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As far as the eye can see : Urban bias in South African linguistic research

Title data

Turner, Irina:
As far as the eye can see : Urban bias in South African linguistic research.
In: Sociolinguistic Studies. Vol. 14 (2020) Issue 3 . - pp. 257-275.
ISSN 1750-8649
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1558/sols.38789

Abstract in another language

Urban bias remains a debated topic in South Africa in many spheres of society. Due to the logic of apartheid, ‘rural’ came to mean ‘black’; or in post-apartheid-speak ‘previously disadvantaged’. Up to today, the effects of long-term structural and systematic disadvantaging are quite tangible in the country. Though in parts also applicable to urban settings, poverty, insufficient infrastructure and lack of access are largely foremost still a problem of the rural – and mostly black – population. These structural imbalances are purported through a number of social fields including academia. Often, studies are conducted where access and conveniences are close and risks impeding the successful completion of research projects are low. While the tendency to consider feasibility in research is not per se questionable, the total body of research projects and results might foreground a distorted reflection of South Africa’s sociolinguistic landscape. Binary categories of urban/rural, however, carry a certain bias within themselves and are thus not comfortably fitting in a South African context but call for deconstruction. On this background, the chapter presents a critical review of 135 scholarly articles (2010–2017) from the eminent linguistic journal Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies examined for traces of urban bias in the research set up and weighs the results in the light of the current socio-political situation in South Africa.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: urban bias; South Africa; sociolinguistic research; Southern African
Linguistics and Applied Language Studies; research bias; rural
multilingualism
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature
Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature > Chair African Studies I > Chair African Studies I - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Gabriele Sommer
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > African Studies
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 400 Language > 410 Linguistics
400 Language > 490 Other languages
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2021 11:08
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2021 11:08
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/63158