The very sensitive question
This paper engages with ideological difference, education, and expressions of insecurity on the basis of a year-long ethnographic fieldwork in two Farsi heritage language classrooms and the group of Iranian immigrants organized around these classrooms in Copenhagen, Denmark. We show how insecurity and surveillance gave meaning to different space-times, or chronotopes (Bakhtin 1981), evoked by the participants, and to the understandings of community. The contemporary state of Iran and political and religious ideologies associated with this were subject to taboo in class but not necessarily elsewhere. We argue that this partly motivated the structure and content of the classroom, as the teacher tried to create a neutral space for children whose parents’ ideological backgrounds were potentially incompatible. This could liberate the children from their parents’ anxieties and it made the teacher’s job less vulnerable. Linguistic Ethnography (Rampton 2007) is the analytic framework of the paper.
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