Languaging Class: Reflecting on the Linguistic Articulations of Structural Inequalities

Claudia Ortu, Francesco Bachis (Eds.)

by Carmen Ciancia (Università degli Studi di Salerno, Italy), Siria Guzzo (Università degli Studi di Salerno, Italy), Jessica Sierk (St. Lawrence University, Canton - New York), Lucia Avallone (University of Bergamo, Italy), Claudia Ortu (University of Cagliari, Italy), Maria Cristina Aiezza (Università degli Studi di Napoli ‘L’Orientale’, Italy), Antonio Maria Pusceddu (CRIA/ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon, Portugal)

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This timely and innovative book, exploring the issue of social class from the point of view of its linguistic articulations, is a welcome contribution to a much-needed reflection on a pivotal topic for several disciplines and fields of inquiry. The substantial introduction and the seven chapters endorse this by offering a variety of case studies, including distinct cultural settings, which expand into diverse textual genres. […] an invitation to re-think ‘class’ as a meaningful methodological and operational tool to interpret and make sense of contemporary societal life and dynamics, both from a strategic academic and political point of view. This book will certainly appeal to sociolinguists, anthropologists, political theorists and practitioners, and those engaging in literary studies and students of these disciplines and fields of research.

Dr. Cosimo Zene
Professor Emeritus in the Study of Religions and World Philosophies,
School of History, Religions and Philosophies
SOAS, University of London

This volume explores the issue of social class from the point of view of its linguistic articulations. Indeed, as Machin and Richardson (2008) stated, “discourses may be variously approached as (often simultaneously) reflecting class structures, as a site of class inequalities, as expressive of class identities or class consciousness and/or as a constituent part of more performative class action.” Some of the contributions that make up the volume were presented at a conference held at Cagliari University, Italy, in 2017 and responded to the call for analyses on the role of language in reflecting, maintaining, enacting, and inculcating ideas on social class in literary and non-literary texts and discourses in any cultural or linguistic setting. This volume aspires to encourage scholars in disciplines and academic fields that have shied away from reflections on structural inequalities in favor of studies on ethnic, gender, and cultural identities in the last decades to take back on board the concept of social class and to engage with it in a novel way. The variety of approaches – ranging from the more traditional sociolinguistic one, anthropology, to literary and discourse studies – and cultural settings – with case studies coming from 3 continents – represented in the chapters show that social class is a productive and illuminating concept for trying to (re)make sense of social reproduction and change.

List of Figures
List of Tables

Class on board! Reflecting on the linguistic articulations of structural inequalities
Francesco Bachis and Claudia Ortu
Università degli Studi di Cagliari

Chapter 1 Social Class and Phonological Variation: The Case of T-Glottaling in Cockney
Carmen Ciancia
Università degli Studi di Salerno

Chapter 2 Gender and Social Class: A Variationist Phonological Analysis of Gay Language in London
Siria Guzzo
Università degli Studi di Salerno

Chapter 3 “Here it’s more of a get-by” Social Class as the “Bigger Challenge” of the New Latinx Diaspora
Jessica Sierk
St. Laurence University, Canton

Chapter 4 New Realism, Language Variation, and Egyptian Society
Lucia Avallone
University of Bergamo

Chapter 5 The Complex Articulations of Class and Race in a South African Novel: Coconut by Kopano Matlwa
Claudia Ortu
Università degli Studi di Cagliari

Chapter 6 The Twitter Crier: A Comparative Discourse Analysis of How British Grocery Retailers Target Their Market Through Microblogging
Maria Cristina Aiezza
Università degli Studi di Napoli L’Orientale

Chapter 7 A Matter of Class? Environmental Conflict and the Vernacular Politics of the Commons
Antonio Maria Pusceddu
Centro em Rede de Investigação em Antropologia (CRIA), ISCTE-IUL


Claudia Ortu (Ph.D., University of Naples, Federico II) is a researcher in English Language and Translation at the University of Cagliari in Italy. She worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Johannesburg for two years. She has studied British and South African political and neoliberal discourses, with a special focus on the discourse of neoliberal governments on trade unions. She is the author of the monograph 'Industrial Relations and Conservative Governments in the Eighties' (Arcane, 2012) and of various articles, among which: "At the Intersection of Class and Race: Languaging and Picturing Diversity in Post-Apartheid South Africa" (2015); "Trade Unions in South Africa and the Discourse of the Neoliberal State" (2015); and "Saps-Speak: The Language of the South African Police in the Postapartheid Era" (2019). Her main research interests are Critical Discourse Analysis, Systemic Functional Linguistics, multimodality, and the language of Neoliberalism and trade unions.

Francesco Bachis (Ph.D., University of Siena) is Senior Research Fellow (RTD-B) in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Cagliari, Italy. Currently, he is carrying on a research project about heritage-making and memories in Southwest Sardinia and fieldwork on the use of the social network TikTok by the so-called “second generation” of migrants in Italy. Among his publications: "Transnational Migration in Sardinia. Reflecting on Belongings and Symbolic Boundaries" (2016); "Mobilities, Boundaries, Religions: Remarks on comparative research in the Mediterranean" (2014); and 'Sull’orlo del pregiudizio. Razzismo e islamofobia in una prospettiva antropologica' (2018). His main research interests are Symbolic Boundaries in Transnational Migrations, Racism and Islamophobia in Europe, Visual Ethnography, and Mining Anthropology.

Discourse Analysis, World Literature, Marxism, Class, Ethnography, Linguistics

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Languaging Class: Reflecting on the Linguistic Articulations of Structural Inequalities





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm

Publication date

February 2023