, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 241-256
Date: 11 Jul 2010

Orwellian doublethink: keywords in Luxembourgish and European language-in-education policy discourses

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Abstract

This paper examines how language-in-education policies in European Union member-states have been influenced by EU policies, and how an identical cluster of keywords—which includes in particular diversity, social cohesion, integration, as well as exclusion as their negative counterpart—emerges from and informs language-in-education policies both in Luxembourg and other European countries. It will be shown how these keywords frequently refer, in the spirit of Orwellian doublethink, to something very different from, or even the opposite of, what they are usually taken to mean. Thus diversity, which is enshrined in the EU motto of ‘unity in diversity’, is often used in practice to uphold the dominant national cultures of monoglossia and homogeneism. The other keyword of the EU motto, social unity or cohesion, is also frequently invoked to justify practices that actually reinforce segregation and exclusion. Similar comments apply to the related keyword of integration, which has often been embraced uncritically by researchers. The analysis will explore in what ways these discourses of Luxembourgish and European language-in-education policy have a hegemonic and disempowering effect upon large numbers of students.