Statehood, Scale and Hierarchy: History, Language and Identity in Indonesia

Author: Lauren Zentz

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Multilingual Matters
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Against the background of language and nation formation in Indonesia, this book demonstrates how language planning is inseparable from the broader actions of the state, and how postcolonial nationalism and globalization have had profound implications for language use and state actions to control it. Using language planners' texts, national and regional policy statements and the discussions of university English majors, it explores the borders of what can be defined as Indonesian, Javanese and English languages, and how this is informed by ideologies of language and nationalism in contemporary Indonesia. The tensions played out in the book between the ideologically perceived languages around which policies are built and the realities of linguistic performance and the resources of the individual are echoed across the globe, making this book crucial reading for anyone interested in the interplay of language planning and language use. 

Just brilliant. Zentz's analysis is admirably nuanced, fresh and challenging. Her insight compels us to radically reconsider the familiar notions of social identity, institutionalised power, and the politics of languaging in a world dominated by English.

Ariel Heryanto, Monash University, Australia

Lauren Zentz uses sophisticated theory and methods to offer highly accessible, yet incredibly nuanced insights into the relationships between language and globalization. The book offers a brilliant account of university students' ideologies about Indonesian, Javanese, and English, and how these ideologies are mediated by other language ideologies from diverse, constantly changing, and hierarchically organized scales. Zentz has written an instant classic that will secure a space on reading lists for a long time to come.

Zane Goebel, La Trobe University, Australia

Zentz's rigorous scholarship presents a powerful, fine-grained, richly detailed, ethnographically insightful, and theoretically compelling study of language practices and policies situated in the complex web of social, historical, and political dynamics of local, national and global forces in contemporary Indonesia.

Perry Gilmore, The University of Arizona, USA

In this powerfully written book, Lauren Zentz presents both a sociolinguistic ethnography and a sociolinguistic ethnohistory of shifting language positionalities in Indonesia. Against a backdrop of postcoloniality and globalization, she shows how ideology and access work to scale and re-scale linguistic ecologies and communicative repertoires, as languages are "created" and hierarchized in the context of nation-building. Eminently readable, this engaging account charts important new ground in critical applied linguistics and the ethnography of language policy.

Teresa L. McCarty, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

This is a remarkable monograph. Zentz has managed to paint a picture of language
life in contemporary multilingual Indonesia while showing us just how it in many
ways reflects the ideological effects of historical events, some long past and others
less so.

Language Policy (2018) 17

Zentz's "Statehood, Scale and Hierarchy: History, Language and Identity" is an exceptionally insightful ethnographic study exploring the tension between postcoloniality, nationalism and globalisation and its impacts on linguistic patterns in Central Java and Indonesia.

LINGUIST List 29.3947

Statehood, Scale and Hierarchy is highly recommended to scholars working on language policy and planning, the role of English in postcolonial states, and the
relation between discourses and practices around named languages.

Language in Society Vol. 47, Issue 1, February 2018

Lauren Zentz is Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Houston, USA. Her research interests include language policy, language and identity, and nationalism and state formation.

List of Abbreviations



Chapter 1: States, Language(s) and Globalization

Chapter 2: Engineering an Imagined Community

Chapter 3: Locating Languages in Time and Space

Chapter 4: Preserving the Nation: The Threat Beyond our Borders

Chapter 5: The State Marches On

Appendix A


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