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Keywords:

  • Rinkeby Swedish;
  • semilingualism;
  • language ideology;
  • Bourdieu;
  • discrimination;
  • resistance;
  • iconization

The focus of this paper is on the mechanisms whereby liberal and well-meaning democratic societies propagate a cycle of disposession where immigrants are constructed as least resourced while the powerful retain their power. Specifically discussed is the semiotic management of traditional hierarchies of privilege and access through language ideological discourses pertaining to second language acquisition, multilingualism and heterogeneity. One notion in particular is discussed in this context, namely Rinkeby Swedish, a potential, imagined, pan-immigrant contact variety of Swedish. The discussion is framed within a primarily Bourdieuean conceptual apparatus using concepts of symbolic market, explaining the role of language boundaries and their institutional policing, and detailing the semiotic processes of iconization whereby immigrants are positioned as outside of a symbolically reconstituted community of ‘real’ Swedish speakers, in strategic attempts to restrict their access to important linguistic and symbolic resources.