• Tony Capstick


My aim throughout this book has been to explore the relationship between literacy, language and migration, as the critical project I embarked on was to identify how power relations in Pakistan and the UK both provide and prevent access to the literacies of migration. To address this problem, I examined dominant multilingual literacies and migrants’ vernacular multilingual literacies. The results show how all of Usman’s family’s languages are drawn on in a range of settings. The study focused on the social, cultural and political aspects of language use and their constitutive role in migration. In other words, I explored how migrants’ literacy practices shape, and are shaped by, the social structures and institutions of their migrations. This meant contrasting the dominant literacies of the UK Border Agency with the non-dominant literacies of Facebook. By doing this I demonstrated how migrants negotiate different individual and group identities in these contexts. An example of this is the way that Usman used his online vernacular writing to construct the identity of caregiver to Noor on Facebook, while in institutional settings he is positioned as entering into a ‘bogus’ or ‘sham’ marriage. To do this what was required was an integrated framework which conceptualised multilingual literacy practices, and the texts and language varieties which instantiate them, as flexible resources. Initially a Literacy Practices Approach was combined with the Discourse Historical Approach to understand how literacy practices are patterned by power relationships. This enabled me to trace the language and literacy practices that migrants use to challenge domination by appropriating dominant literacies in the visa application process. At the same time, the participants in this study also recontextualised dominant literacies in their vernacular writing on Facebook when creating their own script for standard Urdu and English. When looking at these language practices, I also needed to draw on a theory of language known as heteroglossia and the methods of interactional sociolinguistics to explore different language varieties in vernacular writing and the way that these varieties are valued and justified. To achieve this I incorporated work on language ideologies into my NLS/DHA framework in order to focus specifically on how language choices fitted into Usman’s migration soon after his arrival in the UK. In this concluding chapter I draw together the findings from each chapter in relation to the research aim and questions presented at the beginning of the book.


Literacy Practice Language Variety Literacy Event Language Practice Language Ideology 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony Capstick
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ReadingReadingUK

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