In Pursuit of English: Language and Subjectivity in Neoliberal South Korea

ISBN : 9780190855734

Joseph Sung-Yul Park
248 ページ
156 x 235 mm
Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics

In Pursuit of English traces how the English language became an object of heated pursuit amid South Korea's rapid neoliberalization, creating the so-called "English fever" of the 1990s and 2000s. Joseph Sung-Yul Park demonstrates that English gained prominence not because of the language's supposed economic value, but because of the anxieties, insecurities, and moral desire instilled by neoliberal Korean society. Park shows how English came to be seen as an index of an ideal neoliberal subject who willingly engages in constant self-management and self-development in response to the changing conditions of the global economy. Bringing together ethnographically-oriented perspectives on subjectivity, critical analysis of conditions of contemporary capitalism, theories of neoliberal governmentality, and sociolinguistic and linguistic anthropological frameworks of metapragmatic analysis, In Pursuit of English develops an innovative new direction for research at the intersection language and political economy, challenging researchers to consider subjectivity as the key for understanding the place of language in neoliberalism.


Chapter 1: Introduction
The World in Pursuit of English
Researching English in the Global Economy
Subjectivity as a Critical Perspective on Neoliberalism
English, Neoliberalism, and Subjectivity in South Korea
Outline of this Book
Chapter 2: Language and Subjectivity in Neoliberalism
Defining Neoliberalism
Theorizing Neoliberalism: Political Economy of Subjectivity
Languaging Subjectivity: Methodological Notes
Chapter 3: English and Neoliberalism in South Korea
Neoliberal South Korea: A Portrait of Hell
Korea's Neoliberal Transformation: History, Actors, Processes
Korea's English Fever and its Neoliberal Grounding
Subjective Foundations of the English Fever: A Historical Perspective
Chapter 4: Language as Pure Potential: Crafting a Desire for English
Who Desires English?
Desire, Neoliberalism, and Language Ideology
Language as Pure Potential
Cosmopolitan Desire and Dreams of Self-realization
Desire and the Crafting of New Subjectivities
Chapter 5: Language Learning as Technology of the Self: The Moral Grounding of English
English and inequality in Neoliberalism
Morality and Technologies of the Self
Success Stories of English Language Learning in the Conservative Press
The Successful Learner of English as a Moral Figure
English Language Learning as Technology of Self
Chapter 6: The Biopolitics of Language Learning: Youth, English, and Anxiety
Youth as a Valuable Resource
Language Learning as Biopolitics
Early English Education and Anxieties of the Future
Anxieties of Early Study Abroad: Fears of Being Lost in Time
Beyond Youth
Chapter 7: Deferring to the Other: English and Linguistic Insecurity
Commodification and Competing Ideologies of Language
Reframing Linguistic Insecurity
Korean Mid-level Managers in Non-Korean Multinational Corporations
Linguistic Insecurity in the Korean Managers' Discourse
Coloniality and the Neoliberal Valorization of English
Chapter 8: Becoming Precarious Subjects: The Unfulfilled Promise of English
Precarity as Subjective Condition
Promise of English in a State of Precarity
The rise and fall of TOEIC
Consequences for Precarity
Chapter 9: Conclusions
Rethinking English, Neoliberalism, and Subjectivity
Towards a Global Account of English and Neoliberalism
Subjectivity in Language and Political Economy
References $ https://global.oup.com/academic/product/9780190855734 $ Anthropology
Asian history
Political economy


Joseph Sung-Yul Park is Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the National University of Singapore. He is the author of The Local Construction of a Global Language: Ideologies of English in South Korea and co-author of Markets of English: Linguistic Capital and Language Policy in a Globalizing World and A Reference Grammar of Wappo.