The problem of 'choice' and the construction of the demand for English in Cambodia

STEPHEN CLAYTON

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper uses Cambodia as a case study to problematise the notion of choice in the spread of English. I explore specific historical contexts which were central to the construction of the demand for English and English language teaching (ELT) in Cambodia. The actions of a range of external agencies resulted in the close discursive articulation of English with Cambodia’s ‘reconstruction and development’ which was constructed along broadly neo-liberal lines. Alternative models of development were not considered, thus language alternatives were similarly ignored. One language alternative, a programme of mass literacy, was largely ignored, leaving the majority of Cambodians functionally illiterate. I conclude by arguing that the use of ‘choice’ in language choice theories as a form of agency often masks the fact that choice is a marker of socio-economic and political privilege.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-164
JournalLanguage Policy
Volume7
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008

Keywords

  • Cambodia Development and reconstruction English ELT International aid Language choice Language policy Language spread theories

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