English Language in Public Space - between Inclusion and Social Exclusion. Pilot Studies in Poland and Portugal (STUDY SPONSORED BY NATIONAL SCIENCE CENTRE, POLAND, Grant NO: 2017/01/X/HS6/00316)

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 18:15
Oral Presentation
Anna ODROWAZ-COATES, Maria Grzegorzewska Pedagogical University in Warsaw, Poland
The empirical study is socio-educational and not a linguistic one. It focuses on citizens’ perceptions of English language expansion in Europe and also in their own country. It looks for meta theories concerning access and social environment. The preliminary study is funded by the National Science Centre (Poland) and encompasses the Warsaw and Lisbon area. Poland and Portugal incorporated English language into their educational system at a similar time. The main research questions are:

- how is English is perceived by different social groups?

- who learns English and why?

- in which circumstances or places is English used in Poland and Portugal?

- is the expansion noticeable and how is it perceived?

In the introduction it will be discussed how widely spoken English is in Europe, with a time scale showing the gradual expansion (visible in age cohorts). The expansion of the English language will be analyzed as a 'governmentality' strategy of neo-liberal political elites. It will be argued that for middle-class and working-class people, the English language has become a prerequisite of social inclusion in the world of globalized economy and globalized science. Piketty's "Capital" (2013) outlines the problem of the center and the periphery of the US-centric and therefore English speaking, global economy. The discussion will be embedded in critical theory, with particular emphasis on the works of Michel Foucault, who questions the 'reasons' we use as rational beings and asks about the risks of our rationality. This question may be applied to the rationalization of learning English. Moreover, Foucault’s concept of bio-power, advanced by James Marshall's (1995)"busno-power" and Louis Althusser's (1976) interpellation concept (interpeller) will be married with Pierre Bourdieu's ideas of social reproduction through education practices.