Confirmation of Candidature - Lanting Wang

Wed 16 Feb 2022 2:00pm


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The economics of Chinese as a heritage language in Australia: An ethnographic exploration.


While interest in the economic value of languages has generated substantial literature since the 1960s, this literature has mainly focused on the societal language whereas much less attention has been paid to the case of heritage languages (HLs). Moreover, most of it has grounded in econometric models based on the assumptions of rational choice, ignoring the embeddedness of human agency and experiences in specific social contexts. Using Chinese immigrants engaged in ethnic economy as research participants, this study deploys an ethnographic approach to examine the economic significance of Chinese as a heritage language (CHL) in the Australian context. Data will be collected through qualitative interviews and ethnographic fieldwork. The former will be used to document the participants' reflective discourses of their pre-and pro-migration economic trajectories, while the latter will record their practices of managing their language repertoires in workplace. The research is framed in an interdisciplinary framework in which the Bourdieusian concepts of capital, habitus and field are fundamental while insights from migration studies are also incorporated to better suit the context of migration. Particular attention will be given to the mechanisms through which CHL is capitalized by the participants to serve their economic well-being. The research is expected to make theoretical and empirical contributions to the existing literature and deepen our understanding of the interrelationship between language, economics and society in a globalised world, which may be appealing to both scholars and policymakers concerning language related issues.

Dr Obaid Hamid  (Principal)
Dr Wendy Jiang (School of Languages and Cultures)


Dr Simone Smala (Chair)

Dr Minglin Li (Griffith University)

Date: Wednesday 16 February 2022                             

Time: 2:00 pm

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All HDR candidates and staff are welcome to attend this presentation