European Journal of Language Policy

Issues in institutional language policy: Lessons learned from peacekeeping in Bosnia-Herzegovina

European Journal of Language Policy (2011), 3, (1), 61–80.

Abstract

This article examines issues in institutional language policy, suggesting that it cannot be sufficiently understood by using concepts developed to analyse the policy of states. It presents the example of the British contingents contributing to the NATO peacekeeping operation in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the 1990s. And it suggests that this holds lessons for the more general understanding of institutional language policy. It argues that a problem-solving approach is required in order to understand the policies and practices of the institutions involved in relation to languages. The concepts of delegated decision-making, the critical role of agents, needs analysis, and problem-solving provide valuable tools both for understanding policy development and for informing policy intervention at the level of institutions. It suggests that this approach is helpful in understanding institutional language policies more generally, and may provide a basis for more effective advocacy in the development of institutional language cultures.

Cet article examine les enjeux de la politique linguistique institutionnelle, suggérant qu'elle ne pourra être comprise de façon adéquate en n'utilisant que les concepts formulés pour analyser la politique des États. Il présente l'exemple des contingents britanniques contribuant à l'opération de maintien de la paix montée par l'OTAN en Bosnie-Herzégovine dans les années 1990. Il suggère que cet exemple porte des leçons pour la compréhension de la politique linguistique institutionnelle au niveau plus général. Il fait valoir qu'une approche de résolution de problèmes est nécessaire afin de comprendre les politiques et les pratiques des institutions concernées en matière de langues. Les concepts de la prise de décisions déléguée, du rôle crucial des agents, de l'analyse des besoins et de résolution des problèmes fournissent des outils précieux pour comprendre le développement des politiques et pour informer les interventions dans la politique au niveau des institutions. Il suggère que cette approche pourra être utile pour comprendre les politiques linguistiques institutionnelles plus généralement, et peut fournir une base pour des interventions plus efficaces dans le développement des cultures linguistiques de nature institutionnelle.

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Kelly, Michael