Detecting social changes in times of Superdiversity: An Ethnographic Linguistic Landscape Analysis of Ostend in Belgium

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Abstract

Superdiversity, on the one hand, calls for new frames, concepts, and methodologies to deal with a fluid reality characterized by rapid (social) changes. On the other hand, we also have a need to broaden our scope beyond the heavy focus on the urban metropolis as the locus of superdiversity. With this paper I want to contribute to the research addressing these challenges by infusing existing research within Linguistic Landscape Studies with a semiotic and ethnographic perspective and add to our existing knowledge of superdiversity by focusing on a ‘small’ Belgian city called Ostend instead of a cosmopolitan world city with millions of inhabitants. I argue that Ethnographic Linguistic Landscape Analysis (ELLA) enables us to describe, quite accurately, rapid social changes in complex superdiverse neighborhoods. Moreover, ELLA enables us to move beyond a mere synchronic picture of superdiverse neighborhoods and sketch a ‘stratigraphy’ and a historical perspective on them.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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