Adam Wilson

Adam Wilson

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I am currently Maître de conférences (Assistant Professor) in the Department of Applied Foreign Languages (LEA) at the Université de Lorraine (Metz) in France and affiliated to the IDEA (UR 2338) research centre. My research focuses on linguistic practices in “new” sociolinguistic contexts linked to different forms of globalised mobility, and especially those of tourism, transnational migration, academia and international business. I use a critical ethnographic approach, with a particular focus on social interaction, in an effort to explore how language contributes to wider social phenomena and how these phenomena have an influence on linguistic form and usage.

Projets de recherche
    • Sociolinguistic Dynamics of Globalisation: The Case of the Tourist Office of Marseille



      Marseille has long suffered from a reputation as a dirty, dangerous and poverty-stricken city. Over the past 20 years or so, the city authorities have invested heavily in a multitude of projects aimed at transforming this image. Among these has been an attempt to position Marseille as an urban tourist destination. In recent years, this strategy has begun to bear fruit and international tourism arrivals have increased significantly. 

      My PhD project aimed to explore how the recent globalised mobility flows influenced the sociolinguistic dynamics of Marseille and how these were linked to the wider social dynamics of the city’s transformation. In order to do so, I undertook a long-term ethnographic fieldwork project in the city’s main tourism institution: the Marseille Tourist Office and Convention bureau.

      I focused on the ways in which the development of tourism in the Marseille contributed to reconfiguring the city’s linguistic marketplace and it was shown how a small number of global languages that played a key role in accommodating tourists accrued significant value. This was demonstrated to have a variety of wider social repercussions and notably in terms of limiting access to employment in Marseille’s tourist sector to speakers of the valued languages. In conclusion, I suggested that the recent shifts in Marseille’s sociolinguistic dynamics seemed to benefit only a small percentage of the local population, thus constituting a manifestation of the inequality linked to wider globalisation processes.