflexivity by Archer and others underpin our analysis of how migrants acquire English in the UK. Analysis of data generated from in-depth qualitative interviews with thirty-one migrants from EU and non-EU countries in low-paid work reveals that the agency of migrants in increasing proficiency in the language is shaped by access to resources, conscious and unconscious reflexive processes, aspects of embodiment and perceptions of identity by the self and others. We argue that closer attention to the social, political and economic context in which migrants acquire the dominant language of destination countries is needed, as well as greater awareness of the multi-dimensional nature of reflexivity and the constraints on agency.
LanguageEnglish
JournalSociology
StateAccepted/In press - 12 Dec 2018

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reflexivity
language acquisition
migrant
language
qualitative interview
EU
resources
economics

Keywords

  • migrant
  • language acquisition
  • structure
  • agency
  • reflexivity

Cite this

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title = "Dominant Language Acquisition in destination countries: Structure, Agency and Reflexivity",
abstract = "This article advances understanding of the structural and agentic factors which influence how migrants in low-paid work reflexively acquire the dominant language of destination countries. Bourdieu’s theories on the symbolic power of language and habitus, and theories of reflexivity by Archer and others underpin our analysis of how migrants acquire English in the UK. Analysis of data generated from in-depth qualitative interviews with thirty-one migrants from EU and non-EU countries in low-paid work reveals that the agency of migrants in increasing proficiency in the language is shaped by access to resources, conscious and unconscious reflexive processes, aspects of embodiment and perceptions of identity by the self and others. We argue that closer attention to the social, political and economic context in which migrants acquire the dominant language of destination countries is needed, as well as greater awareness of the multi-dimensional nature of reflexivity and the constraints on agency.",
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Dominant Language Acquisition in destination countries : Structure, Agency and Reflexivity. / Netto, Gina; Hudson, Maria; Kamenou-Aigbekaen, Nicolina; Sosenko, Filip.

In: Sociology, 12.12.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

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T2 - Sociology

AU - Netto,Gina

AU - Hudson,Maria

AU - Kamenou-Aigbekaen,Nicolina

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AB - This article advances understanding of the structural and agentic factors which influence how migrants in low-paid work reflexively acquire the dominant language of destination countries. Bourdieu’s theories on the symbolic power of language and habitus, and theories of reflexivity by Archer and others underpin our analysis of how migrants acquire English in the UK. Analysis of data generated from in-depth qualitative interviews with thirty-one migrants from EU and non-EU countries in low-paid work reveals that the agency of migrants in increasing proficiency in the language is shaped by access to resources, conscious and unconscious reflexive processes, aspects of embodiment and perceptions of identity by the self and others. We argue that closer attention to the social, political and economic context in which migrants acquire the dominant language of destination countries is needed, as well as greater awareness of the multi-dimensional nature of reflexivity and the constraints on agency.

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