LINGUIST List 32.3604

Fri Nov 12 2021

Books: In Pursuit of English: Park

Editor for this issue: Billy Dickson <>

Date: 29-Oct-2021
From: Tyler Simnick <>
Subject: In Pursuit of English: Park
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Title: In Pursuit of English
Subtitle: Language and Subjectivity in Neoliberal South Korea
Series Title: Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics
Published: 2021
Publisher: Oxford University Press

Book URL:

Author: Joseph Sung-Yul Park
Hardback: ISBN: 9780190855734 Pages: 202 Price: U.S. $ 125
Paperback: ISBN: 9780190855741 Pages: 202 Price: U.S. $ 39.95

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.

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics

Written In: English (eng)

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Page Updated: 12-Nov-2021