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Academic Paper


Title: Neoliberalism as language policy
Author: Ingrid Piller
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.languageonthemove.com/ingrid-piller
Institution: Macquarie University
Author: Jinhyun Cho
Institution: Macquarie University
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: This article explores how an economic ideology—neoliberalism—serves as a covert language policy mechanism pushing the global spread of English. Our analysis builds on a case study of the spread of English as a medium of instruction (MoI) in South Korean higher education. The Asian financial crisis of 1997/98 was the catalyst for a set of socioeconomic transformations that led to the imposition of “competitiveness” as a core value. Competition is heavily structured through a host of testing, assessment, and ranking mechanisms, many of which explicitly privilege English as a terrain where individual and societal worth are established. University rankings are one such mechanism structuring competition and constituting a covert form of language policy. One ranking criterion—internationalization—is particularly easy to manipulate and strongly favors English MoI. We conclude by reflecting on the social costs of elevating competitiveness to a core value enacted on the terrain of language choice. (English as a global language, globalization, higher education, medium of instruction (MoI), neoliberalism, South Korea, university rankings)

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This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 42, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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