Abstract

I examine the way in which multilingualism and language education is appropriated by the ideology of neoliberalism, using the perspective of linguistic entrepreneurship, which is defined as “the act of aligning with the moral imperative to strategically exploit language-related resources for enhancing one’s worth in the world” (De Costa, Park & Wee 2016, p. 696). By exploring how linguistic entrepreneurship is instantiated in a range of formal and informal educational contexts across the world, I offer a critical  perspective on the processes by which language learning is reframed as a moral responsibility of neoliberal subjects. In particular, I investigate (1) the material conditions that have enabled and constrained the emergence of linguistic entrepreneurship, and (2) its impact on individuals from several countries. 

By drawing on these country examples, I illustrate how linguistic entrepreneurship illuminates the concrete processes by which people come to align themselves with the ideal of neoliberalism, developing a particular sense of self as subjects, through a range of ideological, historical, and political economic conditions.

Bio

Peter De Costa is an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Languages and the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University. His research areas include emotions, identity, ideology and ethics in educational linguistics. He also studies social (in)justice issues. He is the co-editor of TESOL Quarterly.