Language Policy and Political Economy: English in a Global Context

Paperback | October 14, 2016

EditorThomas Ricento

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This volume articulates a new framework for language policy research that explores the connections between language policy and political economy. The chapters are united in their focus on English, a language that has enjoyed a reputation as a "global language" over the course of the lastcentury and that is perceived as a tool for socioeconomic mobility. The book argues that adopting a new, political economic approach to language policy research will enhance our ability to provide more consistent explanations about the status, functions, benefits, and limitations of English in itsvarious roles in non-English dominant countries. The book poses the questions: Does English serve as a "lingua franca" and does it advance the interests of sustainable economic and social development in low-income countries? Written by leading experts in language policy research, the chapters reveal the myriad and complex ways in which governmentleaders, policymakers, and communities make decisions about the languages that will be taught as subjects or used as media of instruction in schools. English is often advertised as a social "good" with unquestioned instrumental value, yet access to quality English-medium education in low-incomecountries tends to be restricted to those with sufficient economic means to pay for it. As the capitalist world economy continues to change and grow, and assuming that translation technologies continue to improve, it is likely that the roles and relative importance of English as a global languagewill change significantly. Assessing the costs and benefits of acquiring English therefore takes on increased urgency. The book argues that a political economic approach is particularly appropriate in this endeavor, as it takes into account theories and empirical findings from a range of disciplinesin order to assess and explain real-world phenomena that do not fit neatly into boxes labeled "economic," "social," "political" or "cultural." Together, the chapters in this volume argue for a new direction in language policy studies-grounded in political economy - that will explain why English has been experienced as both a blessing and curse in different parts of the world, why English continues to be useful as a lingua franca forparticular sectors of the global economy, and why it is a detriment to economic development in many low-income countries. The book will be invaluable to language policy scholars, policy-makers, and educators, significantly advancing research in this important field.

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This volume articulates a new framework for language policy research that explores the connections between language policy and political economy. The chapters are united in their focus on English, a language that has enjoyed a reputation as a "global language" over the course of the lastcentury and that is perceived as a tool for socio...

Thomas Ricento is Professor and Research Chair at the University of Calgary, Canada. He has published widely in the field of language policy and on the politics of language in North America. He was a Fulbright Professor in Colombia (1989) and Costa Rica (2000), and a visiting professor at universities in Chile, Germany, Spain, and Swi...

other books by Thomas Ricento

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Language Policy And Planning

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:October 14, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190656735

ISBN - 13:9780190656737

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"The book contributes to the demythologisation of an 'English-only' remedy for the world's communication problems. It offers perspectives from linguistic economy, political theory, sociology, English, and education studies, and presents a broad range of research methods." --Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development