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Lexical necropolitcs: the raciolinguistics of language oppression on the Tibetan margins of Chineseness
journal contributionposted on 15.06.2021, 05:03 authored by Gerald RocheGerald Roche
This article aims to expand raciolinguistic theory to examine the issue of language oppression, i.e., enforced language loss. I used Foucauldian theories of race and racism to establish a link between lexical purism and language oppression, giving rise to a raciolinguistic theory of language oppression that I refer to as ‘lexical necropolitics.’ This issue is explored through a case study from northeast Tibet. I describe how state racism and the subordination of minority languages in the People's Republic of China has led to a grass-roots lexical purism campaign among Tibetans, and argue that since 2008, this purism has been linked to language oppression by the emergence of a new, biosovereign configuration of state power.