Comprender la sociedad a través del lenguaje: una nueva mirada sobre los grupos sociales y la integración

Jan Blommaert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


In this essay, Belgian sociolinguist Jan Blommaert holds that the empirical base of sociolinguistics, as well as its focus on interaction patterns within communities, can be a rich source for new theoretical directions in social sciences and humanities. Specifically, Blommaert discusses classic - and also less conventional- conceptualizations of the theory of social groups and the theory of social integration to point out the need for innovation based on the insights from sociolinguistic research focusing on online/offline interactions and the identity effects they trigger. Firstly, the article highlights the need to study "light" social groups along with the "solid" groups (defined by features such as class or ethnicity) of classic sociological theory, illustrating this with reference to research on light multimodal practices (such as network literacy) which lead to new contemporary forms of social cohesion. Secondly, it suggests that classic views of social integration, entailing immigrants' full integration into their host community, should be reconsidered in the light of new modes of integration in diasporic contexts enabled by new information technologies. To support this claim, Blommaert draws on research showing immigrants' various degrees of integration in different communities located across the world, achieved through a wide range of technological devices and superdiverse communicative repertoires. These two arguments confirm, in the author's view, the potential of contemporary sociolinguistics -firmly grounded on empirical analyses of multimodal practices and interactions- to describe the processes, formations and structures that constitute the object of social sciences.

Original languageSpanish
Pages (from-to)37-54
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • identity performance
  • multimodal practices
  • online sociolinguistics
  • online/offline interface
  • patterns of social interaction
  • social theory

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