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Special theme 2021
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THE CALL FOR PAPERS IS NOW OPEN

The Pragmatics of Inclusion

Current societies, both in Europe and elsewhere, are experiencing rifts in terms of societal

and linguistic diversity and struggle with inclusion, as exemplified by the controversial discourses (and actions) on gender equality – e.g. the #metoo - #wetoo campaigns – and migration.

As language experts and scholars in pragmatics, we are involved in the processes, policies and practices of diversity and inclusion. How are we contributing to inclusion? How can Pragmatics in theory, analyses and practices contribute to societal inclusion? How will pragmatics shape an in-clusive future for humankind and our planet?

While categories of diversity are most crucially understood to comprise gender, physical or mental impairments, age, language, ethnicity and religion, inclusion needs yet to become established as an unequivocal term entailing shared practices and knowledge. In most societies, a heightened need to implement diversity in social domains such as work force, politics, education and public services, is confronted with a struggle for inclusive strategies and for inclusion of those identifying with disadvantaged societal groups. As linguists and trained language experts, we take part in the growing need for decision making and the evaluation of measures, along with specialists from governmental institutions, public and private organizations and stake holders. How are we going to live and work in a world that is highly diverse in terms of languages, societies and practices of social (inter)action, when our understanding of inclusion, and inclusive practices in the face of diversity is still scarce? How can inclusion surpass ‘integration’ and encompass the aspects of active participation in society?

In Pragmatics, there is a longstanding tradition of theory and research into linguistic and societal diversity, as is reflected by recent IPrA topics on pragmatics in the real world, language adaptability and linguistic pluralism, as well as linguistics of the margins. The proposed topic aims at taking further this strain of thought and seeks to open ways of understanding and furthering a pragmatics and linguistics of inclusion. Drawing on pragmatic research into language, multilingualism, linguistic resources, language practices and social action, the focus is on issues of inclusion with a view on measures and theories encompassing all kinds of needs in social (inter)action, generating positive effects and new options for societal integration, social cohesion, and reflecting ideas of universal design.

The proposed topic is understood to cover research on inclusion and studies of inclusive language use in social interaction, such as:

-  gender linguistics

-  barrier-free communication

-  intercultural linguistics and pragmatics

-  pragmatics of countering the digital divide

-  practices of and needs for inclusive language use in institutions, official language use

-  accessibility of public services and accessible education

-  standardizing easy (to read) and simplified languages

-  language use and linguistic professionalization in medical, health and care professions

-  pragmatics of specific language modes and modalities, such as sign languages augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)

-  the status of minority and migrant languages in education, public health, care institutions,

 as well as the following areas and domains:

-  politics and practices of multilingualism

-  linguistic enablement for society and the workplace

-  multilingual communication modes, including translation, community interpreting etc.

-  big data and corpus linguistics with a view to minority languages in our societies

-  issues of conflicting varieties and standardization
-  
discourse linguistics and analyses, ethics of discourse and communication


While
all the above might look like only a macro-level of analysis would be within the focus of the special theme, one of the explicit goals is to demonstrate how pragmatic analyses at a micro-level can contribute to an understanding of macro-level issues. This makes the traditional openness of the International Pragmatics Conferences to all topics within the science of language use all the more relevant.