El estudio del paisaje lingüístico de la migración en Milán. Perspectiva etnográfica y localización espacial


Abstract – The Linguistic Landscape (LL) of Milan reflects the trends of global international migration in this city, which since the 90s has received a massive wave of immigrants from over 150 countries seeking economic opportunity. The city, thus, is characterized by the transnationalization of the labour force (Sassen 2005), which has created translocal communities and identities, spatially mixed in a polycentric pattern. Over time, a growing number of immigrants started their own shops, becoming participants in the LL and building a complex network of relationships with their communities, the host society and other migrant groups. In this superdiversity context (Vertovec 2007), the bottom-up texts on the storefronts demonstrate how shop owners affirm their identities and the relative status of their communities within the LL (Landry, Bourhis 1997; Bagna et al. 2007; Blommaert 2013), creating new linguistic, symbolic, cultural and social spaces (Cenoz, Gorter 2006; Calvi 2016). This paper builds on a previous analysis of the main communication strategies deployed in the commercial LL of migrants in three neighborhoods of Milan (Uberti-Bona 2016), furthering the study of the variables implied. Actors compose their multimodal displays through consideration of their shops’ positions, both in terms of spatial localization on the street and of social relation to the surrounding urban, demographic, and commercial context. The respective roles played by these and other factors can be better ascertained investigating the actors’ intentionality through interviews about their migratory and working experiences, and about their choices in the production of the LL. The paper thus combines the previous etic analysis of two examples of LL with the study of their spatial context and with the emic point of view expressed by the shop owners in three one-on-one, unstructured, interviews.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v25p173

Keywords: Linguistic Landscape; language and identity; migration; shop signs; Milan


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