The ethics of language policies

Authored by: Astrid von Busekist

The Routledge Handbook of Ethics and Public Policy

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138201279
eBook ISBN: 9781315461731
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter aims to clarify why language policies should inform a variety of important democratic requirements and why fair language policies should be pursued within and by democratic polities. The chapter argues that, without language skills, access to various spheres of citizenship (political as well as socio-economic) is hindered; that no political, social, and economic duties can be properly exercised, and that no rights claims can be adequately voiced. Finally, the chapter defends the view that language skills are not goods per se but goods that are politically enabling, in that they allow members of democratic polities to connect and interact in meaningful ways.

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