{ porosity }


Porosity means the presence of pores, small holes, or cracks in a structure.[1]
Porosity can be a critical question that provides a crack in a solid body and generates a hole in a coherent epistemological system. Porosity can unsettle pre-existing harmony, classification, and categorization in favor of elucidating new ways of seeing, new ways of thinking, and togetherness. Leonard Cohen, in his lyrics for Anthem, writes: “There is a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”.[2] Teaching a minority language within the context of a nation state can be seen as an act of porosity, seeping into, creating cracks in, and ultimately rupturing the coherence of national identity. Deconstruction of the hegemony of a language in a discourse of nation state might lead us into the domain of pluralism, and be considered as a challenge to cultural homogeneity. Antonio Gramsci explains the question of language on a broader horizon and shows us how it is associated with a series of other problems which govern and touch upon the formation of various social classes. In other words, speaking about language as a socio-political phenomenon would be recognized as a question regarding cultural hegemony.[3] Cultural hegemony is a policy which intends to give recognition to a particular epistemology, knowledge, and value system which develops itself within political economy and works in favor of the nation state. Supremacy of one language can provide assimilative policies that emphasize a dominant culture for creating social cohesion and making an imaginative community. Walter Mignolo, in his analysis of the colonial matrix of power, denotes the importance of language, vocabulary, and epistemology for unfolding and explaining another state of being.[4] Teaching minority languages and having the right to learn the mother tongue might provide a sphere for criticizing and unsettling a hegemonic culture. In our age, we rarely see hard racism, which is often based on the color of skin in its rhetoric. Rather, we encounter structural racism, which is deeply rooted in a hierarchical attitude to a culture that is seen as a continuation of the legacy of colonialism. Emphasis on Swedish culture and the assimilatory process in a political discourse generates the possibility to create otherness. In this sense, learning and teaching the mother tongue in the pedagogical and educational system is not just a fundamental right; it is an act of political resistance against nationalism, a porosity into the fictional coherence of national identity.


[1] Oxford University Press, Oxford Reference, accessed November 27, 2022. https://www.oxfordreference.com.
[2] Leonard Cohen, “Anthem,” The Future, Columbia, 1992, CD.
[3] Walter Mignolo and Catherine E. Walsh, On Decoloniality: Concept, Analytic, Praxis (Durham: Duke
University Press, 2018), 153.
[4] Antonia Darder, “Cultural Hegemony, Language, and the Politics of Forgetting: Interrogating Restrictive Language Policies”, in Affirming Language Diversity in Schools and Society: Beyond Linguistic Apartheid, ed. P. Orelus (New York: Peter Lang, 2014), 74.


Ali Ardalan