Language, medical tourism and the enterprising self

Muth, Sebastian and Suryanarayan, Neelakshi (2020) Language, medical tourism and the enterprising self. Multilingua, 39 (3). 321–342. ISSN 0167-8507

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Abstract

This paper aims to demonstrate the implications of health mobility on language practices in the medical tourism industry in India and on the ways, language workers become entrepreneurs. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork that traces the trajectories of three former students of Russian, we highlight their future aspirations as language learners and entrepreneurs and show, how they attempt to capitalize on language skills and respond to changing conditions and patient movements within the structures, constraints and uncertainties of the linguistic market. Here, it is our aim to illustrate what it takes to become an enterprising and successful language worker and at the same time highlight their current positioning as emblematic yet subordinate figures within a fast-growing service industry in an emerging economy. We further demonstrate, how language skills not only become commodities to serve existing or future markets, but instead are recast as tools that can be strategically employed to secure recognition and access to prestigious and lucrative professional networks. In doing so, this paper illustrates how linguistic value is produced in a service industry that to date only received little attention in sociolinguistic research.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Multilingua
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3315
Subjects:
ID Code:
140721
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
27 Jan 2020 12:10
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
15 Sep 2020 15:05