Imaginations of 'justice' and 'language' affect speakers' senses of belonging. These are experienced, expressed and enacted verbally in legal, political and social arenas, which the panel will analyse discursively and ethno-linguistically. Normative methods and researchers' ethics will be discussed.
'Justice' relies on the political imagination to conceive of 'fair' social arrangements. The workings of justice are conducted verbally, often depending on public speeches or legal interrogations. Anthropology produces wide-ranging research on how justice is constructed and served - or not - in words: from gender performance in Japan, to the jargon of central bank managers during financial crises, to asylum hearings in Belgium. Such studies describe and explain how 'justice' is arranged socially in ways that make emic sense to the subjects of the research. Meanwhile, discourse analysis provides normative determinations of 'unjust' speech with general, etically observed, political implications. Scholarship with such tools ascertained, for instance, that scientists' communicative failures led to inaction on global warming, or that discrimination against migrants was enabled discursively.
The Language, Justice and Belonging panel posits that imaginations of 'justice' and 'language' affect communal and individual senses of belonging in various ways. The panel welcomes abstract submissions for presentations in the sister disciplines of linguistic anthropology and discourse analysis, with the aim of discussing ideas on the incorporation of nuanced normative stances, aligned with scholars' ethical responsibilities, in analyses of linguistic material on 'justice'. Presentation topics may cover: campaigns on language/educational policies and practices, court proceedings current and historical, discursive aspects of social justice or international law, and more. The convenors build on their experience of organising the Language, Indexicality and Belonging (2016) and Language, Mobility and Belonging (2017) conferences to form a coherent panel that will foster debate and encourage publication.