How is Foreignness defined by language? Who has the power to define the ‘foreigner’ as such, on which grounds, from which positioning, for which purposes? And within such premises, which is the role of foreign languages in defining, or challenging, Foreignness? This book reflects on the concept of Foreignness from a special lens, that of foreign languages and Foreign Language Education. Advancing that the experience of foreignness that foreign languages foreground opens up to a different apprehension of the self and the others, this work shows how such experience can problematize, question, and challenge meanings, assumptions, conceptualizations and representations ordinarily taken-for-granted, a much needed reflection at times when prevailing narratives essentialize individuals and groups according to their linguacultural backgrounds.
Though with a global perspective, the book also addresses the Italian context in particular: after introducing a brief historical background, it examines how ‘foreignness’ is addressed, portrayed, or questioned in contemporary socio-cultural and political debates, and presents practical activities to show how the foreign language can be used for intercultural purposes.
An original interdisciplinary approach, combining Critical Linguistics, Foreign Language Education, Intercultural Studies, and Critical Pedagogies, together with works of literature and examples from several fields, integrates theoretical references, practices and research methodologies to take the reader within the complex and fascinating world of languages, displaying how they inform individual and collective identities and representations, and how they can both serve processes of manipulation and domination, as well as those of empowerment and emancipation. For its interdisciplinary and integrated approach, this book aims to address teachers, educators, scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students, but also those readers who are curious to know more about languages, and about how they shape our identities, our meanings and our lives.