Language Policy and Planning

  • David Cassels JohnsonEmail author
  • Crissa Stephens


While the field of language policy and planning (LPP) has enjoyed a robust and diverse theoretical history, research methods have received less attention. However, we have entered a phase in the field when scholarship is more explicitly foregrounding how particular research methods can be leveraged to illuminate the multiple layers of LPP creation, interpretation, and appropriation. In this chapter, we review the conceptual and methodological development in LPP, focusing on four distinct eras of LPP research. We trace the trends and changes in LPP methodology beginning with the pioneers of the field, through a critical period that incorporated an emphasis on power, and ending with the “empirical turn,” which has been bolstered by increasingly sophisticated LPP-specific research methods. A common goal, we argue, is the interest in making connections between the “macro” and the “micro”—across diverse layers and levels, institutional contexts, and discursive scales—in an attempt to understand how language policies and plans impact social practices. At the same time, definitions of “language policy” have evolved, with research methods following their lead. We examine the challenges and controversies engendered by changing conceptualizations and argue that the field will continue to grow conceptually and methodologically, yield valuable insight into LPP processes around the world, and promote social justice and language diversity.


Language policy Language planning Methodology Critical theory 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EducationUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA

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