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date: 25 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores some of the ways that apparently incompatible claims from the language policy and planning (LPP) literature can be disambiguated and resolved by reference to political economy. In particular, it focuses on competing views regarding the role of English in the world today as either a form of linguistic imperialism or a vehicle for social and economic mobility. In analyzing the nature and effects of neoliberalism, as expressed in its globalized economic and political forms, it shows that the role and utility of English worldwide is a vehicle for mobility for some people, in some economic sectors, mainly the knowledge economy, but is generally not connected to socioeconomic mobility for the vast majority of the global workforce. The discussion of neoliberal globalization and the role of English addresses the following questions: Where does power reside? Who has agency? Who decides which language has value? Who has rights?

Keywords: English, economic development, globalization, language planning, language policy, imperialism, neoliberalism

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