chapter  20
Language, Immigration, and the Nation-State
ByJoan Pujolar
Pages 16

Historically, issues of migration have not featured centrally in anthropology or linguistic anthropology. The discipline was orientated towards studying eminently stable human groups as settled in specific territories. Some early anthropologists developed lengthy and sophisticated descriptions of their communities that sometimes obviated the fact that they were significantly affected by migration. The example of Margaret Mead is widely quoted as she silenced the significance of migration from the Papua-New Guinean groups she researched, even when it affected about half of the adult male population (see Brettell 2003). This state of affairs significantly changed, however, during the last decades of the twentieth century where issues of mobility and displacement, migration flows, and diasporic communities have attracted interest across the social sciences and the humanities. Interest in issues of migration has correspondingly increased, and sociolinguistic and linguistic anthropological research on migration has become an important area of the field, one that is seen as central to understand the role of languages, and linguistic ideologies, in contemporary social change.