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Language Policy and Political EconomyEnglish in a Global Context$
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Thomas Ricento

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199363391

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199363391.001.0001

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Political Economy and English as a “Global” Language

Political Economy and English as a “Global” Language

(p.27) 1 Political Economy and English as a “Global” Language
Language Policy and Political Economy
Thomas Ricento
Oxford University Press

The under- (or non-)specification of terms such as “globalization” and “neoliberalism” in the subfield of language policy leads to disputes and contrary positions on important issues where there might otherwise be greater agreement, or at least a basis for identifying common ground. This, in turn, could lead to a greater possibility of “consilience,” a term popularized during the Enlightenment and revived by biologist E. O. Wilson (1998), in which “principles from different disciplines . . . form a comprehensive theory” (Merriam-Webster). The chapter argues that language policy scholars’ lack of sophistication in political economy impacts their ability to critically address the effects of neoliberalism on language policies and practices in many parts of the world today, including in high-income countries. Furthermore, a greater understanding of how globalization interacts with national economies and how those interactions may influence both the trajectory and fate of languages might serve as a starting point for new research directions in the field of language policy and planning.

Keywords:   globalization, neoliberalism, language policy, English as a lingua franca, social justice

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