Volume 8, Issue 2-3
  • ISSN 2214-9953
  • E-ISSN: 2214-9961
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



We use a geographically informed notion of and Williams’ (1977) framework to examine ‘closed’, masking, and social distancing signs on businesses in the Washington, DC central-city neighborhood of Adams Morgan. We argue that the semantic content and discursive structure of the Covid signs, together with the in-the-moment feeling of walking down empty streets while a little-understood virus had just started raging, promoted a reconceptualization of labor relations tied to solidarity, public health, and communal responsibility, and making visible the working conditions of low-wage workers. This new structure of feeling opens up a space – however narrow – of political possibility.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Androutsopoulos, J.
    (this issue). Scaling the pandemic dispositive: A multimodal analysis of mask-requirement signs during 2020. Linguistic Landscape. 10.1075/ll.21038.and
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ll.21038.and [Google Scholar]
  2. Aronowitz, S.
    (2014) The death and life of American labor: toward a new worker’s movement. London: Verso.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Bilkic, M.
    (2018) Emplacing hate: Turbulent graffscapes and linguistic violence in post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina. Linguistic Landscape, 4(1), 1–28. 10.1075/ll.17011.bil
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ll.17011.bil [Google Scholar]
  4. Blommaert, J.
    (2013) Ethnography, Superdiversity and Linguistic Landscapes: Chronicles of complexity. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters. 10.21832/9781783090419
    https://doi.org/10.21832/9781783090419 [Google Scholar]
  5. Comer, J.
    (this issue). ‘Together, soon enough’: Melbourne’s affective-discursive landscape during and since lockdown. Linguistic Landscape. 10.1075/ll.21044.com
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ll.21044.com [Google Scholar]
  6. Douglas, G. C. C.
    (this issue). A sign in the window: Social norms and community resilience through handmade signage in the age of Covid-19. Linguistic Landscape. 10.1075/ll.21037.dou
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ll.21037.dou [Google Scholar]
  7. Goffman, E.
    (1981) Forms of talk. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Hackworth, J.
    (2007) The neoliberal city: Governance, ideology and development in American urbanism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Järlehed, J., Nielsen, H. L., & Rosendal, T.
    (2018) Language, food, and gentrification: Signs of socioeconomic mobility in two Gothenburg neighbourhoods. Multilingual Margins, 5(1), 40–65. 10.14426/mm.v5i1.88
    https://doi.org/10.14426/mm.v5i1.88 [Google Scholar]
  10. Kallen, J.
    (2008) Tourism and representation in the Irish linguistic landscape. InE. Shohamy and D. Gorter (eds.), Linguistic Landscapes: Expanding the scenery (pp.270–283). New York: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Katz, M.
    (1995) Improving Poor People. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Kunkle, F.
    (2021, July16). Fight over Adams Morgan nonprofit splits business community. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/07/16/adams-morgan-business-improvement-district/
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Leeman, J. and Modan, G.
    (2010) Selling the City: Language, Ethnicity, and Commodified Space. InE. Shohamy, R. Ben-Eliazer, and M. Barni (eds.), Linguistic Landscape in the City (pp.182–198). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters. 10.21832/9781847692993‑012
    https://doi.org/10.21832/9781847692993-012 [Google Scholar]
  14. (2009) Commodified language in Chinatown: A contextualized approach to linguistic landscape. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 13(3), 332–362. 10.1111/j.1467‑9841.2009.00409.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9841.2009.00409.x [Google Scholar]
  15. Mapes, G.
    (2021) Elite authenticity: Remaking distinction in food discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/oso/9780197533444.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780197533444.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  16. Milak, E.
    (this issue). (Un)masking Seoul: The mask as a static and dynamic semiotic device for renegotiating space. Linguistic Landscape. 10.1075/ll.21029.mil
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ll.21029.mil [Google Scholar]
  17. Mitchell, D.
    (2000) Cultural Geography: A Critical Introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. O’Connor, A.
    (2001) Poverty knowledge: Social science, social policy, and the poor in twentieth-century U.S. history. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 10.1515/9781400824748
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9781400824748 [Google Scholar]
  19. Papen, U.
    (2012) Commercial discourses, gentrification, and citizens’ protest: The linguistic landscape of Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 16(1), 56–80. 10.1111/j.1467‑9841.2011.00518.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9841.2011.00518.x [Google Scholar]
  20. (2015) Signs in cities: The discursive production and commodification of urban spaces. Sociolinguistic Studies, 9(1), 1–267. 10.1558/sols.v9i1.21627
    https://doi.org/10.1558/sols.v9i1.21627 [Google Scholar]
  21. Peck, J. and Theodore, N.
    (2012) Politicizing contingent work: Countering neoliberal labor market regulation… from the bottom up?. South Atlantic Quarterly, 111(4), 741–761. 10.1215/00382876‑1724165
    https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-1724165 [Google Scholar]
  22. Phyak, P. & Sharma, B. K.
    (this issue). Citizen Linguistic Landscape, bordering practices, and semiotic ideology in the COVID-19 pandemic. Linguistic Landscape. 10.1075/ll.21035.phy
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ll.21035.phy [Google Scholar]
  23. Pinder, D.
    (2011) Errant paths: The poetics and politics of walking. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 29(4), 672–92. 10.1068/d10808
    https://doi.org/10.1068/d10808 [Google Scholar]
  24. Schaller, S. F.
    (2019) Business Improvement Districts and the contradictions of placemaking: BID Urbanism in Washington, DC. Athens: University of Georgia Press. 10.2307/j.ctv5npk6z
    https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv5npk6z [Google Scholar]
  25. Strandberg, J.
    (2020) ‘Nordic cool’ and writing system mimicry in global linguistic landscapes. Lingua, 285, 1–14. 10.1016/j.lingua.2019.102783
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lingua.2019.102783 [Google Scholar]
  26. Strange, L.
    (this issue). Covid-19 and public responsibility: A multimodal critical discourse analysis of blaming the public during the UK’s third wave. Linguistic Landscape. 10.1075/ll.21034.str
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ll.21034.str [Google Scholar]
  27. Theng, A. J., Tse, V. W. S. & Wu, J. Z. Z.
    (this issue). Complicating solidarity: The Hong Kong Covid-19 landscape. Linguistic Landscape. 10.1075/ll.21036.the
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ll.21036.the [Google Scholar]
  28. Trinch, S. & Snajdr, E.
    (2021) What the signs say: Language, gentrification, and place-making in Brooklyn. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Thurlow, C. & Jaworski, A.
    (2010) Semiotic landscapes: Language, image, space. London: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Tufi, S.
    (this issue). Hybrid places: The reconfiguration of domestic space in the time of Covid-19. Linguistic Landscape. 10.1075/ll.21043.tuf
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ll.21043.tuf [Google Scholar]
  31. Ward, K. & Jonas, A. E. G.
    (2014) Competitive city-regionalism as a politics of space: A critical reinterpretation of the new regionalism. Environment and Planning A, 36(12), 2119–2139. 10.1068/a36223
    https://doi.org/10.1068/a36223 [Google Scholar]
  32. Wee, L.
    (2016) Situating affect in linguistic landscapes. Linguistic Landscape, 2(2), 105–126. 10.1075/ll.2.2.01wee
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ll.2.2.01wee [Google Scholar]
  33. Wells, K.
    (2015) A Housing Crisis, a Failed Law, and a Property Conflict: The U.S. Urban Speculation Tax. Antipode: A Radical Geography Journal, 47(4), 1043–1061. 10.1111/anti.12146
    https://doi.org/10.1111/anti.12146 [Google Scholar]
  34. Williams, R.
    (1977) Marxism and Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error