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David Karlander


David Karlander studies language and communication. His research covers topics in intellectual history, sociolinguistics, semiology and the philosophy of language. He currently investigates uses and visions of auxiliary languages in political thought, mainly during the first half of the 20th century. He has previously published on minority language politics, graffiti, the history of linguistics, and the idea of deficit in theories of bilingualism.​

At the Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Karlander will be studying visions of unity in linguistic thought. His project takes interest in how and why ideas of unity – of order, systematicity and coherence – appear to precipitate in seemingly antagonistic conceptualizations of language and communication. Karlander will engage mainly with the intellectual history of socially invested language studies (e.g. sociolinguistics, applied linguistics), with the concept of critique in linguistics, and with the use of auxiliary languages for political ends. In addition to publishing on these topics, he will also finalize a study on the pursuit of semiotic unity under anti-graffiti regimes.

Karlander holds degrees from Uppsala University (BA, MA) and Stockholm University (PhD).

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Recent publications

Karlander, D. 2021. The past is a future priority. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 267/278, 137–141.

Karlander, D. 2021. Cities of sociolinguistics. Social Semiotics 31(1), 177–193. 

Salö, L., Karlander, D. 2021. Semilingualism: The life and afterlife of a sociolinguistic idea. In Yamamoto, M. (Ed.) Contemporary Studies in Bilingualism and Multilingualism, volume 2, pp. 287–304. London: Sage.

Karlander, D. 2020. When political institutions use sociolinguistic concepts. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 263, 13–18.

Karlander, D. 2020. Ideological indeterminacy: Worker Esperantism in 1920s Sweden. Language & Communication 71, 95–107.

Salö, L., & Karlander, D. In press. The travels of semilingualism: Itineraries of ire, impact, and infamy. In Q. Williams, A. Deumert, T. Milani (Eds.) Multilingualism and Linguistic Citizenship. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Karlander, D. 2019. A semiotics of nonexistence? Erasure and erased writing under anti-graffiti regimes. Linguistic Landscapes 5(2), 198–216.

Karlander, D. 2018. The linguistic prerequisites for cultural analysis: Lars Levander’s reocentric ethnographies of Swedish peasant life and language. Signs and Society 6(3), 504–530.

Karlander, D. 2018. State categories, state vision and vernacular woes in Sweden’s language politics. Language Policy 17(3), 343–363.

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