Maegaard nwav 39


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  • Danish society is an interesting lab when it comes to investigating processes of distinction making in late modernity. Social positions are not inherited or stable – rather, they’re negotiated, constructed and re-constructed through engagement in distinct social practices. Since level of income and to some extent educational level are no longer crucial to positioning in social space, we must look deeper into the making of symbolic capital.
    The values ascribed to categories and social positions are not necessarily the same at different levels in society, or in different fields. As this presentation has hopefully demonstrated, symbolic capital is a very local phenomenon. This means that if we want to examine links between constructions of class and ethnicity, for instance, as in this paper, we need to be aware of the local relations between classifications, practices and valorisations.
    At the same time, the local community does not exist in a vacuum, but is in different ways related to larger structures of society.
    We have also seen in the presented studies that speakers belonging to the ”foreigner” categories are the most advanced speakers with regard to innnovative variants.
    So, are they actually taking over the role of the former Low Copenhagen speakers? I don’t think we can say quite that on basis of the analyses. These groups of kids are quite highly ranked in their communities with respect to different types of symbolic capital, and at the same time they have, in some ways, a quite positive orientation towards school. This makes them very different from the former working class children, who could be said to – stereotypically, since we don’t have any older studies of this - have a high amount of symbolic capital in terms of toughness, confidence, solidarity, etc. But who could NOT be said to have a high amount of cultural capital with respect to school achievement. This way, the ”foreigners” perform a new role in their communities, combining social and cultural values of formerly different domains.
  • Maegaard nwav 39

    1. 1. “New” classifications and social positioning: clusters, distinctions, and practice Marie Maegaard Department of Dialectology & the Lanchart Centre University of Copenhagen
    2. 2. Denmark and Copenhagen Population in Denmark: 5,500,000 Covers an area of 43.000 km2 Population in greater Copenhagen: 1,700,000 Language: Danish
    3. 3. The Danish state: From absolute monarchy to democracy In 1660 the king Frederik III declared Denmark an absolute monarchy  A very centralised power in Copenhagen, politically and culturally  The language of the capital became the prestige norm, the “rigsmål” The “Almueskolelov” (1814)  a much larger group of literate persons in Denmark, and the literacy produced standard norms, norms of the “rigsmål”  Up through the 19th and 20th century the strength of local dialects decreased ed as people began to speak the standard language, the “rigsmål”
    4. 4. In Copenhagen Two varieties: High Copenhagen and Low Copenhagen The city grew increasingly but on limited space, and became more and more densely populated 1850, the fortification earthworks were torn down, city expanded rapidly 1849, constitutional monarchy By the mid/end of the 19th century high and low Copenhagen stood as strong as ever, but since then the distinction between them has diminished
    5. 5. Language change in Danish in the 20th century Changes spreading from Low Copenhagen to High Copenhagen and to the language spoken in the rest of the country (Brink & Lund 1975, Jørgensen 1980, Kristensen 1978, Jørgensen & Kristensen 1994, Nielsen & Nyberg 1988) High and Low Copenhagen sociolects? - - - People who were measured higher on traditional socio-economic scales picked up linguistic practices that used to be used primarily by people who were measured lower on these scales  The differences between the speech of (measured) upper and lower classes were decreased
    6. 6. Copenhagen 2010
    7. 7. Danish society today Constitutional monarchy One of the wealthiest countries in the world One of the most economically equal countries in the world Redistribution of income by taxation Progressive taxation (up to 60%), 25% VAT Social mobility Free education for all (State Education Fund) Childcare (85% of 1-2 year olds, 97% of 3-5 year olds in institutions) Public schools (86% of all children, 6-15 years old)
    8. 8. Class Is class important? Class as an analytic concept, the structural model: Society as stratified into distinct social classes (e.g. Labov) “the question with which all sociology ought to begin” is “that of the existence […] and mode of existence of collectives” (Bourdieu 1991: 250)  boundaries must be understood in terms of social practices rather than theoretical conjecture
    9. 9. Bourdieu’s concept of class Both economic and symbolic aspects of class Field Capital – economic, cultural, social Habitus
    10. 10. The new lower class in late modernity? Globalisation, mobility  Unskilled migrants constitute a new marginalised class in society (e.g. Baumann 1998, Habermas 1996) Critique: This view reveals a post-colonial white perspective on society, and it produces the phenomenon that it claims to be opposing (Genova 2006, Goldberg 1993, Wacquant 2008)
    11. 11. New studies of youth in Copenhagen Staunæs 2004 Quist 2005 Maegaard 2007 Madsen 2008 Stæhr 2010 Ag 2010
    12. 12. Dias 12 Girls, boys, “foreigners” and “Danes” in the City School, Maegaard 2007
    13. 13. Frequency of two variants, Madsen 2008
    14. 14. Dias 14 Popularity index Name # pupils mentioning the person as popular Louise 30 Rashid 29 Manuel 27 Omar 26 Karim 20 Jeppe 15 Lykke 14 Mille 14 Maja 12 Laura 11 Mira 11 Benn 10
    15. 15. Social positionings in Madsen 2008 Dias 15 01/29/15
    16. 16. School orientation, Stæhr 2010 Mahmoud: fuck dig <jeg er ligeglad mand> [>] fuck you <I don’t care man> [>] Bashaar: <okay temperaturen> [<] stiger så sluk din el <okay the temperature> [<] is rising so turn off your electricity Mahmoud: temperaturen ja den (.) temperaturen ja den <stiger> [>] the temperature yes it’s (.) the temperature yes it’s rising Madiha: <kom nu lav> [<] jeres lektier få en uddannelse (.) rap koran tror I at I får penge for det <come on do> [<] your homework get an education (.) rap koran do you think you’re getting payed for this Bashaar: HVOR MEGET TROR DU JEG FIK I FRANSK I DAG (.) TI (.) HISTORIE FIK JEG TOLV (.) MATEMATIK FIK JEG TI (.) LAD VÆRE MED AT SNAKKE WALLAH WHAT DO YOU THINK I GOT IN FRENCH TODAY (.) TEN (.) HISTORY I GOT TWELVE (.) MATH I GOT TEN (.) STOP TALKING WALLAH (2.0) Madiha: hvor skulle jeg vide det fra (.) øh ja øh I FORHOLD TIL ANDRE HVAD FIK DU MOUD ((kælenavn)) how was I supposed to know (.) ahm well ahm COMPARED TO THE OTHERS WHAT DID YOU GET MOUD Bashaar: Mahmoud fik sgu også ti Mahmoud got bloody ten too Mahmoud: TI (.) I FYSIK OG KEMI (.) TOLV I BIOLOGI TEN (.) IN SCIENCE (.) TWELVE IN BIOLOGY (Wireless recording, Mahmoud and Bashaar, 06.10.09)
    17. 17. School orientation, Madsen 2008
    18. 18. Conclusions  Social class  Social positioning through engagement in practice  Symbolic capital at different levels/fields  New linguistic features in the “Foreigner” category  Linguistic practices of the “Foreigners” – the new Low Copenhagen?