Rethinking Mobility, Space and Language: Multilingual Transnational Skilled Migrants in the UK

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Abstractpeer-review


This paper engages with current research on the impact of globalisation on the politics of language, identity and space (Blommaert 2010; Heller & Duchene 2012). We will present emerging findings from the Bristol-based part of a collaborative WUN project titled Negotiating Multilingual Identities in Migrant Professional Contexts. The data were collected through a series of individual interviews with multilingual employees (EU and non-EU) at a large transnational company with offices in Bristol (UK). The objective of this part of the project was twofold: to create an account of the formal and informal linguistic practices employed within the corporation, and to explore the ways in which the company and its international workforce respond to the challenges of conducting business in a multilingual and multicultural context; and to explore the consequences this has for the linguistic identities of the employees and for the corporate identity of the company. What our findings show is a need for a more nuanced understanding and problematisation of the role that geographical and social space plays in the complex linguistic practices employed by skilled migrants and large transnational corporations in the age of globalisation (cf. Massey 2005). We highlight the multiplicities of the spatial and the context-dependent linguistic flexibility reported by the participants, highlighting the contingency of their professional and personal success on their ability to draw on multilingual resources in business and social interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014
EventSociolinguistics Symposium 20 - University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
Duration: 15 Jun 201418 Jun 2014


ConferenceSociolinguistics Symposium 20

Structured keywords

  • SoE Language Literacies and Education Network


  • sociolinguistics
  • globalisation


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