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Language without Rights$
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Lionel Wee

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199737437

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199737437.001.0001

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Migration and Global Mobility

Migration and Global Mobility

(p.123) 6 Migration and Global Mobility
Language without Rights

Lionel Wee

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on one of the most pressing sociopolitical challenges facing the world today: that of ensuring the well-being and dignity of individuals as they move across the globe in search of a better life. This chapter argues that migration and global mobility pose serious conceptual and practical problems for language rights. Following Jacobson (1997), This chapter shows how many states are acting as ‘midwives’ to international law as they try to accommodate the presence of foreign workers and other aliens within their territories. The chapter argues that both states and the residents within them are best placed to accommodate the challenges posed by immigration and global mobility when the emphasis is on respecting the rights of individuals, interpreted in accordance with international law. As a consequence, the notion of language rights can either be dispensed with or, if retained, interpreted as being borne by individuals (rather than groups).

Keywords:   citizenship, immigrants, mobility, resemiotization, small talk, transnational migration

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