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ERIC Number: EJ1101093
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0143-4632
Neoliberal Paradoxes of Language Learning: Xenophobia and International Communication
Kubota, Ryuko
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, v37 n5 p467-480 2016
Neoliberal ideology compels people to develop language skills as human capital. As English is considered to be the most useful language for global communication, learning, and teaching, English has been promoted in many countries. However, the belief that English connects people from diverse linguistic backgrounds in a borderless society contradicts nationalistic trends observed globally. For example, growing xenophobic nationalism in Japan and Japanese hostility towards China and Korea indicate that neoliberal promotion of language learning does not automatically lead to improved international communication. Drawing on two separate qualitative studies involving Japanese workers, this article presents two paradoxes: a paradox as seen in the workers' interest in learning English as a medium of international communication and their simultaneous reluctance or ambivalence to interact with Asian Others due to their negative attitudes towards the Others or fear for potential communication breakdown, and another paradox of having to advocate for communicative abilities and dispositions that appear to be aligned with neoliberal ideology in order to critique the neoliberal obsession with linguistic skills. Language teaching in rising xenophobic nationalism in our neoliberal era should consider appropriation of skills and dispositions for critical and transformative purposes in language use.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A