ERG SES D 01, Higher Education
The overarching objectives in the thesis, of which this paper is part, concern internationalization of and in higher education as a phenomenon in a policy process, and its transformation over time and space. Educational policy needs to be studied in the context of history as well as in the context of global (re)transfer (e.g. Waldow, 2008). Defining the Europeanizing of education as a policy space (Lawn & Grek, 2012) highlights the impact and influence supra-national bodies within Europe have. In the thesis the policy process is considered a complex and non-linear process where different levels interact, shape, re-shape, transform and re-transform each other.
This research paper aims at discussing how linguistic issues are part of internationalizing higher education of today, as well as how these linguistic issues are discursively constructed, using Swedish policy texts as an example. Already in 1999, Phillipson and Skutnabb-Kangas (1999) pointed out the lack of such discussions, and the need for action plans and language awareness. Maybe a growing international exchange and increasing international interdependence will propel the question of a thorough approach to language issues in higher education (cr. Jansson, 2008). Studies on language policies in higher education have been conducted, and Jansson (ibid.) found that policies in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden are diverse in both strategies and level of ambition.
The dominant position of English, as part of the huge globalization process (Graddol & Meinhof, 1999), needs to be addressed from a perspective of power and inequality (Phillipson & Skutnabb-Kangas, 1999). Complex and contradictory discourses are to be found within the linguistic transformation of Europe, ranging from a celebration of linguistic diversity, towards the assertion of English as the key to globalization and as an imposed monoculture (Phillipson, 2006). English as a worldwide scientific language has seldom been questioned, but as a language of instruction there has been opposition, which for some time seems to be diminishing (de Wit, 2002). In the present study questions of linguistic dominance and its possible consequences will be raised.
Theoretically the study is framed within a critical tradition which puts education policy in a broader social context (e.g. Ball, 1993; Simons, Olssen & Peters, 2009). Called critical policy studies the aim is for revealing what is taken for granted. The approach sees conditions as contingent and language is seen as social practice (Simons et al., ibid).
Ball, Stephen J. (1993). What is policy? Texts, trajectories and toolboxes. Discourse, vol 13, no 2, p9-17. de Wit, Hans (2002). Internationalization of Higher Education in the United States of America and Europe. A Historical, Comparative and Conceptual Analysis. Westport: Greenwood Press. Fairclough, Isabela & Fairclough, Norman (2012). Political Discourse Analysis. A Method for Advanced Students. Oxon: Routledge. Fairclough, Norman (2010). Critical Discourse Analysis. The Critical Study of Language. 2nd ed. Harlow: Pearson Education Ltd. Graddol, David & Meinhof, Ulrike H. (red.) (1999). English in a Changing World. AILA Review, 13. Jansson, Erland (2008). Språkstrategier vid nordiska lärosäten [Language policies at Nordic universities]. I Erland Jansson (red.) VETENSKAPSENGELSKA – med svensk kvalitet? Skrift utgiven av Språkrådet i samarbete med Högskoleverket & Södertörns högskola. Kälvermark, Torsten (1997). Sweden. In Torsten Kälvermark & Marijk van der Wende (Eds.) National Policies for the Internationalisation of Higher Education in Europe. Stockholm: Högskoleverket Studies 1997:8 S Lawn, Martin & Grek, Sotiria (2012). Europeanizing Education – governing a new policy space. Oxford: Symposium Books Ltd. Phillipson, Robert (2006) Figuring out the Englishisation of Europe. I C. Leung & J. Jenkins (Eds.) Reconfiguring Europe: The Contribution of Applied Linguistics. (s. 65-86) London: Equinox and British Association for Applied Linguistics. Phillipson, Robert & Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove (1999). Englishisation: one dimension of globalization. English in a Changing World, AILA Review 13: 17-36. Simons, Maarten, Olessen, Mark & Peters, Michael A. (Eds.) (2009). Re-Reading Education Policies. A Handbook Studying the Policy Agenda of the 21st Century. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Waldow, Florian (2008). Utbildningspolitik, ekonomi och internationella utbildningstrender i Sverige 1930-2000 [Educational policy, economy and international educational trends in Sweden 1930-2000]. Stockholm: Stockholms universitets förlag. van der Wende, Marijk (1997). Missing Links – The Relationship between National Policies for Internationalisation and those for Higher Education in General. In Torsten Kälvermark & Marijk van der Wende (Eds.) National Policies for the Internationalisation of Higher Education in Europe. Stockholm: Högskoleverket Studies 1997:8 S Wodak, Ruth & Meyer, Michael (2009). Critical discourse analysis: history, agenda, theory and methodology. In R. Wodak & M. Meyer (Eds.) Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis.2nd ed. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
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