Workshop The languagecultural conceptualisation of ‘belonging’

Organizers: Jolien Clijssen, Lotte Thissen, Vincent de Rooij & Leonie Cornips

Location: Soiron Building, Grote Gracht 80-82, Room 0.001

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

While the concept of ‘belonging’ has been much theorized across other fields, in the field of (socio-)linguistics it seems to have been transplanted as one of the components or, even, substitutes of ‘social identity.’ How can we, based on empirical data, conceptualise and operationalise this notion and see to what extent it has explanatory power in modern-day sociolinguistic and linguistic anthropological studies. How can we approach this concept in a rigorous manner without pre-supposing that some linguistic features are inherently linked with belonging (Cornips & Strycharz 2014)? For sociolinguists, one of the challenges is to find out whether and how linguistic features (Jorgensen et al. 2011) we are less aware of take part in the construction of belonging as well.

‘Belonging’ may be related to official, public-oriented ‘formal structure’ of membership (Antonsich 2010) but may also refer to “personal, intimate, feeling of being ‘at home’ in a place” (ibid: 644). Belonging can thus have a political as well as a personal meaning, and can be considered to have an analytical as well as an emic dimension (Cornips & de Rooij, 2015; Thissen 2013).

During this workshop, all speakers will elucidate their own understanding and conceptualisation of ‘belonging’. More specifically, (socio-) linguists will think about what ‘belonging’ could offer in sociolinguistic studies and how it could best be conceptualized (theoretically and methodologically). Those working outside (socio-)linguistics on the topic of  ‘belonging’ will share their expertise and experience with the concept in their disciplines.

There are 8 places available in the workshop room. If you would like to attend this workshop, please send an e-mail to the Secretariat of History, Literature, and Art: Do not forget to mention if you want to attend both days or only one of them. They will let you know whether it is possible to join on the basis of first incoming mails.    

Download book of abstracts (pdf-format)


Tuesday June 9


Coffee/Tea (arrival)




Marco Antonsich


Marie Maegaard


Coffee/Tea Break


Malene Monka


Lies Wesseling


Lunch for presenters/Break


Lotte Thissen


Leonie Cornips & Vincent de Rooij

Coffee/Tea break


Panel by Irene Stengs & closing remarks


Wednesday June 10


Coffee/Tea (arrival)




Markus Balkenhol


Jolien Clijsen


Coffee/Tea break


Anna Banas


Valentina Mazzucato


Panel feedback/ discussion/ Closing remark


Lunch for presenters


Sponsors: Chair “Languageculture in Limburg”, Maastricht University (UM); Cap. Group Literature & Arts (UM) and Meertens Institute, KNAW (Amsterdam)

How to get there?

By car, A2/E25 from the north

•     Turn right at the first traffic lights following the signs for "Hasselt/Centrum".

•     Cross the bridge in the direction of "Hasselt".

•     follow the signs 'Vrijthof parkeergarage'.

By car, A2/E25 from the south

•     Take the "Centrum, N278" exit.

•     Paid parking: follow the signs 'Vrijthof parkeergarage'.

By train (for journey advice and timetables, see

By bus from Maastricht Central Station

•     Bus lines 3 or 4, direction city.

•     Exit the bus at the Vrijthof.

•     From the Vrijthof, cross the square and follow the road in the right hand corner (Keizer Karelplein). The Grote Gracht will appear after app. 50 metres.

On foot from Maastricht Central Station (app. 20 minutes)

•     Follow signs for "Centrum".

•     Keep the Vrijthof on the left-hand side.

The Grote Gracht will appear after 100 metres.