Albert Bastardas publica “Language policy and planning as an interdisciplinary field: towards a complexity approach”
Font: Taylor & Francis
One of the dangers that we should be aware of when we study issues of language policy and planning is the fragmentary perspective by which they can be approached. Reality, by contrast, is interrelated and overlapping. This is why a complexity perspective stresses the importance of studying the contexts of phenomena, that is to say, their external relations. The direction to be followed here leads towards a better understanding of reality as a set of open systems that are in continuous exchange with the surrounding ecosystem, bearing in mind always that any apparent stability is the result of a dynamic equilibrium. Making headway towards an interdisciplinary approach is therefore necessary and imperative.
Headings such as status/normative/institution vis-à-vis others such as solidarity/normal/individual seem to imply a basic distinction in the definition of sociocultural reality. To discover and understand the dynamics of the interaction between these two major categories is, in fact, one of the most important subjects waiting to be addressed by language planning and policy strategies and more broadly by sociolinguistics. An interrelated set of guiding questions for the field could thus be stated as follows: What group or organisation, in pursuit of what overall objective or intention, wants to achieve what, where, how and when; and what do they actually achieve, and why? With this approach, even if how a group or organisation obtains its desired goal – that is, its actual intervention – is included as one of the main elements in a piece of research, the research will not focus exclusively on this topic, but will frame the intervention and identify how it is interrelated with all the other elements involved globally in this phenomenon, trying to establish a clear theoretical understanding of the entire interwoven set of events and processes.