Language Policy and Political Economy: English in a Global Context

ISBN : 9780199363391

Thomas Ricento
336 ページ
162 x 237 mm

English is the common denominator that unites the work presented in this volume; it provides a focal point to illustrate the ways in which a political economic approach can account for a range of phenomena in diverse settings in which a "global" language has attained a special status as (an often perceived) tool for socioeconomic mobility. The findings reveal the complex ways in which government leaders and policymakers, as well as communities and individuals in those communities, make decisions within a global economy about the languages that will be taught as subjects or used as media of instruction in schools. Whether or not the "Straight for English" policy that has become popular in various countries in southern Africa and elsewhere is a good or bad idea, in terms of improving school completion and literacy rates, English is often promoted as a social "good" with unquestioned instrumental value; yet access to quality English medium education in low-income countries is mostly restricted to those with sufficient economic means to pay for it. As the capitalist world-economy undergoes transformations, and assuming that translation technologies continue to improve, it is likely that the roles and relative importance that English as a global language has enjoyed over the past century will change significantly. Synchronic contextual analyses of English in various countries and regions are snapshots of a moving target with fuzzy boundaries; this is even more so the case when the object of analysis is "lingua franca English," a fluid, contextually realized "practice" that may be described in situ, which is not stable and likely never will be. The degree to which English serves effectively as a lingua franca depends on who the interlocutors are, the situation, and the extent to which interlocutors' interests and goals are mutually compatible and understood.


Introduction: Language Policy and Political Economy
Thomas Ricento
Part I: Political Theory and Political Economy in Language Policy Research on English as a Global Language
1. Political Economy and English as a " Language
Thomas Ricento
2. Global English and the Limits of Liberalism: Confronting Global Capitalism and Challenges to the Nation-State
Peter Ives
3. Language Policy and Global Political Economy
Jeff Bale
4. Language, Hegemony, and Economy
Glyn Williams
Part II: Political Economy and Global English: Case Studies
5. The Economics of English in Europe
Francois Grin
6. Language Education, Economic Development, and Participation in the Greater Mekong Subregion
Paul Bruthiaux
7. Neoliberalism as Language Policy
Ingrid Piller and Jinhyun Cho
8. Why English Dominates the Central Economy: An Economic Perspective on " and South African Language Policy
Laurence Wright
9. Narratives of Globalization in Language Politics in India
Selma Sonntag
Part III: Global English, Development, and Democracy
10. The Ground Floor of the World: On the Socioeconomic Consequences of Linguistic Globalization
Philippe Van Parijs
11. Linguistic Diversity and Global English: The Pushmi-Pullyu of Language Policy and Political Economy
Suzanne Romaine
12. "English," the Global Lingua Franca?
Thomas Ricento


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.