Sociolinguists study how language serves and is shaped by the social nature of human beings. In this field, interacting with the public, and even what is meant by that term is subject to extensive discussion.
“Publics” is an overarching concept that includes the public sphere, the audience, and academia. DCU researcher Iker Erdocia aims to investigate the relationship of sociolinguists with the publics in Catalonia and to disentangle the complex interrelationships among academics within the discipline. Co-authored with the University of Stockholm’s Josep Soler, the paper examines material from mainstream media outlets and data from interviews with a selected number of sociolinguist scholars.
Rather than seeing the engagement of sociolinguists with publics as a disinterested activity of knowledge dissemination and the provision of facts, the research argues that the publics are better conceived as a terrain toward which sociolinguists direct institutional, disciplinary, and professional interests. Ultimately, the article contributes to a more encompassing understanding of ourselves as sociolinguists.