Words, People and Place: Linguistics Meets Popular Geopolitics
Carsten Levisen & Susana S. Fernández
The language of everyday life is thick with geopolitical meaning. Everyday words, grammars, and stories are full of significant postulates about what the world is like. Habitual thinking about the world, its people and places, is guided by conceptual categories, created through, and supported by linguistic patterns and practices.
The language of everyday life allows many specific ways of conceptualizing and imagining people in places, but linguistics, the main discipline concerned with the study of the world’s languages, has not always seen and envisioned this link to geopolitics clearly. Due to the hesitant role of linguistics, the role of language(s) in geopolitical knowledge production has often been left to be studied by scholars of other disciplines. Stepping up to the challenge, we have in this volume invited linguists who work in many different areas and through different approaches to contribute to the emerging interdiscipline called ‘Popular Geopolitics’ (Saunders & Strukov 2018). The core idea behind this interdiscipline is that “geopolitical knowledges”, i.e. what people know and think about places (territories, cities, countries, etc.), and about people in these places (belonging, power relations, social cognition, etc.), is not only determined by the conceptualizations of diplomats, pundits, politicians, and political scientists, but just as much by everyday discourses and popular culture.