Journal of Sociolinguistics 7/4, 2003: 473±492

Globalization, the new economy, and the commodi®cation of language and identity
Monica Heller
University of Toronto, Canada
The globalized new economy is bound up with transformations of language and identity in many di€erent ways (cf., e.g. Bauman 1997; Castells 2000; Giddens 1990). These include emerging tensions between State-based and corporate identities and language practices, between local, national and supra-national identities and language practices, and between hybridity and uniformity. Ethnolinguistic minorities provide a particularly revealing window into these processes. In this paper, I explore ways in which the globalized new economy has resulted in the commodi®cation of language and identity, sometimes separately, sometimes together. The paper is based on recent ethnographic, sociolinguistic research in francophone areas of Canada.

KEYWORDS: Globalization, multilingualism, francophone Canada, identity, commodi®cation, new economy 1. TOWARDS A POLITICAL ECONOMY OF MULTILINGUALISM AND SOCIAL CHANGE The globalized new economy is bound up with transformations of language and identity in many di€erent ways (cf., e.g. Bauman 1997; Castells 2000; Giddens 1990). These include emerging tensions between State-based and corporate identities and language practices, between local, national and supra-national identities and language practices, and between hybridity and uniformity. Here I want to consider one particular zone of transformation, the domain of ethnolinguistic minorities who have long been organized around political, nationalist discourses centred on rights and boundaries. This particular domain is revealing of broader processes, I believe, in a number of ways. First, without an actual investment in a State, ethnolinguistic minorities feel ®rst, and possibly hardest, the attack on the nation-State that new circumstances represent. This is partly because the opposition to their statehood from centralized states is suddenly weakened, but also, at the same time, their own attempts at reproducing similar states become less likely. Second, at the same time, by virtue of their minority status, they possess multilingual repertoires
# Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden MA 02148, USA.

474

HELLER

whose value and role are directly implicated in globalization. Third, globalization has opened up spaces for local organization, precisely the area where ethnolinguistic minorities can best hope to exercise some control. Finally, the reproduction of ethnolinguistic minority identity has generally been based on economic as well as political marginalization, but the economic bases of social and cultural reproduction are crumbling. Their situation therefore sheds some light: on the changing role of the State versus that of the private sector or supranational polities, in relation to the shaping of identity; on the changing role of monolingual and multilingual repertoires in the globalized new economy; on tensions between local and global; and on the e€ect of economic change on the construction of language, identity and the relationship between the two. Indeed, many sectors of the globalized new economy are centred on multilingual communication, and, despite widespread complaints about the McDonaldization of the linguistic landscape, varied aspects of language and identity have turned out to be important in some perhaps unexpected ways. In this paper, I will explore, in particular, the ways in which the globalized new economy has resulted in the commodi®cation of language and identity, sometimes separately, sometimes together. I will focus on some recent ethnographic, sociolinguistic research in francophone areas of Canada, in particular those areas where new economy businesses, like call centres and various tourismrelated service industries, are emerging out of the wreckage of the old economy, which was based on heavy industry and primary resource exploitation.1 The commodi®cation of language (which renders language amenable to rede®nition as a measurable skill, as opposed to a talent, or an inalienable characteristic of group members), as well as the simultaneous marketing of authenticity, challenge State- and community-based systems of producing and distributing linguistic resources, rede®ne the relationship between language and identity, and produce new forms of competition and social selection (cf. Budach, Roy and Heller in press; Heller and Labrie in press; Roy 2002). What we are seeing then, in francophone Canada, is a shift from understanding language as being primarily a marker of ethnonational identity, to understanding language as being a marketable commodity on its own, distinct from identity. At the same time, we are seeing authenticity also becoming commodi®ed (as opposed to being used as a marker for political struggle), sometimes in the form of cultural products (music, crafts, dance, for example), and often with no link to language. However, language often does play a role in the management of these shifting relations between commodity and authenticity, generally by being deployed as a means to control access to the newly valuable resources being developed. This can be seen through struggles over legitimacy (Bourdieu 1982), that is, over who has the legitimate right to de®ne what counts as competence, as authenticity, as excellence, and over who has the right to produce and distribute the resources of language and identity. While there is little work to date on such phenomena (but see Coupland
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

COMMODIFICATION OF LANGUAGE AND IDENTITY

475

2003), what little there is points over and over again to the tensions between commodity and authenticity, and the ways in which those questions are sites of struggle over who gets to de®ne what counts as a legitimate identity, or what counts as an excellent product. Le Menestrel (1999) discusses ways in which Cajun identity (think jambalaya and the Cajun two-step) has been commodi®ed   in ways which wrest the control of the de®nition of acadjinite (acadienite?   cadienite? cadjinite? . . . ) away from people who count themselves ethnic Cajuns, and far away from anything but the most symbolic mastery of Cajun French. My own ®eldwork (conducted with a project colleague) in Louisiana, however, points to the e€orts of middle-class Cajuns (and here the spelling becomes another terrain of struggle), to recoup lost ground through the revitalization of language via schooling, that is, by trying to regain what is meant to count as authentic linguistic capital through institutionalized means, in order to retain privileged control over the resources of Cajunness (and it is probably not a coincidence that this movement is being led by a popular musician, Zachary Richard). Kosianski and Loup (2002) point out that the use of `traditional' crafts in the revitalization of local economies in Provence creates an impossible dilemma, since the construction of the idea of a product which has value in the tourist marketplace because it is `authentic' (in the sense of being ± necessarily ®ctively ± constructed as linked to a timeless past), simultaneously, and also necessarily, undermines their authenticity (because that authenticity only has value as a commodity in the present; Coupland 2003). This process then gives rise to struggles over the role of locals versus newcomers in the de®nition of what counts as a valuable product, and, ultimately, over who gets to construct the idea of `Provence'. Bender (1999) discusses the use of `authentic' cultural products to capitalize on the incomegenerating potential of selling to tourists visiting the casinos of an Indian reserve in the south-eastern United States. This again is a strategy aimed at commodifying authenticity. She points out that one of the ways in which authenticity is signalled is through the use of Cherokee labels and signs. This strategy entails (as in Louisiana, Provence, and elsewhere) a degree of standardization which, by de®nition, is removed from the variability of what is generally understood as authentic (non-institutionalized, organic, essentialized) linguistic practice (cf. Ja€e 1999). In these senses, new identities necessarily build on old ones (the value of authenticity presupposes some ideology of essentialized ethnonationalism), while the conditions of the market, which accords new value to formerly stigmatized identities and products, require (visibly) inauthentic processes of standardization and commodi®cation. This leaves room for struggle over who is best placed to control the production and distribution of these products. Indeed, there is room also for struggle over their form, since authenticity implies a certain remove from the very market which gives them value, and the ability to navigate between old and new itself becomes valuable. Which is more valuable: the removed and authentic, or the new and hybrid; the authentic and
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

476

HELLER

uncommercialized (indeed, usually poor and stigmatized) or the commodi®ed and valuable? In order to grasp this complexity, it is necessary to understand the local political economy of linguistic and cultural resources, that is, the ways in which those resources (and the value attributed to them) are tied to situated economic and political conditions (Heller 2002). How resources are distributed, what the source of their value is, and how actors are positioned with respect to them, are all relevant dimensions of an analysis of the relationship of language and identity to the globalized new economy. In the next section, I will provide some background on the kinds of political and economic shifts experienced in francophone Canada, and in particular in Acadie and Ontario, the two major areas where francophones reside outside of Quebec, and a brief discussion of some of the forms that the commodi®cation of language and identity are taking. I will then discuss in greater detail two kinds of sites, where di€erent aspects of the processes examined here are unfolding. The ®rst is the area of heritage tourism, where it is primarily authenticity that is commodi®ed, and the second is the area of call centres, where language is at the centre of commodi®cation processes. 2. ECONOMIC BASES OF SOCIAL AND CULTURAL REPRODUCTION IN FRANCOPHONE CANADA The overview here is necessarily oversimpli®ed. However, on the whole, the basis of reproduction of Franco-Canadian identity has historically resided in political marginalization, and possibly more importantly, ethnolinguistic economic strati®cation. Francophones have historically been overrepresented in activities related to primary resource extraction (agriculture, the lumber industry, mining, ®shing) and industrial labour, as well as in work using related skills, such as construction, and maintenance and repair (as roofers,  electricians, plumbers, builders, etc.). The elite was concentrated ®rst in the Catholic Church and Church-educated members of the liberal professions, later in a State-trained professional group working with an emerging number of entrepreneurs.  The work of this later form of the elite, beginning in the 1960s, laid the groundwork for the development of francophone institutions, notably in education, which formed a new basis for social and cultural reproduction as well as a labour market for francophones. It also provided for some upward mobility, at least for some members of the population, for increasing integration into national and international networks, and increased value accorded to French as a means of access to those networks and institutions. Indeed, this process can be seen as sowing the seeds of the commodi®cation of French, as middle-class francophones and anglophones began to compete for access to the resources of French-English bilingualism (Heller 1999; Makropoulos 2000). Anglophones tended to see those resources as purely linguistic skills (although
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

COMMODIFICATION OF LANGUAGE AND IDENTITY

477

some legitimized their interest through an appeal to the construction of a Canadian bilingual identity), while francophones tended to insist on the importance of authenticity as a guarantor of the quality of those skills. The francophone working class remained (and remains) concerned about its access to valued forms of both French and English. The following example provides a view on fairly typical positionings of those who see language mainly as a skill. The parents interviewed send their children to a French-language minority school in Toronto. They speak English at home and at work; indeed, the father, of anglophone background, speaks little French. The mother is from a family with francophone roots in another province, but she herself has spoken little French since her early childhood. They live in a comfortable residential neighbourhood, the father works in a bank, and the mother has a part-time job. In the interview, the parents explain their choice of schooling for their children in several ways: they legitimate it in terms of the mother's background and a nationalist ideology in which Canada is to be construed as a bilingual country. But they speak most about the value not only of bilingualism, but of multilingualism more generally, in the context of the globalized new economy.
Example 1: Interview, parents with children in French-language minority schools, Toronto (1993) Mother: ( . . . ) I think I probably put more emphasis on the French, I think, with Sandra. Being the eldest I think you just push it a little bit more Monica: do you speak French to her usually? Mother: no, not much Monica: why was that important to you with her, why is it important? Mother: that she speaks French? I guess because of my French roots, number one Father: it's a bilingual country too Mother: I think it's such an asset to have another language, I mean I probably didn't realize that until I moved to Toronto, I probably think that even more now that when I see people speak three or four languages Father: yeah maybe what should be now that your French is there good because we are a two language country, so that was good, for me it is worthwhile to have that, and I think that from that now we say, here how about Spanish, because of the North-South free trade how about Chinese or something like that because there's going to be big markets, you know, it would be nice to have this go on to a third or fourth language Mother: I just think of it as being another thing that a person has, I mean, you could take another subject, so why not know another language, I just think it is an asset

Such perspectives have long been present in education, which (in areas where francophones are a minority) has over the last forty years been the main site of distribution of French and francophone identity. As such, education is a site of struggle over who gets to count as francophone and what gets to count as  speaking French, both between the francophone elite and the working class,
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

478

HELLER

and between francophones and anglophones (and increasingly, immigrants of other language backgrounds as well). However, these perspectives were most visible in areas ®rst touched by social change, in the cities and among the  educated elite, for the most part. They were much less present in the so-called bastions traditionnels of francophone Canada, the areas understood as most authentic, but also the most economically marginalized. It is change in those areas, now in full swing, that is at the heart of the processes I want to focus on here.2 These bastions of authentic francophone identity are all areas based on primary resource extraction or industry. They are regions like the north-east corner of New Brunswick, or the Acadian villages on the Cape Breton coast, where the vast majority of the population were Acadians involved in the cod ®shery (the men on the boats, the women in the processing plants); like northeastern Ontario, where mining and lumber were the backbone of the economy; or small towns in southern Ontario or south-eastern New Brunswick, where francophones migrated from the coast, the north or Quebec, to work in factories and live in francophone neighbourhoods organized around a French Catholic church. And then, in the 1980s and early 1990s, disaster struck. Heavy industry around the world restructured as part of a general move to economies based on service and information (Castells 2000). There were massive layo€s, and industrial work itself was reorganized in ways which tend to foreground communication and the development of discrete and measurable skills (Gee, Hull and Lankshear 1996), which increase connections with branches located at greater distances, and which include workforces with varying linguistic repertoires. Migration, especially in Ontario, a€ected the nature of the workforce. The cod ®shery was closed to preserve stock, throwing ®shing communities into crisis. Government began to withdraw from its role in welfare provision, insisting on greater degrees of privatization and accountability. Municipal, provincial and national levels of government have all oriented to a variety of forms of local or regional economic development in response, as have community organizations of di€erent kinds. In the 1990s and in recent years, a range of types of institutional and individual actors have moved to ®nd new bases for community development, and therefore social and cultural reproduction of francophone identity. These e€orts have largely been of three kinds: (1) capitalizing on the restructuring of old economic activities; (2) investing in activities which capitalize on authentic cultural products in the context of an increasing interest worldwide in heritage tourism (Craik 1997) and authentic cultural products; and (3) investing in service and communications activities which capitalize on the bilingual skills and willingness to work for low wages of the recently economically displaced minority francophone population. The ®rst scenario can be illustrated through the restructuring of the ®shing industry of north-eastern New Brunswick. Shortly after the cod ®shery closed, a Japanese market opened up for snow crab (their traditional sources had been
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

COMMODIFICATION OF LANGUAGE AND IDENTITY

479

exhausted and they were looking for new ones). The few ®shermen who were able to amass enough capital to invest in retooling for the much more expensive, but also more lucrative, venture of crabbing were able to do well in the change, but the rest of the ®shing population was excluded. This has resulted in the development of new class divisions and class con¯icts in the region. I will focus here, however, on the second and third scenarios, partly because my data is better for them, but also partly because they are the ones which seem to be central to emerging struggles over language and identity. It is in those zones that language and identity count, and are intimately tied to the production and distribution of the resources now at the heart of reconstructed economies. 3. CULTURAL AND LINGUISTIC PRODUCTS IN FRANCOPHONE CANADA We have been investigating several sites of transformation which correspond to the second and third scenarios, in Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. I provide here an overview of these sites in order to provide a context for the more detailed data presented in the following sections. Each site had its speci®cities of course; nonetheless, it is important to understand how those speci®cities relate to a broader pattern of change which emerges across our sites.  The tourism-related scenarios (see also Roy and Gelinas in press) include a federal government initiative to develop a pan-Canadian francophone heritage   tourism `corridor' (Comite national de developpement des ressources humaines de la francophonie canadienne 2003), which meets up with local initiatives to develop such attractions and services as:
. open-air museums which are reconstructions of original French colonizing settlements of the 17th or 18th centuries (and which employ local residents as costumed bilingual guides); . community festivals featuring authentic products or images; . open-air dramatic enactments of francophone histories or legends; . gastronomic and/or organic food tours which invest local products with regional identity; . listings of places to eat, stay or engage in leisure activities where services are available in French.

We have been investigating one site devoted primarily to the production of an authentic Acadian product, and which pro®ts both from regional tourism and the internet for its marketing and distribution (mainly to Americans). Authentic products also turn up, of course, in tourism-focused activities, for example in museum shops or restaurants, kiosks at festivals, and so on. I will focus below on a second tourism-related site, the preparation of a community festival in central Ontario, focused on francophone heritage. The service and communication sites we have investigated, or are currently
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

480

HELLER

investigating, include two call centres, one in Ontario and one in New Brunswick. Both are call centres for large companies serving all of North America. They are located in areas which have a bilingual population, and where government has deliberately set out to attract such companies in order to revitalize sagging economies. (We are also investigating an international biotechnology company and a multimedia site, which are less directly connected to the argument here.) In order to illustrate the processes discussed here, I will focus on two communities in what is referred to as the `Centre-Sud' of Ontario, that is, the region covering the middle and into parts of the southern regions of Ontario, Canada's richest and most populous province. These communities represent some important dimensions of the Canadian francophone minority experience. One is a small city, undergoing massive economic restructuring from dependence on heavy industry to the new service economy. The other is a semi-rural area with a history of mixed agriculture and light industry, undergoing a similar shift to an economy based on tourism and services. The data I will discuss were collected over the period from 1997 to the present, in a series of projects aimed at understanding shifts in the ideology and practice of what it means to be francophone in Canada, and the discursive and material struggles involved in those shifts, under conditions of social, economic and political change (see Heller and Labrie in press). In the ®rst phase of the project (1996±2000), we interviewed leaders and members of francophone associations and institutions in Ontario, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, as well as francophone community members who did not participate in those associations and institutions, for a total of over 400 interviews. We also collected documents produced by those associations and institutions for public or internal circulation (pamphlets, advertising, newspapers, meeting agendas, mission statements, etc.), recorded radio and television shows, and recorded or observed a number of meetings. We have about 150 recordings of: radio and television shows; a series of meetings of one community cultural centre in the second site described below over the course of two years; meetings of ®ve school councils across Ontario over the course of one year; a three-day Ontario provincial consultation; the annual meeting of a provincial association; and other similar association meetings. Since 2001, we have been focusing on the new economy sites described above, not only in Ontario and Acadie (the population base of francophone communities outside Quebec), but also in Quebec and Alberta. This has entailed:
. interviews with management and sta€ in each site, usually about 15 per site, with the exception of the New Brunswick call centre, which involved about 10 managers and 20 sta€ members; . recording of meetings, notably, the monthly planning meetings of the community festival discussed below, over the course of one year; . in one call centre, the observation of work through `job-shadowing' of about
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

COMMODIFICATION OF LANGUAGE AND IDENTITY

481

. . . . . .

25 employees for periods of about 2 hours each (the recordings of their interactions on the phone will be made available to us in the course of the project); interviews with sta€ and members of about ten federal and provincial agencies; observation on-site for a range of periods depending on the site ± the community festival has entailed observation of meetings and of the threeday festival itself in 2002; the 2003 festival which had not yet been held at the time this article was completed; one call centre which was the site of a four-month daily ethnography in 2000; another call centre which involved a total of four weeks observation of work and training; collecting documents ± in-house call centre training documents and instruction manuals, as well as the in-house publication, a weekly community newspaper, websites of two federally sponsored agencies, advertising, the website, and meeting agendas and minutes of the community festival.

This work is still in progress. 3.1 From manual labour to the skilling of talk The ®rst community I will discuss emerged out of the industrialization of southern Ontario, beginning in the early part of the twentieth century, and with a second boom in the period following World War II. In both periods of expansion of heavy industry, labour was recruited either from outside Canada (from Italy, Poland, Hungary, Croatia) or from francophone communities in Quebec. The town developed ethnic strati®cation (anglophone owners and managers, francophone and immigrant workers) and residential segregation, in which parishes and neighbourhood schools served important functions of social and cultural reproduction, including the persistence of ethnolinguistic identities and practices. In the 1970s, the francophone community, increasingly well-educated, was caught up in a nationwide political mobilization, in which language and ethnonational identity were constructed within a discourse of political rights. Language was valued as a symbol of identity and belonging, and therefore of exclusion and inclusion with regard to an organic community. In the 1980s the community su€ered the fate of much of the heavily industrialized belt around the Great Lakes, with extensive computerization, the shift of plants to the Third World where labour is cheaper, and other forms of restructuring, resulting in massive job loss. By the 1990s, the community was looking to rebuild its economy, this time on the basis of two areas of the new service economy: communications and tourism. The region invested in the laying of ®bre optic cable, to support communications, and the call centre
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

482

HELLER

industry in particular. It set aside land and enacted zoning regulations favourable to such companies. Example 2 is drawn from a text produced by the municipal council; it is intended to attract employers whose main concern with regard to the labour pool is no longer their capacity for manual work, but rather their communication skills. For the ®rst time in the community's history, the multilingualism of the population becomes something to sell, in conjunction with its technological infrastructure.
Example 2: Public relations text, municipality in southern Ontario, early 1990s (data collected by Sylvie Roy) (The city) is not just heavy metal any more. (The city) is poised to challenge winds of technology as they breathe life into a new world economy based upon rivers of information through its call centre facilities. An old hand at capitalizing upon waterways of opportunity, (the city) is perfectly positioned geographically to be Canada's high-tech alternative. ( . . . ) Fifteen percent of (the city's) population is English/French bilingual and many are multilingual, with Italian being the third predominant language spoken. The bene®ts of this francophone and ethnic presence are not lost on any employer doing business in French-speaking Canadian communities or in a global marketplace.

Example 3 is drawn from an interview with a manager in one of the area's burgeoning industries, a call centre serving all of Canada and parts of the United States. She indicates the importance of bilingual skills for the representatives, that is, the people who actually work the telephones (and who, of course, while crucial to the functioning of the call centre, are at the bottom of the hierarchy).
Example 3: Interview, Madeleine Peirce,3 1998 (call centre, municipality in southern Ontario) ( . . . ) very large base of French-speaking employees in our customer services areas Á Ã Á Á Ã Â Á speci®cally ( . . . ) on est tres heureux d'etre a W. parce que, a cote, a cause de (name) as a city, does compete with, you know, Moncton, Fredericton, and so on and so forth in trying to attract new business in the area. So, that's a real competitive issue there. There is a lot of many many bene®ts to being in (name). Especially the language. We are one of the biggest call centers in Canada ( . . . ) English is absolutely needed for every single transaction in every single job. So that one is like the baseline. But we also need French spoken, and also French written in some areas for a certain percentage of our customer interactions. So, we currently have a very very large base of French-speaking employees in our customer services areas speci®cally ( . . . ) on Á Ã Á Á Ã Â Á Â Ã Â est tres heureux d'etre a (name) parce que, a cote, a cause de speci®quement le cote Á francophone de (name), c'est tres important pour notre entreprise. (. . . . We are very happy to be in (name) because besides because . . . . We are very happy to be in (name) because besides because speci®cally the francophone aspect of (name), it is very important for our company.)

In general, the people we interviewed in this town were thrilled at the importance suddenly given to their linguistic resources. When we asked about
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

COMMODIFICATION OF LANGUAGE AND IDENTITY

483

our perception that French-English bilingualism, in fact, at most only gave people privileged access to poorly paid, non-unionized and mainly dead-end jobs (upward mobility in call centres is limited and middle management tends to be unilingual in English), this was generally acknowledged to be true, but relatively unimportant given current alternatives. That is, it was held to be better than unemployment, better than having to leave the community, and in many ways was providing better working conditions than labour in heavy industry (which in any case presented far fewer opportunities for employment than it had in the past).  The following is an extract from an interview with Amelie Gagnon, a young woman from the community who worked at the time as a manager in one of the town's main hotels. She had earlier talked about how French was stigmatized in her youth, when most of the town's francophones worked as factory labour. Now, she says, things are di€erent, both because of the call centre industry, and because of the opportunities provided by the growing tourism industry. FrenchEnglish bilingualism, she says, has a value which it lacked in her youth, and which she fears young people have not yet quite grasped, so rapid has been the change.
 Example 4: Interview, Amelie Gagnon (hotel business), 1998  On voulait rester dans le, en l'environnement francais parce qu'on avait plusieurs employes Ë Á  comme je dis . . . Et aussi parce qu'on fait des forfaits a Quebec . . . ahm, on voulait garder les Á  Á francophones, ahm, la clientele francophone ici dans la region ( . . . ) y a une partie la qu'i  Á veulent developper pour, euh, les call centres. Alors, j'espere que ca va continuer . . . encore Ë Á  on a plusieurs, t'sais tous les Francophones a (l'ecole secondaire), ca va leur donner une Ë Â opportunite pour, euhm, un emploi bilingue ( . . . ) je trouve que i(ls) devraient faire plus de ÂÁ publicite a les jeunes pour leur dire comment important que ca l'est pour garder leur langue Ë bilingue parce que y a beaucoup de chance pour eux- autres pour l'avenir. (We wanted to stay in the, in the French environment because we had many employees, like I say . . . And also because we do package deals in Quebec . . . um, Á we wanted to keep the francophones, um the francophone clientele here in the region ( . . . ) there are some who want to develop for uh call centres so I hope that . . . will continue again we have many y'know all the francophones at (the high school), that will give them an opportunity for uh a bilingual job ( . . . ) I think they should do more PR with young people to tell them how important it is to keep their bilingual language because there are many possibilities for them for the future.)

In this town, it is not so much authenticity that is at issue, as it is the value of linguistic skills for speci®c service-related jobs. It is also understood by many as being a means of preserving the French language and identity, possibly a more ecient and meaningful one than the political work done in the past. However, call centres maximize their client base by hiring bilingual representatives who can serve both English- and French-speakers (and ideally, eventually, Spanishspeakers). The tourist industry wants to be able to cater to French-speakers who tend to come into the region anyway for tourism related to natural attractions
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

484

HELLER

and a growing agro-tourism sector, or to attract those who avoid the region because they feel insecure in English. It is language that becomes the key commodity. Employers see the local French-language high school, founded in the 1970s in a wave of political activism, as a key source for recruitment of bilingual labour. Whether students coming out of the region's immersion schools can compete for the area's bilingual jobs, indeed whether or not they want to, given the limited career opportunities attached to them, remains to be seen. Whether call centres will play a role in the reproduction of a local francophone identity linked to an authentic and traditional past is another question, especially since French-speaking immigrants who master a more standard variety of French are beginning to compete for the same jobs. Indeed, as Roy (2002) has pointed out, it is not even clear whether or not the bilingual skills of local francophones correspond to what the service industry requests, given the highly varied, and sometimes extremely normative, expectaÁ tions of the clientele, and the `image' the company in question is trying to project through the voices of its service-providers. The vernacular bilingualism of the local community is the guarantee perhaps of the authenticity of its skills, but it also deviates from dominant expectations regarding the importance of separating French and English clearly, and of mastering standard varieties of both languages. Those whose marginalization once granted them the thendubious privilege of bilingualism may now ®nd themselves forced out of the new market in which bilingualism, but of a di€erent kind, is now newly valued. Similar ®ndings are emerging in the New Brunswick call centres (New Brunswick also deliberately set out to create the infrastructure for the call centre industry; the two localities mentioned in Example 3 as competitor zones are located in that province). The operators are mainly bilingual Acadians, while management is made up of anglophones, most of whom have come in from other sectors of the company. Working one's way up is not a common scenario; employees say they can aim for lateral movement, either from one sector of the call centre to another, or within the local call centre industry. Turnover is indeed high, and most operators are young women, either with limited post-secondary education, or working part-time as they put themselves through university. These bilingual voice operators actually master a wide range of linguistic varieties. While they say that monolingual francophones, especially those from Quebec, complain about their French, we noted a tendency to standardize their performance when on the lines. Most anglicized their names when speaking English on the phone, and some even made up entirely new names for themselves (it should be noted that the operators were encouraged where possible to maintain the illusion of being at the particular branch for which service was being requested, whether that be in Montreal, Vancouver or Dallas). O‚ine, however, to each other and to their immediate supervisors, they spoke chiac, the local (and historically stigmatized) variety,4 as well as English. Here we may be witnessing the use of language to claim privileged access on the part
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

COMMODIFICATION OF LANGUAGE AND IDENTITY

485

of legitimate-because-authentic bilinguals to jobs which are the major source of employment in the region for people with their skills, especially since the company recently expanded into English-speaking parts of North America and began hiring a number of monolingual English-speaking operators (cf. Boudreau 2003). The call centre industry very clearly places a premium on language as a skill. As with many new economy settings, employees are encouraged to feel part of a team, and to standardize behaviour in line with a corporate image for which they are nonetheless individually responsible (Cameron 2000; Gee, Hull and Lankshear 1996). At the same time, they are asked to accommodate to clients; this explicitly includes speaking the client's language of choice, and presumably also includes accommodating to his or her variety or style (hence the concern   about Quebecois complaints about the `quality' of Acadian or Franco-Ontarian French). All these pressures point in the direction of standardized, schooled French, albeit in the context of jobs aimed at workers who will accept low pay  and few bene®ts. Francite (a kind of conceptual version of what `Frenchness' might mean) here is not marketable, despite the impression from the community side that these are jobs which will place a value on their language and keep their children at home. It may be useful in the local struggles over the scarce resources of bilingual (or any) jobs, struggles which pit bilingual anglophones and immigrants against local francophones, or which may also begin to lay the basis of alliances on the grounds of language which undo older ethnonational allegiances. 3.2 Authenticity as essence and as commodity The second community I wish to present is located a few hours' drive north of Toronto. The very ®rst francophones in the area were members of the lay and clerical colonizing mission of New France, although that presence was relatively  short-lived. Other francophones arrived along with Metis (people of mixed French and aboriginal origin) and aboriginal peoples as part of a British military installation in the early 19th century, but today's community is descended mainly from successive mid-19th century waves of settlers from Quebec. The community, surrounded by English-speakers, was based principally on agriculture, supplemented by lumber and ®shing. The community has a long history of mobilization with regard to its de®nition of itself and the construction of its social organization. As elsewhere, that de®nition focused on ethnolinguistic identity. Recently, however, that de®nition has begun to shift, and the value of language and identity as commodities has begun to emerge. To a much greater extent than in the community in southern Ontario discussed above, however, identity is part of the package. The political economic basis of the shift begins with development of a highway system and the industrialization of agriculture in the 1960s. Small family farms became unsustainable, so a few families bought out others; even
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

486

HELLER

more were bought out by a multinational processor, and people went to work in the industrialized cities closer or farther from home. Others established small companies to service the growing summer cottage tourist community (made up mainly of city people who bought up lakeside land previously of no interest  to farmers). Members of the local francophone elite and educated outsiders provided sta€ for local francophone institutions, notably, after about 1980, in education. But recently, government support for minority institutions has waned, or has focused on job creation and services rather than on the maintenance of language and identity as major goals. The local economy su€ered from the closing of a number of small industrial plants in a version of the same crisis that  hit southern Ontario in the 1980s. The local elite, mobilized around and through a community cultural centre, began to respond in the mid 1990s, through a reorientation of its work, away from the preservation of the essence of the francophone community and towards community economic development. However, as we shall see, this shift nonetheless places a value on authenticity as a valued commodity, and may play a role in the regulation of new resources. The ®rst structural change we have noted was the creation in 1999 of an entirely new organization, related to, but at arm's length from, the existing cultural centre. The following extract, from the local French-language newspaper, introduces the new organization to the community:
Example 5: Extract from an article from a local newspaper, central Ontario (January 2000), regarding a new community non-pro®t organization  (Le mandat de l'organisme est le) developpement de biens et de services novateurs et la   creation d'entreprises et d'emplois qui montrent la valeur ajoutee des francophones et des  Á Á   bilingues de la (region) ou l'on re¯ete leur impact considerable sur la vitalite de la  region. ( (The mission of the organization is the) development of innovative goods and services and the creation of business and of jobs which demonstrate the added value of the francophones and the bilinguals of (the region) in which is re¯ected their considerable impact on the vitality of the region.)

Several aspects of this extract are worth commenting on. First, there is the introduction of the notion of goods, services and job creation as central elements of the organization's goals. Second, there is the use of the term `added value' to describe the labour force. Third, while it is not explicitly stated, the characterization of this labour force as `francophone and bilingual', places an emphasis on the language skills of that population. Finally, while earlier modernist nationalist discourses would have constructed bilinguals as already on the path to assimilation, and therefore a problem for the maintenance of the community, this text includes them as part of what is to be considered `added value'.5 This has an impact on the very de®nition of who is to count as a francophone. Around the time the article discussed above appeared, the cultural centre began
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

COMMODIFICATION OF LANGUAGE AND IDENTITY

487

revising its mandate towards the provision of services, a revision which also entailed revisiting the de®nition of its population, from people who are represÁ ented to people who are its clientele. In the spring of 2000, the centre circulated a document for consultation which contained proposed de®nitions along these lines, and a speci®c de®nition of whom it would consider `francophone' (and therefore legitimately part of the centre's concerns):
Example 6: Extract from a list of keywords and their de®nitions in a consultation document produced by the francophone community centre (central Ontario, 2000) Francophone: (une personne) qui parle habituellement le francais, au moins dans certaines Ë Á circonstances de la communication, comme langue premiere ou seconde; comme groupe: dans   à lequel le francais est pratique en tant que langue maternelle, ocielle ou vehiculaire (meme si Ë les individus ne parlent pas tous le francais) Ë Francophone: (a person) who usually (habitually) speaks French, at least in certain communicative circumstances, as a ®rst or a second language; as a group: in which French is used as mother tongue, as ocial language or as common language of communication (even if the individuals do not all speak French)

Here again, people who earlier would have been excluded from the group are included, and language skills are given greater importance than ethnic ties. However, the political economy of the region creates some ambiguity around the valuing of language skills versus the valuing of authenticity. Certainly some of the job-creation schemes in this area resemble the service-oriented ones in other parts of the province (and, for that matter, in other parts of the country). This part of Ontario is handicapped by the lack of technological infrastructure, however, and by its location o€ the major communications routes. It has therefore invested to a greater extent in tourism, given the area's history, and the region's natural resources. The main new initiatives which have developed have been in the area of heritage tourism. There are several reasons for this. One has to do with the strength of the older ideology of community, and of the ways in which the community organized itself to reproduce it. While many of the conditions for the reproduction of the ideology of authentic community are shifting, the ideology itself remains, and we ®nd aspects of it taken up and reformulated under the new conditions of commodi®cation. A major such aspect is the idea, expressed frequently by local organizers of a new community festival, of the   festival serving mainly as an `element rassembleur de la communaute' (an element to bring the community together), and secondarily as a means to Á attract outsiders. Another is that there is no existing francophone clientele for tourism; the natural attractions of the region exist also in Quebec, and those who are closest are not francophone. A reason has to be found to draw francophones, and speci®cally them, there, to that speci®c place. Finally, heritage tourism provides local francophones with a specialized niche in the tourist market of the region, a means of competing with anglophones and indigenous groups. Heritage tourism combines the value of the authentic
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

488

HELLER

community with the development of a unique francophone product, of unique interest to francophones, and under francophone control. The ®rst expression of such an interest in heritage tourism can be found on a website set up in 2000 by a provincial organization devoted to the preservation of the Franco-Ontarian patrimony. While the organization was not in the ®rst instance concerned with the use of patrimony for the tourism industry, it quickly became clear that that was a possibility. The organization set up a website containing several `routes' in di€erent parts of the province, explaining the francophone heritage dimensions of each region. The one for this region, written by a local writer and historian, includes the following extract:
Example 7: Website text concerning heritage tourism (2000)  à La region peut se vanter d'etre le berceau de la civilisation francaise en Ontario ( . . . ) Les Ë Á liens commerciaux et militaires entre les Francais et les Ouendats s'intensi®erent surtout Ë Â Á avec la creation de la mission ( . . . ) en 1639. ( . . . ) Une premiere vague de colons   francophones permanents, composee des voyageurs Canadiens francais et Metis, arriva en Ë Á 1828, pour prendre les terres le long de la baie ( . . . ) A compter de 1840, d'autres    Á Canadiens francais, encourages par le cure ( . . . ), se succederent en trois vagues pour Ë Â Â Â coloniser des terres ( . . . ) Selon la legende du loup de (la localite), basee sur un fait  Á    historique, et racontee sous forme de piece et ensuite de recit publie par le cure (nom) en  1955, les premiers groupes de colons francophones et leurs descendants vivaient isoles les  Á  uns des autres. Vers 1900, un loup mysterieux se mit a terroriser les habitants de la region en faisant d'importants ravages. La crainte du loup et les e€orts pour le vaincre ®nirent par  Á rallier les francophones, jusqu'alors divises, a une cause commune. C'est (nom), un borgne,   Á à   qui, en evoquant l'aide du ciel, reussit en®n a abattre la bete possedee. (The region can boast of being the cradle of French civilization in Ontario ( . . . ) Commercial and military links between the French and the Wendats intensi®ed especially with the creation of a mission ( . . . ) in 1639. (. . .) A ®rst wave of permanent francophone colonizers, composed of French Canadian voyageurs and  Metis, arrived in 1828, to take possession of lands along the bay ( . . . ) As of 1840, other French Canadians, encouraged by the parish priest ( . . . ), succeeded each other in three waves of colonization of the land ( . . . ) According to the legend of the wolf of (place name), based on historic fact, and told in the form of a play and then later in a text published by Father (name) in 1955, the ®rst groups of francophone colonizers and their descendants lived isolated from one another. Around 1900, a mysterious wolf began to terrorize the inhabitants and caused serious damage. The fear of the wolf and e€orts to overcome it ended up rallying the francophones who had hitherto been divided to a common cause. It was (name), a one-eyed man, who, calling for help from Heaven, was ®nally able to kill the possessed beast.)

This text lays out the authenticity of the community: its unbroken and, for Canada, lengthy history, its ties to the aboriginal population and to the land. It introduces an element of legend, an attractive dimension to local heritage, which is not only colourful but which also points to the ability of the community to pull together under hard conditions, and to overcome serious threats (a general theme of the story of linguistic minority survival). This legend has, in turn, been taken up
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

COMMODIFICATION OF LANGUAGE AND IDENTITY

489

locally as the theme of the annual summer festival mentioned above, the ®rst of which was held in the summer of 2002 (and in which the wolf, the symbol of  the festival, is understood as the element rassembleur of the legend). In some ways, this attention to authenticity has the attraction of permitting access to the group for people who understand themselves to be aliated, but who no longer speak French. It allows those who do speak French to control local resources nonetheless, since the organization of heritage tourism activities, and indeed the workings of major local francophone organizations, do continue to unfold in French. And the language remains a marketable asset in and of itself. This region, then, shows how current conditions can lead to the commodi®cation of both language and identity, separately and together, in ways which take up some of the elements of older discourses of identity, but in a radically changed frame. Bringing the community together in this new framework inevitably also exposes it to new relations with outsiders, as service-providers or producers of commodities. At the same time, it brings the community into the newly developing national network of francophone community development, and that network's links to francophone communities not only in Quebec, but also notably in Europe. This raises tensions regarding the extent to which the image of the community to be constructed should correspond most to the vision of its leadership, of its inhabitants, or its clients and patrons, at the same time as it o€ers new opportunities to reconstruct a community threatened by political and economic change. 4. LANGUAGE, IDENTITY, COMMODIFICATION AND AUTHENTICITY Both cases discussed here illustrate some of the tensions raised at the outset of this paper. The ethnonational consciousness built up through years of social, cultural and political resistance, now serves as a basis for economic mobilization, but places francophones as (possibly) privileged owners of bilingual resources within the range of in¯uence of corporate aliation pressures. Corporate culture places its own contradictory pressures on the de®nition of what is to count as valuable linguistic resources: it is unsure whether to value the authenticity of its workers' language skills, or to search for the standardized forms better suited to new forms of corporate control and more in line with corporate, `professional' image. These pressures in turn expose francophones to competition from speakers who possess bilingual resources acquired through schooling, rather than through membership in a minority community, whether immigrants from other French-speaking parts of the world (notably former French colonies) or local anglophones. This process is part of the tension between local solidarities and transnational aliations. The very globalization processes which bring outsiders into competition with insiders also open up the economic opportunities which attribute value to bilingual linguistic resources, since it is all about serving a national and international market. They also
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

490

HELLER

highlight tensions between the hybridity which is a mark of being able to navigate across the di€erent realms of corporate markets (a voice operator named Isabelle can be [izñ'bEl] or ['IzöbEl] ), and the uniformity of the image corporations wish to project. These are the tensions between the hybrid bilingualism which is the hallmark of minority francophones and the bounded monolingual-type performances they are usually asked to perform. Tourism and, more generally, globalized markets for authentic cultural products, provide a di€erent alternative for restructuring the economic basis of francophone communities. Here the tension is not so much between national and corporate identity as it is between political and economic bases for imagining community. This particular economy also raises tensions between local and supra-local aliations, since the local is what is marketed, but it is also what has value principally within supra-local networks, and partly because of its translocal and even transnational resonances (tourists from France are encouraged to visit their long-lost Canadian cousins; musicians from Louisiana and New Brunswick meet up at traditional music festivals in Europe, where they encounter groups singing in Welsh to Cajun rhythms, or more traditional musicians from Brittany or Corsica; Acadians from Canada, the U.S., Britain and France hold major congresses built around shared genealogy, history and culture). It also expresses the tension between the pure and the hybrid, as seen in tensions within realms of art over what is understood as pure and authentic and unchanging, versus deliberate attempts to mix traditional elements with elements from elsewhere and other times, or in tourism over where to draw the line between the authentic experience and user-friendliness (Yarymowich 2003). Finally, it is a zone of tension between the State and other forms of aliation, as the State attempts to regulate community development, providing resources but also demanding accountability, and insisting on criteria of access to its resources which privilege national bilingual networks and performances over any other form of imagining community. This is of course not the ®rst time that identity and language have become terrains of struggle, of contradiction and ambiguity. One might almost say that that is what they are for. Nonetheless, the globalized new economy presents speci®c constraints, both obstacles and opportunities, which present new opportunities for the development of the idea of local ethnolinguistic community, while asking for its radical transformation.

NOTES
1. The data on which this paper is based are drawn from a series of research projects funded bythe Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, which I thank along with my co-principal investigators, collaborators and assistants on the projects, at the    University of Toronto, the Universite de Moncton, the Universite de Montreal, the  University of Calgary, the Universite d'Avignon and the J. W. Goethe-Universita Èt Frankfurt/Main (since 1996, at various times, these have included Annette Boudreau,
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

COMMODIFICATION OF LANGUAGE AND IDENTITY

491

2.

3. 4.

5.

 Gabriele Budach, Gabriella Djerrahian, Lise Dubois, Jurgen Erfurt, Chantal Gelinas, È Â Marcel Grimard, Stephane Guitard, Emmanuel Kahn, Normand Labrie, Patricia   à  Lamarre, Stephanie Lamarre, Melanie Leblanc-Cote, Roger Lozon, Mireille McLaughlin, Deirdre Meintel, Claudine Moõse, Carsten Quell, Sylvie Roy, Chantal White, Maia È Yarymowich and Natalie Zur Nedden). I want to particularly acknowledge the role of Sylvie Roy, a former research assistant and current collaborator on the projects, who collected much of the data regarding one of the communities discussed in detail here. I would also like to thank Nikolas Coupland, Allan Bell, Claudine Moõse, Sylvie Roy È and an anonymous reviewer for comments on an earlier draft of this paper. Our data also include other sites in Ontario and Quebec relevant to the new pro®le of francophone Canada, including a multinational biotechnology company, a nonpro®t organization involved in the promotion of environmentally sound fair trade and other environmentally sound practices, and an organization involved in the arts and culture. These sites are less directly connected to the francophone heartland, although they likely represent the kinds of activities francophones will increasingly be involved in. They will not be discussed directly here. All names of individuals and places have been changed. As with any variety, it is dicult to provide a clear and uncontroversial de®nition. It is certainly a contact variety, with a fair amount of English lexis, as well as nonstandard French lexis and syntax, some inherited from the period of 17th and 18th century French colonization. It is also an urban working-class variety, characteristic of the industrialized south-east of New Brunswick. This term is one found echoed across francophone Canada, at federal, provincial and local levels. For example, the English-language version of a pamphlet produced by  the Ontario section of the federally funded (and therefore bilingual) Comite national  de developpement des ressources humaines de la francophonie canadienne (National Committee for Canadian Francophonie Human Resources Development) includes as one of the sector's goals: `Promote the added value of Francophones in economic development'. The same terminology turns up in Alberta in an interview with a representative of a provincial francophone economic association which has ties to  the Alberta sector of the national committee (Roy and Gelinas in press), and has turned up elsewhere in our data across the country.

REFERENCES
Bauman, Zygmund. 1997. Postmodernity and its Discontents. London: Routledge. Bender, Margaret. 1999. Visibility and self-critique in Eastern Cherokee language education. Paper presented at the 98th Conference of the American Anthropological Association, Chicago, Illinois. Á Â Â Boudreau, Annette. 2003. Le vernaculaire comme phenomene de resistance. Paper presented at the conference `Contacts de langue et minorisation: aspects sociolinguistiques et ethnolinguistiques', Sion, Switzerland. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1982. Ce que parler veut dire. Paris: Fayard. Budach, Gabriele, Sylvie Roy and Monica Heller. In press. Community and commodity in French Ontario. To appear in Language in Society 32(5). Cameron, Deborah. 2000. Good to Talk? London: Sage. Castells, Manuel. 2000. The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture. Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell.
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003

492

HELLER

  Comite national de developpement des ressources humaines de la francophonie  canadienne. 2003. Consolider le reseau: rapport annuel 2002±2003. Ottawa, Canada:  Developpement des ressources humaines Canada. Coupland, Nikolas. 2003. Sociolinguistic authenticities. Journal of Sociolinguistics 7: 417±431. Craik, Jennifer. 1997. The culture of tourism. In Chris Rojek and John Urry (eds.) Touring Cultures: Transformations of Travel and Theory. London: Routledge. 113±136. Gee, James, Glynda Hull and Colin Lankshear. 1996. The New Work Order: Behind the Language of the New Capitalism. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. Giddens, Anthony. 1990. The Consequences of Modernity. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. Heller, Monica (with the collaboration of Mark Campbell, Phyllis Dalley and Donna Patrick). 1999. Linguistic Minorities and Modernity: A Sociolinguistic Ethnography. London: Longman.   Heller, Monica. 2002. Elements d'une sociolinguistique critique. Paris: Didier.  Heller, Monica and Normand Labrie (eds.). In press. Discours et identites. Le Canada   francais entre modernite et mondialisation. Fernelmont, Belgium: Editions modulaires Ë Â europeennes. Ja€e, Alexandra. 1999. Ideologies in Action: Language Politics on Corsica. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.     Kosianski, Jean-Michel and Stephanie Loup. 2002. Identite(s) regionale(s) et developpe ment local. Paper presented at the Conference `Environnement et identite en    Mediterranee', Universite de Corte, France. Le Menestrel, Sara. 1999. La voie des Cadiens. Paris: Belin.  Makropoulos, Josee. 2000. The status of the French language and the development of French immersion education. Unpublished MA thesis. Toronto, Canada: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Á  Roy, Sylvie. 2002. Valeurs et pratiques langagieres dans la nouvelle economie. Unpublished PhD thesis. Toronto, Canada: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.  Roy, Sylvie and Chantal Gelinas. In press. Le tourisme pour les Franco Albertains: Une   porte d'entree au monde. To appear in Francophonies d'Amerique 17. Yarymowich, Maia. 2003. Language tourism in Canada: Theorizing language education as a global commodity. Unpublished MA thesis. Toronto, Canada: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.

Address correspondence to: Monica Heller CREFO Ontario Institute for Studies in Education University of Toronto 252 Bloor Street West Toronto Ontario M5S 1V6 Canada mheller@oise.utoronto.ca
# Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2003