LINGUIST List 27.1210

Tue Mar 08 2016

FYI: Call for Contributions: Politics of Research in Language Education

Editor for this issue: Ashley Parker <>

Date: 07-Mar-2016
From: Seyyed-Abdolhamid Mirhosseini <>
Subject: Call for Contributions: Politics of Research in Language Education
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Call for Contributions
Politics of Research in Language Education

Seyyed-Abdolhamid Mirhosseini
Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran
Damian J. Rivers
Future University Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan

Research may be perceived as an always-welcome practice innocently associated with discovery, understanding, and learning. However, there have been occasional cries of dissent vis-à-vis the all-out embracement of research. Smith (1999) bluntly puts research in the spotlight as ‘probably one of the dirtiest words’ from the perspective of indigenous communities. Such concerns can caution against the taken-for-granted neutrality of research. In addition to association with various extra-academic elements such as colonialism, a crucial concern about research is its inextricable association with academia and academic knowledge. Knowledge outside academia has always been created and re-created through diverse modes of inquiry and learning but academic knowledge has been strongly associated with certain forms of research within strictly defined frameworks and processes that have extended the scope of influences on academic research trends far beyond mere thirst for learning and understanding.

Although this probable partiality of the essence of academic research tends to be generally ignored, the interested nature of research has been even less acknowledged in the area of language education compared with other fields of inquiry. The very idea of (English) language education itself has been scrutinized in terms of its ideological and sociopolitically-positioned nature and this has been partially received as viable discourse in the field (e.g. Pennycook, 1998). The specific issue of language education research has been subjected to such scrutiny in rare cases like Alderson’s (2009) work on ‘The Micropolitics of Research and Publication’. Nonetheless, despite the overall recognition of the importance of politically-sensitive understandings of issues in language education, the discourse community of the field remains somewhat disinterested in problematizing the processes and practices of research as anything more than a neutral truth-seeking endeavor.

This volume problematizes research in the field as inherently loaded and political in nature. The book does not aim to tackle the interconnections between research and politics as such, as for example is the case in Kaplan and Levine’s (1997) edited collection. Rather, it intends to revisit language education research as essentially political in almost all its aspects and elements in themselves, including topics, methodologies, settings, participants, data, and analysis, as well as funding, publishing, and the teaching of research methodology. Potential chapters are invited addressing ontological, epistemological, sociocultural, political, economic, institutional, etc. aspects of language education research in terms of prevalent research topics, dominant methodologies, peer review and publication, funding, teaching research methodology, etc. Possible issues for exploration include, but are not limited to the following:

- What are the research methods most widely used in language education studies and taught in academic programs of the field and why?
- What are the most frequently researched topics in the field and how have they come to be agreed upon as the most important concerns?
- What are the underlying epistemological positions of the prevalent research problems, methods, and theories of language and learning in language education studies? Has the embracement of such epistemologies been conscious or unconscious?
- What is the role of peer review processes and publishing mechanisms in promoting/hindering the reproduction of certain research perspectives and practices?
- How are funding agencies influenced by dominant research trends in language education and how do they influence these trends?
- What is the role of academic policies including promotion mechanisms in shaping the research involvements of faculty members in research areas related to language education?
- What is the role of the teaching/learning atmosphere of departments of language education in shaping graduate research in the field?
- How do the so-called globalization forces on the one hand, and local sociocultural features on the other, influence research topics, methodologies, and publications in the field?
- Is there any possibility of language education research outside academia and, if yes, what are the realizations and the possible challenges of such research?

Proposals for theoretical discussions as well as empirical studies based on different methodological approaches and across different sociocultural and geographical contexts are welcome. Potential contributors are invited to submit a 300-word proposal to the co-editors by June 15th 2016. Publication will be sought with a major international publisher.

Dr. Seyyed-Abdolhamid Mirhosseini (Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran)
Dr. Damian Rivers (Future University Hakodate, Hokkaido, Japan)

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

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