Voices of a City Market: An Ethnography

Author: Adrian Blackledge, Angela Creese

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Multilingual Matters
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This book breaks new ground in its representation of the voices of people in a superdiverse city as they go about their everyday lives. Poetic, polyphonic, and compelling, it places the reader at the heart of the market hall, surrounded by the translanguaging voices of people from all over the world. Based on four years of ethnographic research, the book is a gift to the senses, evoking the smells, sights, and sounds of the multilingual city. This is a book that reimagines the conventions of both ethnographic writing and academic discourse.

With coffee and croissants and chairs in a circle, this book invites us to explore the mundane world of ethnographic research amid the voices, bodies, meat cleavers, everyday racism, conviviality, and cuts of meat in a market. It takes us on a poetic expedition in search of the quintessence of experience and its impossibility, giving us instead the rhythm and rhyme of encounters with eels, intestines, milk, blood, tea and fish. Beguiling.

Alastair Pennycook, University of Technology Sydney, Australia

The ethnographic eye and poetic sensibility Blackledge and Creese bring to their work shines through brilliantly in these scenes and characters from the everyday business of a bustling urban multicultural and multilingual food market, bringing our human diversity and common humanity to the fore. This is not a quick read, but it is a deeply rewarding one.

Nancy H. Hornberger, University of Pennsylvania, USA

This piece of work researching on voices of the market has informed the current ethnographic research from at least two perspectives. Firstly it exhausts all the modern research techniques available, researching out for details of social life to reveal the complexity and superdiversity of the city market. The way the data are collected and presented has also shed some light on both ethnographic research method and ethnographic writing. It can be hailed as the cornerstone of twenty-first century ethnography.

BAAL News, Issue 117, Summer 2020

An original combination of research rigour, creative writing, and artistic materials produces a highly expressive text that places the reader at the very centre of the market and of the multifaceted processes of translation taking place within it. 

Social Semiotics, 2020

Voices of a City Market provides a nuanced and experimental account of multilingualism and superdiversity in urban Britain. The book's original form of evocative vignettes draws readers in and highlights the wide diversity of voices at play in the market. The result is an account that demonstrates the promise of superdiversity
as a theoretical approach to the increasingly complex constellations of difference both within and across migrant communities.

Language in Society 50 (2021)

We found the book to be a beautiful demonstration of detailed, nuanced description and representation of ethnographic data unlike most of the academic writing in the academy. The plethora of characters encountered
by the reader in the book represent many cultures, which makes it a great demonstration of mindful representational writing [...] above all, we would highly recommend this book for what it is – a delightful rendition of an account of everyday mundane life and takeaways from it.

International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 2021

Adrian Blackledge is Professor of Sociolinguistics at the University of Stirling, UK. He has published widely on both multilingualism and sociolinguistics. He was Birmingham Poet Laureate from 2014-2016.

Angela Creese is Professor of Linguistic Ethnography at the University of Stirling, UK. She has published widely on multilingualism and ethnographic methods.









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