Dr. Robert Train publishes a paper entitled “Contesting Regimes of Variation: Critical Groundwork for Pedagogies of Mobile Experience and Restorative Justice”

January 22, 2021
Robert Train

Robert Train published in the open access online journal Critical Multilingualism Studies: https://cms.arizona.edu/index.php/multilingual/article/view/216

The paper examines the concept of variation and its fraught binary association with standard language as part of the conceptual toolbox and vocabulary for critical language educators and researchers. “Variation” is shown to be imbricated in a historically-contingent metadiscursive regime in language study as scientific description and education supporting problematic speaker identities (e.g., “non/native”, “heritage”, “foreign”) around an ideology of reduction through which complex sociolinguistic and sociocultural spaces of diversity and variability have been reduced to the “problem” of governing people and spaces legitimated and embodied in idealized teachers and learners of languages invented as the “zero degree of observation” (Castro-Gómez 2005; Mignolo 2011) in ongoing contexts of Western modernity and coloniality. This paper explores how regimes of variation have been constructed in a “sociolinguistics of distribution” (Blommaert 2010) constituted around the delimitation of borders—linguistic, temporal, social and territorial—rather than a “sociolinguistics of mobility” focused on interrogating and problematizing the validity and relevance of those borders in a world characterized by diverse transcultural and translingual experiences of human flow and migration. This paper reframes “variation” as mobile modes-of-experiencing-the-world in order to expand the critical, historical, and ethical vocabularies and knowledge base of language educators and lay the groundwork for pedagogies of experience that impact human lives in the service of restorative social justice.


The Journal of Critical Multilingualism Studies https://cms.arizona.edu/index.php/multilingual  is a peer-reviewed, transdisciplinary journal of scholarship on multilingualism, monolingualism, and their related social, cultural, historical, and literary/medial phenomena. Critical Multilingualism Studies invites scholarly contributions from various fields that take stock of collective paradigmatic and discursive developments vis-à-vis multilingualism in recent years. Fields from applied linguistics to Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, from film studies to history, from computational linguistics to political geography, from medical translation to security studies, from religious studies to anthropology have all been posing new and nuanced questions about multilingualism. CMS seeks to offer those fields an opportunity to dialogue with one another across and among various disciplinary conventions and vocabularies, while bearing in mind a diverse scholarly audience.