New working paper on ‘motility’ and multilingualism

A new paper, written by UvA PhD-candidate Christopher Houtkamp, has recently been published. It analyses the value of the underused concept ‘motility’ (loosely defined as ‘potential mobility’) when researching links between language (policy) and mobility. The article can be found in the ‘A’dam Multiling 2014’ section.



Language in the context of migration is an unexplored concept. This paper takes a first step
towards integrating language into current theories of international mobility. The current state
of migration research will be briefly outlined. Subsequently, the differences between the concepts
‘migration’ and ‘mobility’ will be discussed. Afterwards the notion of ‘motility’, which is
widely used in biology, less so in sociology, will be reviewed. Motility, loosely defined as potential
mobility, proves to be a key-concept when studying the connection between language and
migration. Lastly, some methodological challenges specifically connected to the implications
of motility for international mobility are reviewed. In this article the argument is made that
language skills and policy have a great influence on motility and thus indirectly on mobility.