Gloto[economiá]política - Language under Capitalist (Trans)Formations

Multilingualism in institutions and society
Project management:
01.2017 to 12.2019

Laura Villa (Queens College CUNY) and Jose del Valle (The Graduate Center – CUNY)



This collaborative project aims at moving beyond common and acritical assumptions about capitalism and language that tend to take them for granted, without sufficiently interrogating their historical development, their heterogeneous manifestations in time and space, or their complicated interrelationship. We believe instead that a thorough exploration of the co-relation of language and capitalism is needed in order to grasp how, where, why, to what extent, with what consequences, and for whom capitalist transformation and shifting linguistic values impact the lives of speakers. A focus on capitalism enables a historical and empirical investigation of the intrinsic link between language and the political economy while also opening the field to exploring (1) the various ways that states, across different capitalist periods, engage in regulating and policing citizenship through language (education and immigration policies, language “academies”); (2) the impact of shifting modes of production and consumption on the value allocated to languages and speakers (labor forces, global consumers, etc.); (3) the role of (post)colonial economic relations and competitive linguistic regimes in the making of subaltern speaking subjects; (4) alternative political economic models and their linguistic imagination (i.e. counter-linguistic-imperialist movements, international auxiliary languages, etc.); and (5) the role of language (linguistic competence, bundles of skills, linguistic ideologies) in the uneven circulation (or mooring) of people, goods, and knowledge.