language variation and cultural hegemony: toward an integration of sociolinguistic and social theory



Although the social theory behind sociolinguistics is in need of explicit formulation and critique, basic insights from the field can be of considerable value in addressing current debates concerning social reproduction. Using sociolinguistic concepts of status and solidarity and empirical evidence from Catalonia and other community studies, this paper argues that the emphasis by reproduction theorists on formal institutions such as the school is misplaced, and that the structuralist representation of dominant, hegemonic ideologies as impenetrable does not capture the reality of working-class and minority community practices. Attention to sociolinguistic evidence by social theorists could advance the understanding of hegemonic and oppositional cultural practices in the maintenance of social inequality. [Spain, language variation, sociolinguistic theory, cultural hegemony, social reproduction]