Localising cosmopolitanism in place talk: Semiotic landscape as stance object

Fengzhi Zhao*, Jackie Jia Lou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent sociolinguistic research has begun to critique the generalised view of cosmopolitanism as indexed by the use of global and non-local languages and urge us to explore its variety and complexity as situated and dialogical practices. This paper answers this call by examining how cosmopolitanism is localised in place talk. Drawing from a larger ethnographic study of language, space, and cosmopolitanism in Shanghai, the analysis focuses on how participants evoke, compare, and evaluate the semiotic landscapes of this Chinese megalopolis. While competing notions of cosmopolitanism emerge during the research interviews, stances taken towards them also perform divergent relationships to the city. This paper thus demonstrates how, instead of being a binary opposition, cosmopolitan landscape is discursively reappropriated for the construction of local identities. It contributes to our understanding of how cosmopolitanism is reterritorialised in urban space.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage in Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


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