Language Policy and the Promotion of Peace

Authors

Neville Edward Alexander (ed)

Synopsis

This book brings together the contributions of twelve scholars engaged in language activism, in research and in promoting peace. The writers are keenly attuned to the potentially genocidal consequences of language differences. In the articles they have written, they make compelling cases for indigenous non-hegemonic languages to be used and promoted, not only as a means of communication but to preserve the multilingual communities inhabiting the world. The book is a product of a collegial effort resulting from a symposium on Language Policy and the Promotion of Peace or the Prevention of Conflict, which was held at the University of Osnabrück, Germany, in 2011. While many different 'angles of vision', positions, approaches and emphases are argued in the contributors' commentaries and in their case studies, the twelve scholars and activists are united in their call for a multilingual global habitus. Neville Edward Alexander, the principal editor of this compilation, spent about 30 years studying and making policy proposals about the language question in South Africa. In that country, eleven languages are officially recognised by the post-apartheid government, and yet only two, English and Afrikaans, enjoy high-status functions in official communications. Alexander persistently called for mother-tongue instruction for children in their formative years of schooling. Sadly, this radical scholar and acknowledged sociologist of language died of lung cancer while he was working on this volume in 2012. Arnulf von Scheliha, the co-editor of this compilation, is professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Osnabrück in Germany. His main research topics are political ethics, interreligious hermeneutics, history of theology, and transformation of religion in pluralistic societies. He was the main organiser of the symposium that brought international scholars together to reflect on language policy and the promotion of peace, and that provided the wide-ranging 'raw material' for this book.

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Author Biographies

Neville Edward Alexander

The late Dr Neville Alexander is recognised as a renowned expert in his study field and published and lectured widely. As acclaimed linguist, academic and anti-apartheid struggle veteran, he worked as the Western Cape director of the South African Committee for Higher Education (SACHED) for six years from 1980, which led to the establishment of a leading alternative higher education initiative called Khanya College. He subsequently established the National Language Project (NLP) and then PRAESA. SACHED provided Dr Alexander with the opportunity for exploring the concept of alternative education.

Arnulf Von Scheliha, Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster

Prof Arnulf von Scheliha  is a theologian attached to the Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster. He has lectured and published widely. His main research topics are political ethics, interreligious hermeneutics, history of theology, and transformation of religion in pluralistic societies. He was the main organiser of the symposium that brought international scholars together to reflect on language policy and the promotion of peace, and that provided the wide-ranging 'raw material' for this book.

Cover for Language Policy and the Promotion of Peace
Published
June 30, 2014