Secure bilingual capital. Language, ethnicity and the making of security officers in Brussels

Description: Since the suicide attacks in Brussels in 2016, the government of the Dutch-French bilingual Brussels Capital Region decided to hire 107 additional security officers for the public transport system. While French is Brussels’ lingua franca, Dutch-French bilingualism is still formally required for security officers employed by public services. However, only 7.5% of Brussels job seekers have a good knowledge of Dutch combined with French. Therefore, a training program was set up offering job seekers the chance to learn the Dutch required. Based on participant observations, semi-structured interviews and informal conversations with teachers, organizers and candidate security officers at a Brussels training center, this project explores whether and how the investment in and the significance of language(s) in Brussels is intertwined with forms of gatekeeping, social stratification, and racialization.
Promoter(s): Sarah Van Hoof, Alfonso del Percio
Researcher(s): Sibo Kanobana
Department / Research group: Translation, Interpreting and Communication
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Philosophy