Recommended reading: Vulnerabilities, Challenges and Risks in Applied Linguistics

By Johanna Ennser-Kananen and Taina Saarinen

If nothing else, the COVID pandemic has made us aware of our individual and social vulnerabilities - for instance of our health, health care systems, social welfare structures, and democracies. We had no idea how timely this book would be, when we started writing our chapter. A warm recommendation:

Vulnerabilities, Challenges and Risks in Applied Linguistics, edited by Clare Cunningham and Chris Hall.

Originating in discussions around risk taking and risk discourses in applied linguistics at the 2018 BAAL conference (e.g., “risky” research approaches and so-called "at-risk” groups), the book offers a variety of perspectives on the uneven distribution of (socially constructed) risks and the respective vulnerabilities across different communities and language users.

Communities, Policy, Research and Education

The book is divided into four parts: Communities, Policy, Research and Education.

  • The Community section discusses ethnocentrism; Indigenous communities; activist views on Irish sign language; and sexuality and language.
  • The Policy section includes chapters on counterfactual analyses of hegemonic and minoritized languages; Post-Brexit UK language policy; and sign language recognition in Canada. Our chapter on language policies and so-called "at-risk" minorities in Finland is in this section.
  • The Research section offers analyses of extremist discourses on far-right Manospheres; Teacher-Researcher and Student-Participant relationships, and use of interpreters in multilingual research interviews.
  • The Education section concludes the book with chapters on developing curriculum in language and integration; Teaching controversial issues to UK migrants; and Instruction and risks to social integration in Pakistan.

Space for unlearning

For us, this collection provided a space to start “thinking otherwise”, that is, to start “unlearning” our set ways of conceptualising Finnish language policy and question the often unproblematized assumptions that our historical and societal interpretations of risks and vulnerabilities rest on. We hope that the collection will initiate different kinds of “unlearning” from the perspective of vulnerabilities and risks within the Jyväskylä applied linguistics community.

Please note the 50% discount the publisher (Multilingual Matters) offers until the end of September! (see the .PDF attachment here)

Photo: Ricardas Brogys on Unsplash