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Language and Power. The Implications of Language for Peace and Development

The Implications of Language for Peace and Development

Birgit Brock-Utne, Gunnar Garbo

Publication Year: 2009

Language is a tool used to express thoughts, to hide thoughts or to hide lack of thoughts. It is often a means of domination. The question is who has the power to define the world around us. This book demonstrates how language is being manipulated to form the minds of listeners or readers. Innocent words may be used to conceal a reality which people would have reacted to had the phenomena been described in a straightforward manner. The nice and innocent concept "cost sharing", which leads our thoughts to communal sharing and solidarity, may actually imply privatization. The false belief that the best way to learn a foreign language is to have it as a language of instruction actually becomes a strategy for stupidification of African pupils. In this book 33 independent experts from 16 countries in the North and the South show how language may be used to legitimize war-making, promote Northern interests in the field of development and retain colonial speech as languages of instruction, languages of the courts and in politics. The book has been edited by two Norwegians: Birgit Brock-Utne is a professor at the University of Oslo and a consultant in education and development. From 1987 until 1992 she was a professor at the University of Dar es Salaam. Gunnar Garbo, author and journalist and former member of the Norwegian Parliament, was the Norwegian Ambassador to Tanzania from 1987 to 1992.

Published by: African Books Collective

Front Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii

This book is intended as a textbook for students in political science, policy studies, peace studies, development studies and socio-linguistics. We also hope it will be of interest for the general public. We have chosen Mkuki na Nyota in Tanzania out...

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Language is Power

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pp. 1-31

Humpty Dumpty in the children’s book Alice in Wonderland written more than a century ago teaches Alice that language is power. It is a question of who has the power to define concepts, to “name the world” as Robert Arnove says in his article...

Language in the Security Discourse

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pp. 33

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International Security, Language and Gender

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pp. 33-47

My role in this volume is to explore the language employed in the conceptualisation and practice of “security.” So I must start by noting that “security”, as discussed in this paper, is actually a very specific, perhaps even odd, use of the term. “Security” itself is a word...

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The Problematic Securitisation Debates

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pp. 48-57

In the post-colonial order of the short 20th century, the political weight of the South derived at least in part from its inclusion into the struggle between East and West. For the South, this inclusion was a blessing and a curse at the same time. It was a...

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Selling Wars

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pp. 58-64

When Hitler’s troops invaded Norway in 1940, their planes spread leaflets in addition to bombs, declaring that the troops came to protect the Norwegian people and secure our freedom and independence. In warfare lies like these are common...

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Feminist Deconstructions of the Wars on Terrorism

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pp. 65-72

The term deconstruction is not intended to suggest a special emphasis upon contemporary deconstructionist or postmodernist theory, with which I have some differences. But feminists were deconstructing masculinist language and...

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Cancer speaks in War Language

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pp. 73-77

I had not been hit by disease until my breast cancer in 1994. With this disease, I entered a world I had never known before which immediately evoked in me violence and war. Throughout my book, Cancer Journeys, I draw consistently on the same...

The Discourse of Globalization

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pp. 79

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Globalization and the Walls

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pp. 79-83

We are being told that Globalization implies a liberty to move everything and everybody everywhere on a global scale. It is a world market for goods, capital, ideas and persons: that is, the freedom to circulate. In reality everything circulates easily...

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Gender, Language and Globalization

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pp. 84-91

While a great deal has been written about Globalization and language, especially the spread and domination of English throughout the world (e.g. see Grin 2001, Sonntag 2003, Brock-Utne 2000, 2005, 2006), relatively few scholars have examined...

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Can Globalization in Nigeria’s Niger Delta Be Humanised for Integration and Development?

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pp. 92-98

This article seeks to understand the most pressing challenge for Africa at this time, Globalization and its related trends. It shows how Globalization limits the capacity of governments to fulfil local demands (employment, education, environment...

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The Impact of Globalization on Knowledge and Security

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pp. 99-106

Present Globalization on the premises of corporate capitalism literally means an all-over-tendency – no region is likely to escape its major trends. One of its aspects is the unjust circles of distribution, against which an indirect counteraction is appearing...

Development Speak

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pp. 107

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The Language of Education and Development

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pp. 107-125

In this chapter, I use a critical perspective to examine some of the language of education and development and the discourses in which that language is embedded. In the next section, I look at overall development discourses, followed by sections that...

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Who Names the World with What Consequences?

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pp. 126-132

In examining policy initiatives that are purported to contribute to improvements in educational equity, quality, and efficiency — the three major challenges facing education systems around the world — it is necessary to take into account who is...

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Whose Education for All? The Need for Teaching Global Governance in the Light of Birgit Brock-Utne’s Findings

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pp. 133-137

The IMF and the WB, however, continued to be the two Western - dominated organisations – from then on – to define globally what development policy in their eyes could be. Both organisations are formally Special Agencies of the United Nations...

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Evolving metaphors of development

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pp. 138-142

During the last 60 years, the strategy and rhetoric of foreign aid has changed every 10 years or so. Successively, there has been massive capital export (big push), top - down diffusion, focusing on the poor, bottom - up participation, recipient ownership...

The Language of Instruction in Africa

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pp. 143

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The Language of Instruction: Conundrum in Africa

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pp. 143-162

Of all the problems we face in African education today, the most nettlesome appears to be the question of language of instruction. In concrete terms, it boils down to the option between a colonially introduced language and a local language, preferably the...

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My Journey to and through a Multilingual Landscape

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pp. 164-171

This is a short recursive reflection on my experience from the multilingual settings which I move across and handle in my way as have done millions of Africans confronted with a multiplicity of languages in their daily life. It means managing...

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French or National Languages as Means of Instruction? Reflections on French Domination and Possible Future Changes

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pp. 172-181

The term francophone is useful on the international scene to distinguish these countries from those who have English, Portuguese, or Arabic as official languages. For colonial powers have left their traces on administration, politics, jurisdiction, education, literature and...

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The start and progress of a Language of Instruction research Project in Africa – the Spirit of Bagamoyo

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pp. 182-195

In 1999 Prof. Birgit Brock-Utne and I met during a Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) Conference in the U.S.A. to consider the possibility of a North-South cooperation on language of instruction policies in Africa. In our years...

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Indigenous Pedagogies and Languages for Peace and Development

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pp. 196-207

The language question is about power—a political choice that lies with governments and global players of geopolitics—aimed at redistributing power, privilege, and resources internationally as well as within an African country. Understanding the...

Indigenous Knowledge, Language and Culture

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pp. 209

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The Other Side of "All": Comparing Global Discourses of Education with a Community’s Strategic Choices - the Case of the Nyae Nyae Ju/’hoansi in Namibia

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pp. 209-220

In her important book, Whose Education for All? The Recolonization of the African Mind (2006), Birgit Brock-Utne examines the relationship between donor countries and education in Africa, and criticises the overemphasis on basic, primary education...

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“Oshinglisha oshapi eyi etia teka”: English, Colonial Power and Education in 20th Century Owambo and 21st century Namibia

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pp. 221-231

The first part of the title, “Oshinglisha oshapi eyi etia teka” or “English is the key that will never be broken” comes from the oldest respondent of a language study, Meme Julia Wambita who, while sitting on the ground of her home in rural...

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Education, Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainable Development in an African Context

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pp. 232-241

The rationale for the focus on the relationship between indigenous knowledge systems and sustainable development in this article is the overall low success rate of earlier Western-based development strategies in assisting the poor to escape their...

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Discoursing E-Value-ation: The Values Dimension

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pp. 242-250

This article compares the inclusion of a values dimension in two apparently very different types of donor-funded evaluation: a classroom impact study of the first Palestinian national curriculum (Avenstrup, Swarts, Abu Humos 2004) which...

The Language of Instruction in Other Colonial Contexts

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pp. 251

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Language, Literacy and Social Equity in Indian Government Schools

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pp. 251-259

Many claims are made for the importance of literacy to human development. While the evidence may be somewhat less robust than it appears (Rose and Dyer 2006), particularly in relation to women’s literacy (Jeffery and Basu 1996), international...

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Science Education and English Medium: The Sri Lankan Experience

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pp. 260-266

Sri Lanka introduced her local languages, Sinhala and Tamil as languages of instruction in education even before having obtained independence from Britain in 1948. Steps were taken to introduce these languages as media of instruction in...

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Sign Languages and Linguistic Imperialism

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pp. 267-273

The purpose of this article is to explore the application of the idea of linguistic imperialism (Phillipson 1992) to sign languages. After a brief discussion of deafness as a disability and Deaf communities as cultural-linguistic minorities, and some...

Also the Nordic Languages are threatened

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pp. 275

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Is Norwegian Threatened as an Academic Language?

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pp. 275-282

When I was a professor at the University of Dar es Salaam (1987 – 1992) some of my students said they wanted to come with me and continue their studies in Norway. I told them that if they wanted to continue their studies with me in Norway, they...

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Are the Nordic Languages Threatened as Academic Languages?

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pp. 283-288

Until the 1850s Latin dominated as the language students would write their theses in at the University of Uppsala. Then Swedish took over. During the economic Golden Age of Sweden (1870 –1970), when real growth amounted to two per cent...

Language in the Courts – Examples from Tanzania and Norway

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pp. 289

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The Politics of Language and the Language of Politics

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pp. 289-296

The struggle for independence in Africa was a struggle for democracy and human rights. There is no higher democratic right to a people than the right to self determination. As Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana at the time of...

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The Importance of Language in Court – a Norwegian Case-Study

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pp. 297-299

Even in cases that on the surface look pretty simple, interesting and some times far reaching questions, principle in character, appear. The case we attended this spring semester was of that kind. It highlights the importance of language, culture...

The Difficulties of Publishing in Africa

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pp. 301

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Random Thoughts on the CASAS Publishing Experience

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pp. 301-307

With respect to the topic I am addressing here, one can start by saying that, for years, Africans and African society have, amongst many other social and cultural disabilities, been characterised by poverty, illiteracy, a raging “book-famine” and...

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Reclaiming our Hearth: Publishing in African Languages in the 21st Century

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pp. 308-319

After Africa’s struggle for freedom and independence from colonialism, education was at the top of the urgent demands people made on their governments. Other expectations of the political freedom and independence they had won, namely...

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The ICT language in Tanzania’s Higher Education

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pp. 320-328

For many years, the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) has experienced increasing problems when it comes to students’ communication and study skills in English which is the official language of instruction (LOI). The two major concerns have, according to Ishumi et al...

About the Authors

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pp. 329-336

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789987081462
Print-ISBN-13: 9789987080328

Page Count: 346
Publication Year: 2009