This paper investigates the fluctuating value of Arabic when constructed as a linguistic resource for multilingual, “languaged” workers in a counselling centre for refugees in Austria and in an international humanitarian agency operating in ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. Drawing on a variety of ethnographic data (observations, interviews and documents), our analyses of the institutionalised division of labour and of workers’ narrative positioning show how workers in both organisations discursively construct this linguistic resource as being of ambivalent value in their positioning vis-à-vis their colleagues, for their careers and in work interactions. Stratifying and empowerment effects are interwoven in the varying and coexisting values of Arabic.
|Number of pages||25|
|Journal||International Journal of the Sociology of Language|
|Publication status||Published - 17 Aug 2020|