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ERIC Number: EJ1151334
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1945-0222
Mapping Conceptual Change: The Ideological Struggle for the Meaning of EFL in Uruguayan Education
Canale, German
L2 Journal, v7 n3 p15-39 2015
Neoliberal ideology attempts to make all spheres of social life play by the rules of the market (Gray, 2000), and foreign language teaching is not an exception. The hegemonic role of English in the neoliberal project breeds it as a commodity that can satisfy non-native speakers' need to access the globalized world. In the 1990s, neoliberalism dominated the sociopolitical landscape of most Latin American countries. At the time, language policies in Uruguay sought to make English the foreign language "par excellence," to the detriment of other languages such as French and Italian. The discourse of neoliberal language policies related the expansion of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) to a new global order that called for an instrumental language to help Uruguay become "a first world country," and English was the key to open doors to globalization. During the first decade of the 21st century, however, the sociopolitical landscape of Uruguay shifted toward a left-wing ideology. Even though policies continued to promote EFL, they struggled to re-define its political meaning. As English was now seen as a symbol of imperialism (Phillipson, 1992) and colonialism (Pennycook, 1994, 1998, 2000), the only way for Uruguayan children to be critical of its hegemonic power was to learn the language through a pedagogy of empowerment. In this paper, I argue that the transition from neoliberal to left-wing ideology in central government brought about a political struggle (Koselleck, 1993, 2002) in which each ideology fought to (re)define EFL in its own terms. I will map this political struggle to define EFL in Uruguay by analyzing three official EFL-related documents written by policy makers and other stakeholders in the 1990s and 2000s, which represent the voices of neoliberal and left-wing policy makers, respectively.
Berkeley Language Center, University of California. B-40 Dwinelle Hall #2640, Berkeley, CA 94720. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Uruguay
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A