Special Issue Finally in Print

After almost two years in the making, our special issue of Language Policy, co-edited with Tom Ricento and Peter Ives, on language policy and political theory is finally out and in print (vol. 13:4). Contributors include Daniel Weinstock (“The Complex Foundations of Language Policy”), Stephen May (“Contesting Public Monolingualism and Diglossia: Rethinking Political Theory and Language Policy for a Multilingual World”), Ronald Schmidt Sr. (“Democratic Theory and the Challenge of Linguistic Diversity”), Tom Ricento (“Thinking about Language: What Political Theorists Need to Know about Language”), Peter Ives (“De-politicizing Language: Obstacles to Political Theory’s Engagement with Language Policy”) and myself (“Normative Language Policy: Interface and Interfences”). Also included are an introduction to the thematic issue and a book review of Van Parijs’ 2011 Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World. Overall, it is a very nice feeling seeing this project finally coming to fruition, and hoping that it will indeed achieve the intended impact on the field.

At the same time, however, it is still frustrating that despite recent progress made in the emerging area of normative language policy, and language ethics more generally (that is, ethical questions beyond the relatively narrow notion of linguistic justice), there still seems to be relatively little work in what is a topic of pivotal importance to most, if not all, contemporary political debates, such as nationalism, multiculturalism, immigration, democracy and difference etc. It has been over 10 years now since Kymlicka and Patten’s Language Rights and Political Theory, and 3 years since Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World. Encouragingly, many important, insightful and interesting contributions (workshops, articles, special issues, monographs) are now underway by an increasing number of researchers in widening circles, working to link normative political theory and language in a number of ways (e.g. normative language policy, intellectual history of language, cross-linguistic political epistemology). Let us hope that the picture will be sufficiently different when we next take stock 10 years from now.