Browsing by Author "Venter, Dawid Johannes"
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- ItemLanguage, nation and congregation : world-system and world-polity perspectives on language integration in South African churches(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 1999-11) Venter, Dawid Johannes; Groenewald, C. J.; Kritzinger, A. S.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Sociology & Social Anthropology.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The study is a theoretical excursus in the political sociology of language which discusses how features of the world-polity and world-economy intersect in such a way within the current world system as to affect linguistic practices in the religious domain in South Africa. Language practice in congregations provide the empirical data for this discussion. Data was collected through a survey of 60 racially integrated and multilingual Christian congregations from nine denominations across South Africa. Levels of linguistic and racial integration were measured according to an integration index, which shows that racial integration of these congregations is far more advanced than linguistic integration. The dominance of English over indigenous languages became evident in all cases. This pattern is interpreted in terms of global institutional factors which support the dominance of English. The theory of John Meyer, John Boli, and colleagues forms the central analytical framework, in which global norms are perceived to create isomorphism across nation-states. These insights are combined with others from world-economy and globalization theories. Accordingly, formal and popular, global and local ideologies are seen to articulate with one other, so contributing to cultural and structural isomorphism across state and civil institutions. In particular I suggest that a language ideology which favours English operates among elites as well as among the general populace. Consequently English is regarded, globally as locally, as a language of access to employment, commerce and status. For this reason isomorphism between linguistic practices which devalues indigenous languages is visible between South Africa and other African nation-states. A similar isomorphism between linguistic ideology and practices also occurs between institutions within South Africa. The emerging hegemony of English in South Africa is connected to similar processes operating elsewhere, and so can be linked to features of the world system. The diffusion of core cultures, which accompanied the expansion of the world-economy, continues to occur through the adoption of global mass education and religious institutions by non-core states. Along with the dispersement of the Western model of the nation-state came the increasing importance of having a constitution as foundation stone. Language rights were instituted in constitutions as part of the globalization of human rights, as happened in South Africa. Compared to the previous constitution, the latter reflects the increasing integration of South Africa into the world polity and its global norms of equality. As globalization produces heterogeneity and homogeneity, the dominant trend towards linguistic homogeneity (English) is countered by a weaker option for inclusion of multilingualism (e.g. through accommodation of indigenous languages). In Africa this produces African-Western individuals, lending some support to the notion that globalization produces hybridization.