Files in this item



application/pdfFLOWERS-DISSERTATION-2017.pdf (15MB)
(no description provided)PDF


Title:Local language policy: shifting scales in the English-only movement
Author(s):Flowers, Katherine S
Director of Research:Prior, Paul
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Prior, Paul
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Baron, Dennis; Schaffner, Spencer; Koven, Michèle
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Writing studies
Language policy
Discourse analysis
English-only movement
Abstract:This dissertation examines how language policymakers in the United States write, discuss, and resist local English-only policies. By tracing the trajectories of four interconnected, local campaigns to make English the official language, I show that such policies are not static texts or abstract impositions, but rather a kind of writing, one that emerges through local action, collaboration, revision, uptake, and other literate activities. As one of the few studies to examine how politicians and other policymakers write, and the first to focus on the writing practices of people in the English-only movement, this dissertation sheds light on the broader question of how people create and change policies, particularly ones that reflect and affect people’s understandings of language and communication. In order to analyze how and why people enact such policies, I conducted audio- and video-recorded interviews with 24 activists, writers, and politicians; analyzed public government records, videos, and digital discourse; and visited the archives of John Tanton (who founded the organizations ProEnglish and U.S. English), former US Senator Paul Simon, and the National Council of Teachers of English. I argue that local policies in schools, workplaces, and, increasingly, governments have played a crucial role in shaping how people learn, use, and view language. At the same time, the local scale is an ideological, discursive concept that is constantly open to further entrenchment or renegotiation, and it is always still connected to other scales. Local language policies thus provide opportunities for people to (re)write not only their stances towards language, but also their definitions of community. The opening chapter, “Local Language Policy,” introduces these arguments; provides a history of such policies in the US; introduces an analytical framework that combines work on language policy, situated studies of writing, and research on local language practices; and describes the stakes of this project for writing studies and related fields. In Chapter 2, I move into the “Methodology and Methods” of the study. Chapter 3, “Networked Localism,” focuses on how people write and circulate local English-only policies, through text histories of four policies that were based on the same template. In Chapter 4, “Upscaling and Downscaling,” I turn from writing practices to language ideologies, in order to show that, rather than adhere to a “one nation-one language” ideal, people in the English-only movement flexibly align across, and distance themselves from, various scales. The fifth chapter, “Resisting and Rewriting,” focuses on the experiences and strategies of people opposed to the English-only movement. Through a case study of a group of participants who successfully repealed their county’s language policy, this analysis offers a model for future language advocacy by showing the possibilities of meshing multilingual, translingual, and raciolinguistic orientations towards language. Ultimately, this dissertation opens up the worlds of policymaking, prescriptivism, and English-only activism to more situated, discursive analysis, and the field of writing studies to a kind of writing that has significantly shaped American identity, education, and citizenship.
Issue Date:2017-05-01
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Katherine S. Flowers
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-09-29
Date Deposited:2017-08

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Item Statistics