Toward a Big Tent Linguistics: Inclusion and the Myth of the Lone Genius
Rikker Dockum, Caitlin Green
May 2023

Linguistics has a documented history of divisiveness and remains poorly understood by the general public. Nevertheless, linguistics also has great unrealized potential for positive impact on global society, hand in hand with scholarship. We argue for an inclusive big tent linguistics that will help the discipline achieve its potential, and we outline three sources of current exclusion: (1) socialization into gatekeeping what counts as linguistics, with legitimacy tied to outdated opinions of what is more “scientific”, “rigorous”, “rational”, or “prestigious”, (2) epistemic injustice, including a tendency for hero-worship of “lone geniuses” of the field, and (3) a pattern of ignoring power imbalances in interactions, such as the demand for “civility,” often from the discipline’s least powerful members. We discuss the origins of these problems, some recent events that exemplify them, and suggest ways that all linguists, inclusively defined, can contribute to helping our scholarly community achieve a more uplifting culture.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/007292
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: In press in Anne H. Charity Hudley, Christine Mallinson and Mary Bucholtz (eds.), The Oxford Collection on Inclusion in Linguistics, Oxford University Press
keywords: inclusion, decolonizing linguistics, sociology of linguistics, liberatory linguistics, meta-linguistics, syntax, phonology, semantics, morphology
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