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DISCUSSION AND SYNTHESIS

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11 The Ethnography of Language Policy


Nancy H. Hornberger and David C. Johnson

Introduction
With roots going back to the 1980s, the ethnography of language policy has gathered signicant momentum in the past decade. Canagarajah (2006) charts the rationale, development, and contributions of ethnographic methods in language policy, highlighting the potential of ethnographic research to provide knowledge on specic situations and communities as a starting point for language planning and policy (LPP) model-building, point to cases of language planning from the bottom up (cf. Hornberger, 1996), and counteract the unilateral hold of dominant paradigms and ideologies in LPP. He reviews ndings of early ethnographic LPP studies which illuminated paradoxical tensions within communities (Hornberger, 1988, on Quechua and bilingual education in Peru) or across LPP levels (Davis, 1994, on multilingual education in Luxembourg), local classroom-level resistance to ofcial LPP (Canagarajah, 1995, 1997; Heller and Martin-Jones, 2001), the power of community involvement in bilingual education (Freeman, 1998), and the paradoxical unintended consequences (Jaffe, 1999, on Corsica), positive side effects (King, 2001, on Quichua in Ecuador), or covert underlying motivations (Schiffman, 2003, on Tamil in Singapore) in educational LPP. The present volume comes on the heels of an accelerating trajectory of ethnographic studies of LPP, including three recent international edited volumes on reclaiming the local in language policy (Canagarajah, 2005), imagining multilingual schools (Garca, Skutnabb-Kangas, & Torres-Guzmn, 2006), and schools saving Indigenous languages (Hornberger, 2008). Other recent work includes, in the UK, Arthur (2004) on the multilingual repertoires of young Somali girls in a community-led Somali literacy course in Liverpool, where policies accord neither recognition nor support to immigrant languages; and Creese (2004) on how the UK policy of mainstreaming bilingual students in English classrooms plays out in the actual classroom practices of six Turkish/English bilingual teachers working alongside subject area mainstream teachers in three London secondary schools. In Tanzania, Blommaert (2005a) accounts for the seemingly contradictory successes and failures of the promotion of Swahili as national language and medium of instruction by casting an ethnographic eye on how linguistic resources are actually employed, while Wedin (2005) sheds light on how Tanzanian language policy and language ideologies play out in ve primary

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274 N. H. Hornberger and D. C. Johnson schools of northwest Tanzania, showing how patterns of classroom language use position Swahili and English as high-status languages while devaluing Rumyambo, the local language. In India, Cowies (2007) ethnography in an accent training center focuses on staff interpretation and trainee responses to accent training policies aimed at ridding speakers of mother tongue inuence, while Ramanathan (2005) carried out an eight-year ethnographic study of EnglishGujarati language policies and practices in three higher education institutions in the city of Ahmedabad, exploring how the English-vernacular divide straties people, but also how people resist and counter such policies and practices (see also Ramanathan, this volume). In the US, Varghese (2004) looks ethnographically at a three-session professional development series for bilingual teachers in a large northeastern city, revealing how contestation of language policy and bilingual teachers roles occurs among the teachers and teacher educators themselves, and not only in the wider public debate. Several studies turn ethnographic lenses on how Californias Proposition 227, English Language Education for Immigrant Children, passed in 1999, has played out in classrooms, schools, and school districts: Stritikus (2002) and Wiese (2001) analyze the agentive role that teachers played in responding to Californias Proposition 227, sometimes resisting the English-only focus to meet the needs of their classrooms, while Baltodano (2004) explores southern California Latino parents changing attitudes toward bilingual education in the wake of Proposition 227 and ensuing discourses equating bilingual education with learning disability. Manyak (2006) shows how the two focal teachers in his study effectively resisted Proposition 227s monolingual mandate within the limits of their grade 12 classrooms, using and explicitly supporting students use of Spanish, creating classroom spaces where Spanish was held in equally high esteem with English, and thereby enhancing their students biliteracy development; conversely, Olson (2007) nds that the two bilingual grade 2 teachers in her study organized their Spanish language arts instructional units around the states English-language SAT-9 assessment test, prioritizing direct instruction and workbook activities over more robust literacy practices (see Combs et al., this volume, for parallel studies of Arizonas Proposition 203).1 Since the advent of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) policies in the US in 2002, ethnographers have begun to document the implementation and interpretation of NCLB in settings around the country: a theme issue of the Journal of American Indian Education on Native American education in the era of standardization, for example, included two ethnographic studies of the impacts of NCLB in Indian country (McCarty, 2008), with Patrick (2008) providing a teacher-researchers perspective at the school level, and Watanabe (2008) addressing Indigenous teacher preparation. In the urban northeast, Menken (2008) looks inside New York City secondary schools, showing how NCLBs standardized testing amounts to de facto language policy, while Johnsons (2007, 2009a, 2009b) multi-sited ethnography of language policy and bilingual education in the School District of Philadelphia illuminates how a succession of administrators interpreted the same set of federal, state, and local policies in ways that alternately opened up or constrained ideological and implementational spaces for multilingual education. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46

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The Ethnography of Language Policy 275 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 Hornberger and Johnson (2007) introduced the ethnography of language policy as a way to illuminate the different layers of what Ricento and Hornberger (1996) metaphorically refer to as the language policy onion, highlighting the opening up and closing down of implementational and ideological spaces in educational LPP (see also Hornberger, 2002; Johnson, 2009a, 2009b). Building from that proposal and gleaning from recent cases, including those in this volume, we suggest that ethnographic research offers at least the following kinds of insights and contributions to our understanding of LPP. The ethnography of language policy can: (1) illuminate and inform the development of LPP in its various types status, corpus, and acquisition and across the various processes of the LPP cycle creation, interpretation, and appropriation; (2) shed light on how ofcial top-down LPP plays out in particular contexts, including its interaction with bottom-up LPP; and (3) uncover the indistinct voices, covert motivations, embedded ideologies, invisible instances, or unintended consequences of LPP. In what follows, we discuss the cases herein in this light, pointing to emerging insights and unanswered questions in the ethnography of language policy. First, though, we consider the ethnographic approaches and LPP types and processes the cases take up.

Ethnographic Approaches to Language Planning and Policy


All of the studies provide rich and fascinating accounts often inspiring and sometimes chilling in their description of on-the-ground instantiations of language policies, ideologies, and practices. While all are based on long-term ethnographic research and its tried-and-true triumvirate of participant observation, interview, and document collection, the chapters variously highlight data gleaned from these different methods. Some favor insights drawn from participant observation via eld notes or videotaped lessons (e.g., Combs, Gonzlez, & Moll; Jaffe; and Ramanathan). Others feature interview data, with focus groups (Canagarajah; Combs et al.) and individuals (Nicholass life histories, Hill and Mays restoryings, King and Habouds multi-generational interviews, Hopsons retrospective interviews with key participants, Martin-Joness diary- and photobased interviews, and McCarty et al.s in-depth interviews and youth counternarratives). Some also hone in on document analysis, including macro-policy text (Jaffe) as well as local educational materials and pedagogical documents, including (McCarty et al.s attention to language prociency assessments, May and Hills to literacy assessments and policy and curriculum materials, Ramanathans to textbooks, and Martin-Joness to textual dimensions of course design). Similarly, while all these cases include a comparative and multilayered ethnographic dimension, the scale of comparison varies. There are those that undertake a close look at specic classrooms or schools within a national policy context (Hopson; Jaffe; Martin-Jones), while others adopt a multi-sited approach across a community (Nicholas), school district (Combs et al.), national region (Hill and May, King and Haboud, Ramanathan), nation (McCarty et al.), or multinational diaspora (Canagarajah). In every study, individual cases and life histories are

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276 N. H. Hornberger and D. C. Johnson crucial to ethnographic understanding of the layers of the LPP onion, as researchers undertake what Martin-Jones tellingly characterizes as vertical and horizontal slicing: vertical slicing to build case studies of individual bilinguals, and horizontal slicing to identify commonalities and differences across the case studies (Barton & Hamilton, 1998; Ivanic et al. 2009; cf. Hornberger & Johnson, 2007 on slicing the LPP onion). All these studies involve multilingual research in multilingual settings, and all take up the complexities of language shift, maintenance, and revitalization, mainly of Indigenous or vernacular languages (Corsican on Corsica, Native American languages in North America, Maori in New Zealand, Quichua in Ecuador, Welsh in Wales), merging also into immigrant (Latinos and Spanish in the US), postcolonial (Gujarati in India, Afrikaans and Indigenous languages in Namibia), and diaspora experiences (Sri Lankan Tamil speakers in London, Toronto, and Lancaster, California). In every case, too, the pressures toward a shift to English as a global language are evident: from those where English has historically been and/or is currently imposed as medium of instruction Arizona and the Southwestern US, Gujarat, Namibia, New Zealand, Wales, and in the sites of Sri Lankan diaspora to those where English has only more recently become a competitor to ofcial languages, such as French on Corsica or Spanish in Ecuador. Differential power relations among languages is a theme across the chapters, in keeping with the critical ethnographic (May, 1997) approach the authors take. Beyond a pervasive critical recognition of language inequality (cf. Hymes, 1996), there is also in some cases a questioning of language itself as category. Canagarajah and Jaffe cite Blommaert (2005b) and Makoni and Pennycook (2007) respectively in their explicit call for a critical ethnographic approach to constructs such as language, identity, ethnicity, and nation, and the presumed relationships between them, arguing that these cannot be taken as given. Crucial to an ethnographic perspective, though, Jaffe goes on to note that: even though we can analytically deconstruct foundational myths and ideologies related to languages and identities as bounded, isomorphic entities, it does not mean that these ways of conceptualizing language are not meaningful to people as they go about constructing a minority identity in the contemporary world. Critical ethnography is evident not only in the acknowledgement of power and inequality and the questioning of conceptual categories, but also in the emphasis on transformative, action-oriented methods, as exemplied in McCarty et al.s incorporation of community research collaborators as key participants in her LPP research and her highlighting of the potential role of the youth research subjects themselves as political and social actors in Indigenous language revitalization. Hopson calls for reconstructing ethnography away from anthropologys historic involvement in colonial racist ideologies by paying attention to issues of social power and social change, and Ramanathan shows us how to critically reect on our research practices and revisit our data and ndings. Her work is 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46

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The Ethnography of Language Policy 277 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 reminiscent of Bourdieus revisiting his 1960s eldwork in Algeria in order to peel off the layers of reinterpretations that tend to cover eldwork impressions . . . because of the deeply contextualized nature of perception and understanding in the eld (Blommaert, 2005c: 224). Just as there was no way Bourdieu, as a French person among Algerians in the 1960s, could not be inuenced by the effects of Algerias then recent war of liberation against French colonial rule (Blommaert, 2005c, p. 225), so Ramanathan acknowledges that, in her original studys foregrounding of the value of vernacular medium education and the interests of vernacular medium teachers and students, she perhaps tended to look the other way with respect to a troubling vernacular chauvinism or overvaluing of Hindu culture in ways that excluded Muslim, Christian, and Jewish students. Using her own retrospective look as illustration, she advocates a position of selfcritique, revisiting ones prior research practices and texting choices in order to unravel deeper layers of meaning. Ramanathan also revisits her own positioning and performing of several selves in the course of her research, recounting how she, as researcher, Indian, and nonChristian, traversed and re-traversed language, culture, class, and national boundaries in the course of collecting, selecting, analyzing, and translating her ethnographic data, and cautioning us to reect on how our own identities and ideologies may get inserted into our ethnographies via the data we select to include or translate. Hill and May explicitly take up researcher positioning in ethnography; as non-Maori researchers, they outline a Kaupapa Maori research -ori cultural expectations, to approach specically designed to be sensitive to Ma incorporate Maori cultural values, and to satisfy the overarching need to achieve collective benets for the participants involved an approach operationalized via principles of (shared and negotiated) initiation, accountability, legitimization, benets, and representation. Beyond these critical perspectives on language and ethnographic method, the volumes authors also share and perhaps differ in framing their ethnographies within sociocultural, sociolinguistic, sociopolitical, and sociohistorical conceptual approaches. McCarty (Introduction) proposes a view of language policy as a sociocultural process, conceptualized as language-regulating modes of interaction, negotiation, and production mediated by relations of power, an approach that allows us to examine LPP as covert and overt, bottom up and top down and to illuminate cross-cutting themes of cultural conict and negotiation, identity, ideology, and linguistic human rights (see also McCarty, 2004, p. 72; McCarty, Romero-Little, & Zepeda, 2008, p. 161). King and Haboud adopt this sociocultural approach in examining the impact of transmigration on Quichua language practices and locally constructed language policy, in particular childrens Quichua language learning possibilities in family contexts. In a similar vein, Nicholas approaches her ethnographic study of language practices among Hopi youth as language policy situated in the linguistically and socioculturally structured environment (Ochs, 1988, p. 21), and Combs et al. base their methodological attention to the details of social practices on the Vygotskyan sociocultural principle that childrens learning and literacy development is embedded in sociocultural contexts and everyday practices (Vygotsky, 1978). McCarty et al.,

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278 N. H. Hornberger and D. C. Johnson in their analysis of the complexities of Native American youths language practices and language ideologies, takes up Bakhtins (1981) notion of heteroglossia, and Garcas (2009, p. 7) application of it to the translanguaging practices of bilingual education. Complementarily, McCarty et al. draw on the sociolinguistic concept of communicative repertoire (Martin-Jones & Jones 2000; cf. Gumperz, 1968 on verbal repertoire). In addition to communicative repertoire, sociolinguistic conceptual frames include language minority rights, language use and attitudes (Canagarajah); language diversity and change, identity and language revitalization (Jaffe); language use and attitudes, maintenance, shift, and revitalization (King and Haboud); and bilingualism, bilingual education, and language revitalization (Martin-Jones). Other authors work primarily from sociopolitical and sociohistorical frames. Combs et al. and Ramanathan attend explicitly to the sociopolitical context of language policy Proposition 203 in Arizona and English vs vernacular medium education in India, respectively. Hopson, following Tollefson (1991), locates his study of St Marys School in Namibia in the historical structural approach to language policy, which acknowledges that language policy is always inextricably linked to historical, sociopolitical contexts [and] marked by competing interests between groups. In all, whether invoking primarily sociocultural, sociolinguistic, sociopolitical, or sociohistorical conceptual frames, the crucial ethnographic insight shared across all the chapters is the situated and contextual nature of language policy, language practice, identity, ideology, and learning. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46

LPP Types and Processes


For the rst time in a single volume, we see the broad range of language policy types and processes that ethnography is uniquely suited to explore. Not just across the different chapters but even within one study, ethnography can illuminate ofcial and unofcial, de jure and de facto, macro and micro, corpus/status/ acquisition planning, national and local language policy, and, importantly, the links (or lack thereof ) between policy and practice. The studies examine the interaction between top-down and bottom-up LPP and one or more different processes of the LPP cycle creation, interpretation, and appropriation which are not always predictable based on the macro-level policy text alone; indeed, the policy discourse trajectories and the circulation of embedded ideologies and especially the indistinct voices, invisible instances, covert motivations, and unintended consequences of LPP are revealed precisely because of ethnographic methodology. The ethnography of language policy reveals itself as a method uniquely suited to explore the connections (or lack thereof ) between top-down and bottom-up. Many of the chapters investigate the interaction between macro-level language policies, minority or Indigenous language maintenance, and multilingual education. For example, Hill and May nd that macro-level language policy support for the maintenance of Maori has led to both increasing Maori immersion education and, in the bilingual school focused on Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga high levels of bilingualism and biliteracy. Similarly, Martin-Jones shows

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The Ethnography of Language Policy 279 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 that macro-level Welsh language policies notably the Welsh Language Act of 1993 have helped engender bilingual education in 30.5 percent of all primary schools in Wales. Both studies reveal how top-down language policies can open up implementational spaces for minority language maintenance through acquisition planning that promotes language parity in multilingual education (Hornberger & Johnson, 2007). On the other hand, Combs et al. examine the impact of Arizonas Proposition 203, a language policy that has restricted access to bilingual education in Arizona. The enactment of Proposition 203 followed a series of other anti-immigrant measures, which, they argue, have demoralized an already marginalized population, including families of school-aged children. Despite this depressingly draconian crackdown on the rights of Spanish speakers, Combs et al. nd that even within the mandated structured English immersion classrooms (which took the place of bilingual education) children can create hybrid or third spaces in classrooms in which their funds of knowledge can be used as a resource. They attribute this possibility to administrators and teachers who open up ideological spaces for multilingual communication among students despite a restrictively English-only language policy. Along with these examinations of acquisition planning, analyses of corpus and status language planning are present, as well as the interaction between them. Hopson looks at status planning for English as part of British colonization in Namibia. As has often been the case, however, the British used acquisition planning efforts to marginalize non-English languages by enforcing English-only policies in St Marys at Odibo, a school which used to be an arm of the British colonial educational mission. Jaffe examines the interaction between status, corpus, and acquisition planning. As she argues, all interventions that shape the uses or social functions of a particular language [i.e. status planning] have implications for language form [i.e. corpus planning] both in terms of the frequencies with which particular forms get used and in terms of the value that is attributed to them. (brackets ours) Ofcial Corsican language policy has sought to increase the functions of Corsican (status planning), primarily through the implementation of Corsican/French bilingual education (acquisition planning). In her examination of a bilingual classroom, Jaffe discovers that educators engage in a sort of micro-level corpus planning as they seek to enforce Corsican purity by ignoring Frenchied Corsican. Macro-level ofcial Corsican language policy, which has promoted balanced bilingualism, is reinforced by micro-level unofcial language policy, which seeks to maintain the autonomy and purity of French and Corsican. Current work on language policy might be characterized by a tension between structure and agency, between critical theoretical work that focuses on the power invested in language policy to disenfranchise linguistic minorities, and ethnographic and action-oriented research emphasizing the powerful role that practitioners play in language policy processes (see, for example, Johnson, 2009b). The ethnography of language policy offers a way to resolve this tension by marrying a

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280 N. H. Hornberger and D. C. Johnson critical approach with a focus on LPP agency, and by recognizing the power of both societal and local policy texts, discourses, and discoursers. In keeping with the sociocultural approach adopted in this volume, the focus is less on detailed analyses of macro-level policy texts than on how language policies are interpreted and appropriated by creative agents, illuminating the power of local communities and individuals to make policy on their own terms. For example, McCarty et al. examine the everyday on the ground language policies and practices of Native American youth, via a consideration of their hybrid communicative repertoires and contradictory language ideologies, in a context of historical language shift, even linguicide. Also, as Martin-Jones shows in her study of Welsh language revitalization, ethnography can capture the specic ways in which language policies and new forms of language education are made and remade, by teachers and students, in the daily routines of educational life. Yet, hegemonic societal and policy discourses are evident as well, in the adoption of Spanish and even English amongst Quichua youth (King and Haboud), in the conuence of anti-Latino and anti-Spanish laws in Arizona (Combs et al.), and in the appropriation of English and concomitant loss of Tamil in the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora (Canagarajah). The power of a policy discourse may rely on the language of a policy text, yet, in the chapters that do explicitly contend with top-down policies, we nd that either (1) ofcial top-down policies are inconsistent, and/or (2) local policy and practice may trump top-down intentions. For example, Jaffes examination of Corsican revitalization as it relates to macro and micro, ofcial and unofcial language policy, shows that ofcial Corsican language policy has followed two distinct paths with text that on the one hand emphasizes balanced bilingualism, and on the other eschews balanced bilingualism in favor of a range of (potentially imbalanced) types and levels of linguistic competencies (a much more practical goal, according to Jaffe). Furthermore, even local language policies that promote bilingual education do not necessarily lead to balanced bilinguals, as it is difcult for schools to overcome dominant language ideologies favoring dominant languages (here, French). While de jure Corsican language policy has promoted French/Corsican bilingual education, these bilingual schools may legitimate language considered pure or authentic while marginalizing variation, and thus hegemonic ideologies about linguistic purity are perpetuated despite ostensive attempts to promote multilingualism. Similarly, King and Haboud, examining Quichua language shift and revitalization efforts in the Ecuadorian Andes, nd that despite ofcial QuichuaSpanish bilingual education policy, the ideological spaces within local communities promote Spanish and even English, as Quichua is viewed as less and less useful by young learners. Indeed, local language policy text and discourse may ofcially adopt bilingual education in Quichua and Spanish, but such de jure policies, and appropriation of those policies into bilingual schools, is not enough to overcome the appeal of Spanish and English as languages of power and prestige. They write, Whether Quichua and other Indigenous languages can maintain a foothold in the republic depends to great measure not on the creation of future 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46

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The Ethnography of Language Policy 281 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 additional national-level language policies, but rather on how the local ecology and micro-constructed language policy and actual language practice continues to change in relation to migration and other global phenomena. An important nding in this volume, and in the LPP literature in general, is that ofcial policy texts whether developed at the macro or micro level may be trumped by the power of dominant language ideologies. The sociocultural approach to language policy focuses on how people make policy in everyday social practice, thus emphasizing local agency to potentially challenge hegemonic discourses which privilege some languages and speech communities while marginalizing others. A sociocultural approach to language policy redenes notions of bottom and top, since individual agents are allowed to make or enact policy through everyday interaction. For example, Nicholas examines how Hopi culture is transmitted through language practices. Focusing on three young Hopis, she nds that they [carry] out and [make] language policy in their everyday social practices through their varied uses of Hopi language. The conclusion is that to speak Hopi is to be Hopi (and vice versa), since the essence of Hopi culture is not detachable from Hopi language. This agency to make and remake language policy, however, does not necessarily translate into minority language maintenance. For example, Canagarajah nds very rapid language shift to English for Sri Lankan Tamils (SLTs) who immigrate to English-dominant contexts a shift motivated by Englishs history in Sri Lanka as a colonial and powerful language of prestige. Interestingly, because Canadian, British, and US English varieties are considered more prestigious than Sri Lankan English, lower caste SLTs who did not have access to English in Sri Lanka, and therefore acquire Canadian, British, or US varieties, can socially leap-frog higher caste members who speak Sri Lankan English. Canagarajah characterizes the strong assimilation of English into the repertoires of diasporic SLTs as an English craze which is not good news for Tamil maintenance. Therefore, Canagarajahs ndings raise an interesting problem, not just for the sociocultural approach, but for language policy in general: as Canagarajah asks, Can scholars and policy makers succeed in acquisition planning when community members assign different valuations for the competing languages according to their priorities and value systems? In other words, if local communities agentively eschew minority languages in favor of languages of power, what ramications are there for language policy scholars and ethnographers interested in minority language revitalization and social justice? Canagarajah and others raise questions about accepted denitions of de facto language policy. Very often language policies are not ofcial macro-policy texts, but are unofcial and characterized by many as de facto language policies (Schiffman, 1996; Shohamy, 2006). Yet these chapters challenge us to consider: What exactly is a de facto language policy? Is to be Hopi is to speak Hopi a de facto language policy? Similarly, is the abandonment of Tamil and concomitant acquisition of US, Canadian, and British varieties of English (as opposed to Sri

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282 N. H. Hornberger and D. C. Johnson Lankan English) a de facto language policy? Because they are able to do some social-class leap-frogging through their acquisition of more prestigious English varieties, is it a de facto language policy that colonial Englishes are a springboard for social-class advancement in the SLT diaspora? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46

Ethnography of Language Policy


We began this chapter by suggesting that the ethnography of language policy offers the possibility of illuminating and informing the development of LPP in particular contexts, in its various types status, corpus, and acquisition planning and across various processes of the LPP cycle creation, interpretation, and appropriation. In particular, we argue that LPP ethnography sheds light on interactions between bottom-up and top-down LPP layers, while also uncovering indistinct voices, covert motivations, embedded ideologies, invisible instances, or unintended consequences of LPP. The ethnographies herein contribute multiple insights into the constraints and possibilities both the opening and closing of implementational and ideological spaces across LPP layers, processes, types, and contexts. Among the troubling constraints illuminated are: the ways language education policies may perpetuate ideologies of language inequality or linguistic purity (Combs et al.; Jaffe), and educational disadvantage for vernacular language students (McCarty et al.; Ramanathan); disjuncts between language policy and literacy practices, in and out of school (Martin-Jones; McCarty et al.); pedagogical limitations even in an overall successful biliteracy education program (Hill and May); disruptive impacts of globalization via migration and interrupted family socialization processes on progressive local language revitalization policy (King and Haboud); and mounting pressures toward the shift to English in settings as farung as the Hopi reservation, Ecuadorian Quichua highlands, Namibian borderlands, and Tamil diaspora (Nicholas; King and Haboud; Hopson; Canagarajah). Among the hopeful possibilities illuminated are: the continuing and evolving success story of Maori language revitalization through Maori immersion school-ori-only to biliteracy development ing, along with a changing emphasis from Ma in Maori and English (Hill and May); bottom-up language planning by teachers via pedagogical innovation in the face of material constraints on implementation of bilingual education policy (Martin-Jones); a pedagogy of hope over against a pedagogy of control even within the constraints of a monolingual language policy (Combs et al.); schools potential role in language revitalization by providing not just more speakers or more use of the language, but dening linguistic/ sociolinguistic identities and new communities of practice for the language (Jaffe); and creative agency of local actors in exploiting sociolinguistic spaces and hybrid language practices, as in Tamil speakers caste leap-frogging via English (Canagarajah), the Namibian postcolonial elites appropriation of English as symbol of freedom and resistance (Hopson), socioeconomic mobility for Quichua-speaking youth (King and Haboud), or Hopi/Tamil youths maintenance of Hopi/Tamil tradition via cultural practices around corn, clan, and ritual/music and dance (Nicholas; Canagarajah).

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The Ethnography of Language Policy 283 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 Withal, there remain unanswered questions and challenges for LPP in education, highlighted also by these ethnographies. We take up here only two key challenges that reverberate across these cases and the ethnography of language policy more generally: (1) how to bridge from micro-level ethnography to macro-level LPP (and back) in systematic and principled ways, and (2) how to reconcile tensions between research-based language policy processes that promote minority language maintenance and multilingualism, and a communitys own language policy goals and practices, especially if they instead promote language shift to a colonial language. Regarding the latter, a rephrasing of Canagarajahs question (cited above) is relevant across all the contributions and all LPP types: Can scholars and policymakers succeed in status, corpus, and acquisition planning when community members assign different valuations for the competing languages according to their priorities and value systems? Canagarajah (2006) earlier posed this same issue in terms of the relativism of ethnography, noting that the tendency for ethnographers to treat the views and interests of the community as always right can lead to a dilemma when the community members take up a perspective prejudicial to other groups in a multilingual context, or espouse a position seen by scholars, educators, and policy-makers as uninformed. A way out of this dilemma, he suggests, lies precisely in one of ethnographys great methodological strengths the rapprochement between what Geertz (1983) calls experience-near and experience-far views (Canagarajah, 2006, p. 163), or what others have referred to as stepping in and stepping out (Wax, 1971), or the insider/outsider, emic/etic dialectic (Pike, 1967[1954]; Hymes, 1990; see also Hornberger 1992, 2006). Citing Jaffe (1999), Canagarajah points out that ethnographers, in such circumstances, can reexively bring both insider and outsider views into play, actively help[ing] the community think critically about their linguistic future, rights, and statuses (Canagarajah, 2006, p. 164) Jaffe continues to develop this argument in her contribution in this volume, as a way of addressing the paradoxes/tensions she uncovers in both Corsican language policy and classroom practice between a balanced bilingualism of French and a linguistically pure (essentialized) Corsican language on the one hand, and Corsicans mixed, bilingual or translingual competencies on the other. She suggests that the purpose of the ethnography of language policy is not to identify any one best educational practice for a particular context, but rather that it can be a tool for identifying the underlying ideological issues and implications of various choices and for opening up school-society dialogue about what schools can or should do. In other words, the ethnography of language policy can, itself, open up ideological spaces that allow for egalitarian dialogue, and discourses that promote social justice and sound educational practice. Among the possible implications or strategies that might emerge from such a dialogue, she mentions outreach to society to increase awareness of school language practices and outcomes; design of assessments focusing on bilingual competencies and repertoire rather than on balanced bilingualism per se (as well as assessments of other outcomes of bilingualism such as metalinguistic awareness and attitudinal dispositions towards languages); more acceptance in school of

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284 N. H. Hornberger and D. C. Johnson mixed codes; taking up issues of language contact, authenticity, and authority as explicit topics of discussion in both school and schoolsociety interactions; and orienting minority language education beyond only school-based practices toward community-based language practices, including online discussion boards, theatrical performances, and literature circles around minority language texts, for example. In these ways, discourse and ideology might shift away from minority language-as-authenticity and towards a notion of language-as-exchange. Similarly, among the questions Canagarajah raises for LPP for Tamil on the basis of his ethnographic research is the consideration that language minority rights for diaspora Sri Lankan Tamil speakers may well be more about hybridity, multimodality, translanguaging, and a repertoire of codes and practices than about a unitary Tamil language per se. McCarty et al. highlight their critical concern with the transformative potential of ethnographic LPP research, urging educators to capitalize on the heteroglossic communicative repertoires of Native American youth as linguistic resources that can be repositioned to counter language shift. By raising these kinds of questions and adopting these kinds of strategies, ethnographers can play a role in informing LPP in the making, at all levels. The question remains, though, of how to make the connection from ethnography to LPP; from what is to what should be, in Canagarajahs terms (2006, p. 152). For ethnographers, as a rule, the challenges of translating what we learn from ethnography into policy is perhaps only surpassed by the challenge of suiting our ethnographic research approaches to existing policy mandates. So concluded Robinson-Pant, who, after having worked for an NGO developing a literacy policy for womens health programs in Nepal, reected that designing and conducting ethnographic research in a literacy policy context is far more problematic than making use of ethnographic ndings from academic research projects for informing policy (Robinson-Pant, 2001, p. 168, cited in Canagarajah, 2006, p. 162; emphasis in original). Furthermore, traditional ethnography as a method for studying a culture or community may not be perfectly suited to study the multi-sited and multilayered nature of LPP. Within any LPP context, there is a multiplicity of agents, goals, processes, and discourses for which the ethnographer must account (Johnson, 2009a). Ethnography of language policy is uniquely suited to illuminate both topdown and bottom-up LPP, but a lingering problem remains: How do we make explicit connections between macro-level language policy and local language practice? What kind of data is necessary to show that there is a connection? Unless a bilingual teacher explicitly states that, in her classroom, she has interpreted and appropriated some language policy X in explicit ways, how can we be sure that educational practice is necessarily inuenced by educational policy? This micromacro leap represents a challenge for the chapters herein and the eld of language policy in general (reecting a similar challenge in the eld of sociolinguistics as a whole). The sociocultural approach to language policy offers a potential solution but creates a new problem. By redening language policy as language-regulating modes of human interaction, negotiation, and production (instead of only ofcial acts and documents), the emphasis is taken off ofcial macro-level policy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46

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The Ethnography of Language Policy 285 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 texts (cf. Ball, 2006), and therefore the importance of the connection between, say, interaction in a bilingual classroom and ofcial language policy text, is diminished in favor of the view that what is going on in the classroom is language policy with or without the macro-level support. Yet by broadening the denition of language policy in these ways, we are left with the question, what isnt language policy? How does this conceptualization of policy distinguish itself from other sociolinguistic terms already in existence, such as discourse and norms of interaction? Certainly language policies can appropriate and/or resist dominant discourses, and can inuence or be inuenced by norms of interaction, but are discourses and norms of interaction, in and of themselves, language policies? Further, allowing for this broadened denition of language policy, we cannot ignore the power of ofcial macro-level language policy texts and discourses to open and close implementational and ideological spaces for different kinds of interaction and schooling (see, for example, Combs et al.). Despite the power of local ecologies, restrictive language policies have the ability to close implementation and ideological spaces for multilingualism. Nor can we deny the reality that implementational and ideological spaces created by top-down language policies that promote Indigenous or vernacular language maintenance or revitalization are not necessarily powerful enough to overcome societal discourses, language ideologies, or the force of history (Hornberger, 1998, p. 445). While macro-level policy support may be essential, it may not be sufcient. Through ethnography of language policy, we learn that the interpretation and appropriation of topdown language policy is not necessarily predicated on the intentions of the policy. In this volume, ethnography of language policy proves its worth as a method capable of capturing the impact of closing and opening of spaces for schools and communities. Yet the undeniable, undeniably encouraging, and somewhat ubiquitous nding (at least in this volume) is that language practices in schools and society are not necessarily controlled by top-down policies. Educators and other human beings are not simply cogs in the machine of dominant discourses, the wheels of which are turned by hegemonic language policies they can agentively interpret, appropriate, and/or ignore such policies in creative ways With the accumulating evidence that LPP itself is multilayered (Ricento & Hornberger, 1996) and plays out from both the top down and the bottom up (Hornberger, 1996), both globally and locally (Canagarajah, 2005), in overt and covert ways (Schiffman, 1996), and in de jure and de facto forms (Shohamy, 2006), there is also growing recognition that the ethnography of language policy is not so much about uncovering how macro-level LPP acts on people at the micro-level, or even about conveying on-the-ground information back to policymakers, but rather it is about how people themselves actively create, contest, and mediate LPP at multiple levels micro, meso, and macro. To this end, the work of Dell Hymes, an early advocate of the value of ethnographic research for an understanding of language policy (see Hornberger, 2009), offers a useful model for ethnographic bridging across policy levels. Hymess vision of ethnographic research itself comprehends micro, meso, and macro levels (van der Aa, 2009); his ethnopoetics involves close, micro-level linguistic analysis and uncovering of

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286 N. H. Hornberger and D. C. Johnson poetic organization within Native American oral traditions; his ethnography of communication is about describing and interpreting patterns of spoken and written language use and meaning in communities, at meso level; and ethnology, for Hymes, is cumulative, comparative ethnographic study across communities and societies, at the macro level (Hymes, 1980, pp. 119125). Just such a multilayered ethnographic approach is what the authors in this volume take up, in relation to LPP. The studies, collectively, demonstrate that casting an ethnographic eye at language planning at individual, classroom, school, community, regional, national, and global levels can and does serve to uncover the indistinct voices, covert motivations, embedded ideologies, invisible instances, or unintended consequences of LPP as it is created, interpreted, and appropriated in particular contexts. We can expect that the ethnography of language policy will not only continue to prove its worth in illuminating complex language policy processes, but also its value in championing language diversity, multilingual education, and social justice around the world. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46

Note
1. The authors are grateful to Elaine Allard, PhD student in educational linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, for locating and summarizing these recent ethnographic studies of language policy.

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