The Cultural Politics of English as an International Language: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Cultural Politics of English as an International Language

1st Edition

By Alastair Pennycook


376 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780582234727
pub: 1994-12-19
Hardback: 9781138142480
pub: 2016-03-31

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Covering a wide range of areas including international politics, colonial history, critical pedagogy, postcolonial literature and applied linguitics, this book examines ways to understand the cultural and political implications of the global spread of English.

Firstly, it explores how a particular view of English as an international language has come into being by examining its colonial origins, its connections to linguistics and applied linguistics, and its relationships to the global spread of teaching practices. It then offers an alternative, critical understanding through the concept of the 'worldliness' of English. This concept suggests that English can never be removed from the social, cultural, economic or political contexts in which it is used.

Table of Contents


1. The World in English

Introduction: from Hurt Waldheim to Johnny Clegg

The natural, neutral and beneficial spread of English

The social, cultural and political contexts of English

The worldliness of English


2. Discourse and Dependency in a Shifting World

Introduction: rethinking internationalism

Development, aid and modernization

Dependency and imperialism

Culture, discourse, difference and disjuncture

Criket, English and cultural politics

3. English and Colonialism: Origins of a Discourse

Introduction: the complexities of colonialism

Anglicism and Orientalism: two sides of the colonial coin

English for the few: colonial education policies in Malaya

Anglicism and English studies


4. Spreading the Word/Disciplining the Language

Introduction: anti-nomadic disciplines

The disciplining of linguistics

The disciplining of applied linguistics

The spreading and disciplining of discourse of EIL

5. ELT From Development Aid to Global Commodity

From cultural propaganda to global business: The British Council

'The West is better…': discourses of ELT

English Language Teaching practices as cultural practices

Conclusion: the compass of discourse

6. The Worldliness of English in Malaysia


Cultural politics after independence

Malay nationalism and English

English, class and ethnicity

English adn Islam

English and the media

The debates continue

7. The Worldliness of English in Singapore

English as a useful language

The making of Singapore

Singapore English

Pragmatism, multiracialism and meritocratism

Pragmatic, multiracial and meritocratic English


8. Writing Back: The Appropriation of English

Postcolonial English

Re-presenting postcolonial worlds

Worldy texts in a worldly language

Decentered voices: writing in Malaysia

Centered voices: writing in Singapore

From aestheticism to yuppyism: the new writing in Singapore

From writing back to teaching back

9. Towards a Critical Pedagogy for Teaching English as a Worldly Language

Critical pedagogies

Discourse, language and subjectivity

Insurgent knowledges, the classroom and the world



About the Series

Language In Social Life

Language in Social Life is a major new series which highlights the importance of language to an understanding of issues of social and professional concern. It will be of practical relevance to all those wanting to understand how the ways we communicate both influence and are influenced by the structures and forces of contemporary social institutions.

Learn more…

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