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The language of place-making. A mixed-method analysis of the linguistic landscapes

Research project This project focuses on linguistic landscapes (languages on signs, billboards, etc) in a traditionally linguistic rich area of Sweden, Norrland.

This project focuses on linguistic landscapes in a traditionally linguistic rich area of Sweden, Norrland. The aim is to investigate how languages, as they materialize in our surroundings, contribute to the making of public spaces. Through a mixed-methods approach, we will describe and analyze which languages are visible and which are not, and relate these findings to demographic, socio-economic, educational and linguistic characteristics of different spaces. This will enable us to understand how urban and rural places are constructed by the use of majority, indigenous and minority languages.

Head of project

Project overview

Project period:

2019-01-01 2021-12-31


FORMAS (SEK 2 989 400)

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Geography, Department of Language Studies, Humlab

Research area

Digital humanities, Ethnology, Modern languages, Sami studies

Project description

Although the role of languages for inclusion and exclusion has been studied and confirmed in previous research, less research has been conducted about how this comes to expression visually in the landscape.

We will use textual data collected through ethnographic fieldwork with photo documentation and socio-economic data based on register data. Central to our approach is the spatial analysis through a deep map for the exploration of place-making and for visualizing the layers of information. Thereby, this project will provide an evidence-based understanding of the role of languages in relation to specific places and domains, and thereby highlight unnoticed processes of inclusion and exclusion. 

Latest update: 2019-05-17