Article

Japan’s Pursuit of Meritocracy, Cosmopolitanism, and Global Rankings in Higher Education: A Bourdieusian Interpretation

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

Through the market-based conception of neoliberal performativity, an interlocking set of socioeconomic agendas integrate higher education (HE) in state-level systems of production and accumulation. Within the scope of globalism, the capacity to develop competitive human capital emerges as a proxy indicator of achievement amongst institutions of higher learning. Through this elaborate symbolic structure, Japanese reforms aimed at bolstering "global" soft skills, including English, cosmo-politanism, and interculturality, function alongside an ideological arms race to enhance university rankings and individual investment in education. Invoking a Bourdieusian perspective, this conceptual inquiry suggests that stakeholders consider the secondary effects of asymmetrical efforts towards "élite" education, globalism, and world-class attainment, whereby accompanying policy reform propagates hegemony both locally and internationally. Additionally, the emergence of global soft skills as essential cultural capital challenges the supposed meritocracy of Japan's HE system. Indeed, the "effort-based-reward" symbolic contract permeating much of the neoliberal discourse fails to account for the functional reality of class-distinguished taste. From this perspective, valuable cultural resources orientate towards a globally conscious, highly-credentialed middle-class privileged in social, economic, and cultural capital, thereby disadvantaging the majority of learners inevitably excluded from study at prestigious, brand-name universities.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Full-text available
****En**** This historical materialist analysis places rankings into the imperatives both to govern and to accumulate, and positions academic ranking in particular as the telos of a more general audit culture. By identifying how rankings effect not merely a quantification of qualities, but a numeration of quantities, we can expose how state governments, managerial strata and political elites achieve socially stratifying political objectives that actually frustrate the kind of market-rule for which rankings have been hitherto legitimised among the public. The insight here is that rankings make of audit techniques neither simply a market proxy, nor merely the basis for bureaucratic managerialism, but a social technology or ‘apparatus’ (dispositif) that simultaneously substitutes and frustrates market operations in favour of a more acutely stratified social order. This quality to the operation of rankings can then be connected to the chronic accumulation crisis that is the neoliberal regime of political economy, and to the growing political appetite therein for power-knowledge techniques propitious for oligarchy formation and accumulation-by-dispossession in the kind of low-growth and zero-sum environment typical in real terms to societies dominated by financialisation. A dialectical approach to rankings is suggested, so that a more effective engagement with their internal and practical contradictions can be realised in a way that belies the market-myths of neoliberal theory. ******Fr****** Stratifier le monde universitaire: classement, oligarchie et mythe du marché dans les régimes d’audit universitaire Cette analyse du genre matérialisme historique place les classements universitaires dans le cadre des impératifs de gouvernance et d’accumulation. Elle positionne le classement académique en particulier comme le telos d’une culture d’audit plus générale. En identifiant la manière dont les classements n’entraînent pas simplement une quantification des qualités, mais une numération des quantités, nous pouvons montrer comment les gouvernements des États, les strates managériales et les élites politiques atteignent des objectifs politiques de stratification sociale qui contrecarrent en fait le type de règle du marché pour lequel les classements ont été jusqu’à present légitimés auprès du public. L’idée est que les classements ne font pas des techniques d’audit un simple substitut du marché. Ni font ils la base d’une gestion bureaucratique. Plutôt, ils créent une technologie sociale ou un « appareil » (‘dispositif’) qui remplace et contrecarre simultanément les opérations du marché en faveur d’un ordre social stratifié de manière plus aiguë. Cette qualité du fonctionnement des classements peut alors être reliée à la crise d’accumulation chronique qu’est le régime néolibéral de l’économie politique. Elle peut également être associée à l’appétit politique croissant pour les techniques de connaissance du pouvoir, propices à la formation d’oligarchies et à l’accumulation par dépossession, dans le type d’environnement à faible croissance et à somme nulle typique (en termes réels) des sociétés dominées par la financiarisation. Je suggère donc une approche dialectique, pour s’engager dans les contradictions internes et pratiques des classements, au-delà des mythes du marché de la théorie néolibérale.
Article
Full-text available
The relationship between shadow education and competition has been discussed and studied widely by educational experts and policy makers in Japan. One major topic has been the role that shadow education plays in social inequality by creating winners and losers. Another is related to competition and students' psychological health; and a third concerns the cause-and-effect relationships between cram/preparatory schools and competition. The present paper focuses on students' perspectives and describes an empirical study carried out with 211 Japanese senior high school students and 145 university students. The students answered open-ended questions about their cram/preparatory school attendance, and were asked to describe how they perceived the relationship between cram/preparatory schools and competition. The free descriptive answers were content-analysed and categorized. The majority of the respondents not only saw a relationship between the two but also listed a number of functions that increased students' competitive advantage. Educational experts' and sociologists' common criticism that shadow education has detrimental effect on fairness or equal chances in education was hardly at all expressed. Relatively few students expressed doubts or emphasized the negative or harmful side of cram/preparatory school attendance and competition. The results call the attention to the importance of studying different aspects of shadow education more in-depth from the direct “users'” i.e, the students' perspective as well.
Article
Full-text available
In Japan, neoliberal discourses rationalize English language proficiency as a pathway to meritocratic reward and success in the global knowledge economy. With this ideology in mind, this review engages the market orientation of English domestically and the causative implications of class-distinguished capital. Specifically, Bourdieu's theory of social reproduction is employed to foster comprehension of Japanese foreign language policies in which English substantiates itself as a valuable source of cultural investment. Notwithstanding the supposedly meritocratic intention of the Japanese state, this study concludes that credentialism, hierarchization, and marketization function in concert with a survival of the fittest corollary that, per globalized ideological-discursive assumptions, constrains agency through the justification of ELL as a vocational and civic moral worth. This conflation of internationalization and Englishization is better understood as an instrument of dominance, with the agency to participate in ELL interlocking with an incontrovertible doxa that rationalizes the economic, social, and political hierarchy.
Article
Full-text available
The Japanese higher education system has struggled with a demographic decline of the university-age population since the 1990s. The expected shrinkage of the overall consumer market due to ageing also significantly pressures Japanese enterprises to expand business in the global market outside Japan. Under these conditions, Japanese universities, heavily reliant on the national language and culture, are facing pressure to internationalise their outlook and operations. However, brain drain is a topic lacking in active discussion, partly because of the continuing inward-oriented preferences of Japanese students, which is aimed towards traditional career mobility within Japanese companies.
Article
Full-text available
In Northeast Asia, as in many other regions, local administrations have interpreted English language acquisition as central to enhancing national competitiveness within the currently dominant neoliberal-financial paradigm. Against this background, this comparative analysis critically reviews the structural and ideological processes by which global English impacts the Japanese and Korean educational domains, employing the linguistic imperialism framework (Phillipson, 1992) as its principal theoretical lens. In doing so, this inquiry aims to respond to local calls (see Kubota, 1998) for comprehension of the sociocultural impact of global English within economically developed, neo-colonial contexts. As a comparative study, this report focuses on neighboring settings in an effort to draw attention to the friction between the obligation to learn English for local empowerment and the underlying inequities that are strengthened by ELT locally. Through close examination of the conditions presented by Japanese and Korean academics, it is determined that the sustained transmission of globalization discourse has been a primary impetus in communicating, from the state level to the public, the symbolic worth of ELL. The pluralistic representation of internationalization and Englishization acts not only as a mechanism for countering global tensions but as a tool for élite privilege fortification, sustaining circular socioeconomic inequity based on linguistic competence, thereby depriving learners of authentic agency when "electing" to participate in ELL. Samuell, C., & Smith, M. (2020). A critical-comparative analysis of post-global English language education: The cases of Korea and Japan. KOTESOL, 16(1), 55-74.
Article
Full-text available
This study examines international brain race for world-class universities as measured by the QS World University Rankings (QS) and the Academic Ranking of World Universities, particularly in the context of Asian nations’ institutional competition and benchmarking against American counterparts. Applying mixed methods with statistical analysis of time-series data from 59 nations and case study of four selected nations, the study examines the cross-national trends of global university rankings and the roles of government policies during the era of performance-driven accountability in higher education. Tracking the zero-sum game of global university rankings over the past decade, the study accounts for key driving factors that produced divergent trajectories among the nations: how and why the USA as established leader and Japan as early catch-up leader become losers, whereas China and Korea as fast followers become winners? Although the Asian catch-up model of world-class university development, high-stakes institutional competitions and targeted funding with STEM priorities contributed to their rapid growth of research productivity and rankings, it reveals major limitations and problems. Drawing cross-national lessons and implications, we discuss new directions of higher education policies and global university ranking measures.
Article
Full-text available
The growing evidence about the benefits of studying abroad calls for increased public efforts to equalize study abroad opportunities among university students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Using student-level data from the nationally representative surveys of three European countries (Italy, France and Germany) between the 2000s and mid-2010s, this paper investigates how the social gap in access to study abroad programs changed over time and what are the factors driving these changes. Logistic regressions are used in order to identify the determinants of study abroad program participation and a decomposition technique is employed in an attempt to both determine how much of the gap each factor explains and compare its relative contribution over time. The results indicate that, not only has disparity in study abroad participation rate between students from more and less advantaged backgrounds not decreased in any of the countries considered here, but there is consistent evidence showing that it has increased in Germany. Differences in earlier educational trajectories and performance between these two groups of students are important predictors of the gap. However, a large part of this gap remains unexplained, and this underscores the important role played by unobserved or difficult-to-measure factors in accounting for inequality.
Article
Full-text available
A swift increase in scientific productivity has outstripped the country’s ability to promote rigour and curb academic misconduct; it is time to seize solutions. A swift increase in scientific productivity has outstripped the country’s ability to promote rigour and curb academic misconduct; it is time to seize solutions. A technician loads mice containers onto a rack at a Cyagen Biosciences Inc. facility in China
Article
Full-text available
In 2014, Japan’s Ministry of Education (MEXT) announced the Top Global University Project (TGUP), a large-investment initiative to internationalise higher education that implicitly signalled increased emphasis on English-medium instruction (EMI) at Japanese universities. Despite substantial funding behind the initiative, little research has evaluated the implications for language planning, including contextualised implementation challenges. This study aims to investigate how the policy is being enacted into practice at a university in Japan at two different policy levels: the meso (institutional) and micro (classroom) level. The study contrasts one university’s TGUP meso-level policy documentation with data from semi-structured interviews with students and teachers to illuminate micro-level challenges. Data were coded according to emergent themes via qualitative text analysis, following similar processes to research into TGUP policy. The findings suggest that the meso-level policy goals of the university do not trickle down to micro-level practice as envisioned, revealing underlying challenges arising from policy diffusion. In comparing our results with data from other TGUP university studies, we conclude that micro-level linguistic challenges for teachers and students has relevance for other universities where English-taught programmes are being expanded via national and university-level policies.
Article
Full-text available
This article profiles the evolving role of educational administrators and leaders in higher education. Four guiding assumptions for leaders are presented related to social impact, community engagement, labor market success, and institutional stability. Then, seven key administration and leadership responsibilities are described. They include planning, academic entrepreneurship, data-driven decision making, revenue generation, creating professional and academic pathways for learners, curriculum development, and business development and marketing. This is followed by a set of pragmatic considerations that higher education administrators and leaders may consider in their professional practices. The considerations provide a framework for interrogating leadership assumptions and responsibilities, a framework that can be applied to analyze additional responsibilities as they emerge in relation to the assumptions that accompany them. The considerations pose intended and unintended possibilities for leaders to use to inform decision making, maintain principled leadership practices, and to challenge unexamined beliefs and values. © Official Publication of EARDA-Turkish Educational Administration Research and Development Association.
Article
Full-text available
Various media allow people to build transnational networks, learn about the world and meet people from other cultures. In other words, media may allow one to cultivate cosmopolitan capital, defined here as a distinct form of embodied cultural capital. However, far from everyone is identifying this potential. Analyses of a national survey and in-depth interviews, conducted in Sweden, disclose a tendency among those in possession of cultural capital to recognise and exploit cosmopolitan capital in their media practices. Those who are dispossessed of cultural capital are significantly less liable to approach media in this way. Relying on various media practices in order to reshape one’s cultural capital exemplifies what Bourdieu called a reconversion strategy. As social fields undergo globalisation, media offer opportunities for the privileged to remain privileged – to change in order to conserve.
Book
Full-text available
This book examines why Japan has one of the highest enrolment rates in cram schools and private tutoring worldwide. It sheds light on the causes of this high dependence on ‘shadow education’ and its implications for social inequalities. The book provides a deep and extensive understanding of the role of this kind of education in Japan. It shows new ways to theoretically and empirically address this issue, and offers a comprehensive perspective on the impact of shadow education on social inequality formation that is based on reliable and convincing empirical analyses. Contrary to earlier studies, the book shows that shadow education does not inevitably result in increasing or persisting inequalities, but also inherits the potential to let students overcome their status-specific disadvantages and contributes to more opportunities in education. Against the background of the continuous expansion and the convergence of shadow education systems across the globe, the findings of this book call for similar works in other national contexts, particularly Western societies without traditional large-scale shadow education markets. The book emphasizes the importance and urgency to deal with the modern excesses of educational expansion and education as an institution, in which the shadow education industry has made itself (seemingly) indispensable. Is the first comprehensive empirical work on the implications of shadow education for educational and social inequalities Draws on quantitative and qualitative data and uses mixed-methods Has major implications for sociological, international and comparative research on the topic Introduces a general theoretical frame to help future research in approaching this under-theorized field. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-69119-0
Article
Full-text available
This article analyzes a recent initiative of Japan’s Ministry of Education, which aims to internationalize higher education in Japan. The large-investment project “Top Global University Project” (TGUP) has emerged to create globally oriented universities, to increase the role of foreign languages in higher education, and to foster global human resources. The TGUP identifies 37 universities: 13 as “top global universities” intended to compete in the top 100 university world rankings and 24 “global traction universities” intended to lead the internationalization of higher education in Japan. Despite the substantial funding behind this initiative, little research has been conducted to evaluate the potential impact of this policy on language planning in higher education in Japan. This paper addresses this gap in its exploration of the TGUP, including key changes from previous internationalization policies. It then presents an analysis of publicly available documents regarding the policy, collected from all 37 of the participant universities. Findings indicate a positive departure from older policy trends and the emergence of flexible, unique forms of English language education in Japan’s universities.
Article
Full-text available
This paper problematizes the imagineering of study abroad, especially in terms of set objectives and learning outcomes. The authors propose a shift away from a ‘pure’ cultural and intercultural preparation of mobile students, which tends to ignore the fact that unrealistic expectations and preconceived ideas about study abroad can be as much of a hindrance as e.g. ‘culture shock’. The concept of imaginaries is used to prepare international students, some from Asian countries, to reflect on, discuss and ‘reform’ their perceptions of study abroad. Imaginaries, which are constitutive of human beings living in groups, are of course necessary components of the study abroad experience. The results show that the students are able to deconstruct critically their own as well as others’ doxic discourses on the characteristics of study abroad. Yet at the same time, as one should expect, the students develop new imaginaries on mobility. We argue that by allowing them to develop more counter-narratives about study abroad—and thus multiplying imaginaries—the students can feel more apt to face the complexities and contradictions of the study abroad experience.
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, sociological research on cosmopolitanism has begun to draw on Pierre Bourdieu to critically examine how cosmopolitanism is implicated in stratification on an increasingly global scale. In this paper, we examine the analytical potential of the Bourdieusian approach by exploring how education systems help to institutionalize cosmopolitanism as cultural capital whose access is rendered structurally unequal. To this end, we first probe how education systems legitimate cosmopolitanism as a desirable disposition at the global level, while simultaneously distributing it unequally among different groups of actors according to their geographical locations and volumes of economic, cultural, and social capital their families possess. We then explore how education systems undergird profitability of cosmopolitanism as cultural capital by linking academic qualifications that signal cosmopolitan dispositions with the growing number of positions that require extensive interactions with people of multiple nationalities.
Article
Full-text available
For more than two decades, governments around the world, led by the English-speaking polities, have moved higher education systems closer to the forms of textbook economic markets. Reforms include corporatisation, competitive funding, student charges, output formats and performance reporting. But, no country has established a bona fide economic market in the first-degree education of domestic students. No research university is driven by shareholders, profit, market share, allocative efficiency or the commodity form. There is commercial tuition only in parts of vocational training and international education. While intensified competition, entrepreneurship and consumer talk are pervasive in higher education, capitalism is not very important. At the most, there are regulated quasi-markets, as in post-Browne UK. This differs from the experience of privatisation and commercialisation of transport, communications, broadcasting and health insurance in many nations. The article argues that bona fide market reform in higher education is constrained by intrinsic limits specific to the sector (public goods, status competition), and political factors associated with those limits. This suggests that market reform is utopian, and the abstract ideal is sustained for exogenous policy reasons (e.g. fiscal reduction, state control, ordering of contents). But, if capitalist markets are clearly unachievable, a more authentic modernisation agenda is needed.
Article
Full-text available
This article explores how an economic ideology—neoliberalism—serves as a covert language policy mechanism pushing the global spread of English. Our analysis builds on a case study of the spread of English as a medium of instruction (MoI) in South Korean higher education. The Asian financial crisis of 1997/98 was the catalyst for a set of socioeconomic transformations that led to the imposition of “competitiveness” as a core value. Competition is heavily structured through a host of testing, assessment, and ranking mechanisms, many of which explicitly privilege English as a terrain where individual and societal worth are established. University rankings are one such mechanism structuring competition and constituting a covert form of language policy. One ranking criterion—internationalization—is particularly easy to manipulate and strongly favors English MoI. We conclude by reflecting on the social costs of elevating competitiveness to a core value enacted on the terrain of language choice. (English as a global language, globalization, higher education, medium of instruction (MoI), neoliberalism, South Korea, university rankings)*
Article
With internationalisation continuing at an ever-increasing pace, Japan incentivises student mobility via study abroad (SA) programmes in the hope of cultivating the global human resources necessary for future economic growth. Against this background, proficiency in English emerges as a dominant linguistic and epistemic model, increasingly viewed as prerequisite to high-level employment. Seeking to address the sociological foundations of this practice, this inquiry incorporates 'Western' philosophical perspectives with Japanese academic voices to explore the market-driven imaginaries driving Japanese SA. Regarding behaviour, pressure falls on Japanese SA participants to follow implicit socialisation rules, whereby avoidance of co-national sojourners holds the potential to undermine deeply-held ways of being. Concerning learning, it is shown that, while ostensibly multicultural, the Japanese State maintains a preference for English when describing 'the further development of Japan as a nation', reinforcing essentialist-culturalist interpretations of SA and, indeed, foreign language. Finally, discourses surrounding post-sojourn benefits suffer from a lack of clarity and unrealistic targets that, in turn, subtly produce an informal-and, for many, unpayable-social debt between actor and state.
Article
Global higher education rankings mainly measure research. Rankings have become overly important in determining policy. It is not clear if they contribute to academic productivity.
Article
Emboldened by the rise of China, a meritocratic trend has surged in recent Confucian political theory. Confucian meritocracy is upheld as an equally viable alternative, if not a superior one, to democracy because many think that the latter’s populist vices do not exist in the former’s hierarchical, managerial political structure. This article addresses this seemingly dichotomous relationship between democracy and Confucian meritocracy by drawing on Zhu Xi (1130–1200 AD). I demonstrate those overlooked egalitarian qualities inherent in Confucian meritocracy, which can render it naturally compatible with democracy. Thus, an accurate understanding of Confucian meritocracy requires us not to see it as an opposite of democracy. Rather, Confucian meritocracy actually fosters moral growth in the populace by encouraging them to participate in politics under the instruction of their political leaders, who are to be guided by two egalitarian pedagogical principles, that is, universal inclusion and student participation.
Article
How do we understand the evolution of internationalization as a concept? Is a more diverse and inclusive internationalization replacing the western paradigm? Is there a shift in paradigm from cooperation to competition? Do we see an ongoing dominance of the internationalization abroad component at the cost of internationalization at home, or a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to internationalization? And is internationalization a key change agent towards innovation and global social responsibility of higher education? This contribution provides a critical reflection on internationalization in higher education, particularly in the current nationalist, populist and anti-global political climate! The challenges that institutions encounter are divers. There is pressure of revenue generation, competition for talents, and branding and reputation (rankings). There is pressure to focus on international research and publication, on recruitment of international students and scholars, and on the use of English as language of research and instruction. These challenges and pressures conflict with a more inclusive and less elitist approach to internationalization. In other words, there are tensions between a short term neoliberal approach to internationalization, focusing primarily on mobility and research, and a long term comprehensive quality approach, global learning for all.
Article
This case study examines the goals of 13 Japanese graduate students who studied abroad, and situates those goals in the larger context of Japanese society. The study abroad objectives of the Japanese government and some Japanese universities are compared and problematised. The authors conducted three interviews of each study abroad participant separately in English and Japanese, once before and twice after they studied abroad for one to four months. The purpose of the interviews was to determine, in detail, the students’ goals and expectations before going abroad and what they could accomplish after their short-term studies abroad. It was found that 7 out 13 students indicated that they could accomplish their research goals, and many students felt a greater sense of confidence and worldliness and said they improved their English language skills. All but one student felt that the study abroad experience had changed them in positive ways. Except for learning English and being globally minded, the goals of the government, universities and students did not seem to match and there were no formal evaluation systems set up for comprehensively measuring and determining if students are actually achieving any goals. The following link provides a free download of the entire paper to the first 50 people who would like to have a copy: https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/SWCXWCAXN2KPHE97WBDB/full?target=10.1080/01434632.2019.1643869
Article
Japanese employees who use English as a second language (L2) for communicative purposes are not usually expected to be as competent in the entire range of English productive and receptive skills as would a native speaker of the language. Rather, L2 English employees in Japan are expected to be competent in the use of certain specialized aspects or task types of English. To determine which task types and specific L2 target tasks are given the greatest priority by Japanese employees, the current study focuses on the purposes for which Japanese employees use their English in the workplace. A longitudinal study of English majors from a Japanese university focuses on the workplace English usage by the members of the last three years of graduating classes (62 participants). Questionnaire and data reveal that more than 60% of the participants answering the survey use English in Japanese places of employment. In the current study the Japanese students who are using English at work report an array of different occupations and a mixed combination of productive and receptive English tasks. The varied mixture of English task types that are productive and receptive is in contrast with previous research of English subject lecturers from universities in Japan, who believe that Japanese students will need English in the workplace to obtain information from the Internet, listen and understand native English, understand documents, understand emails and business letters, and understand manuals-all receptive task types.
Book
Language education is a highly contested arena within any nation and one that arouses an array of sentiments and identity conflicts. What languages, or what varieties of a language, are to be taught and learned, and how? By whom, for whom, for what purposes and in what contexts? Such questions concern not only policy makers but also teachers, parents, students, as well as businesspeople, politicians, and other social actors. For Japan, a nation state with ideologies of national identity strongly tied to language, these issues have long been of particular concern. This volume presents the cacophony of voices in the field of language education in contemporary Japan, with its focus on English language education. It explores the complex and intricate relationships between the “local” and the “global,” and more specifically the links between the levels of policy, educational institutions, classrooms, and the individual. In the much-contested field of foreign language teaching in Japan, this book takes the reader directly to the places that really matter. With the help of expert guides in the fields of anthropology, sociology and linguistics, we are invited to join a vital discussion about the potentially revolutionary implications of the Japanese government’s policy of teaching Japanese citizens to not only passively engage with written English texts but to actually use English as a means of global communication.” – Robert Aspinall, PhD (Oxford), Professor, Faculty of Economics, Department of Social Systems, Shiga University, Japan This insightful book about language education involves different disciplines using ethnographic methods. Both ‘native’ and ‘non-native’ speakers of Japanese (or English) collaboratively examine two different types of qualitative approaches in Japan – the positivistic and the processual. This is a must-have book for researchers and educators of language who are interested in not only Japan but also language education generally.” – Shinji Sato, PhD (Columbia), Director of the Japanese Language Program, Department of East Asian Studies, Princeton University, USA.
Book
The book offers insights on English as a global language in South Korea and its influence on society from micro- and macro-perspectives. It examines the impacts of globalization and neoliberalism on South Korea over the last 20 years and is informed by research on English-Korean interpreters and the impact of “English Fever”. Preview and further details are available here: http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319590165
Book
This volume critically examines the phenomenon of “English fever” in South Korea from both micro- and macro-perspectives. Drawing on original research and rich illustrative examples, the book investigates two key questions: why is English so popular in Korea, and why is there such a gap between the ‘dreams’ and ‘realities’ associated with English in Korea? These questions are explored through the eyes of English-Korean translators and interpreters, who represent the professional group most intensely engaged in the zeal for English language mastery. Macro-perspectives focus on historical factors leading to the rise of English, with English-Korean translation and interpreting as a key theme. Micro-perspectives explore the dreams that individuals attach to English and the ways in which they imagine it can transform their lives, and contrast these dreams with the stark realities felt on the ground. The gaps between these dreams and realities are explored from various angles, which include commodification, gender and neoliberalism. The book thus offers fresh insights on how the phenomenon of “English fever” has been created, reproduced, and sustained from both historical and contemporary viewpoints.
Book
A much-cited and highly influential text by Alastair Pennycook, one of the world authorities in sociolinguistics, The Cultural Politics of English as an International Language explores the globalization of English by examining its colonial origins, its connections to linguistics and applied linguistics, and its relationships to the global spread of teaching practices. Nine chapters cover a wide range of key topics including: international politics colonial history critical pedagogy postcolonial literature. The book provides a critical understanding of the concept of the ‘worldliness of English’, or the idea that English can never be removed from the social, cultural, economic or political contexts in which it is used. Reissued with a substantial preface, this Routledge Linguistics Classic remains a landmark text, which led a much-needed critical and ideologically-informed investigation into the burgeoning topic of World Englishes. Key reading for all those working in the areas of Applied Linguistics, Sociolinguistics and World Englishes.
Article
Many universities around the world today are actively promoting study abroad to raise their international profiles. This trend is tied to the neoliberal social imaginary, which constructs study abroad as a tool for students to develop communication skills, a global mindset, intercultural competence and a competitive edge in global labour marketplaces. Such social imaginary is reflected in online descriptions of the imagined benefits that study abroad generates: for example, developing language skills, fostering cultural understanding and intercultural competence, facilitating personal growth and identity formation, and increasing career opportunities. Juxtaposing these alleged benefits with the themes that have emerged from the empirical studies reported in this special issue, this article critically examines the social imaginary of study abroad. Various factors that affect the outcomes of study abroad indicate that students’ sojourn experiences and purported benefits do not have a simple causal relationship; rather, the relationship is fraught with complexities and contradictions. Despite potential rewards, study abroad cannot escape gender, racial, geographical and socioeconomic inequalities.
Chapter
An educational or schooling system can be considered a mirror of society. Certainly many observers would agree that the challenges presently facing the Japanese education system are issues that reflect broader cultural debates within society. The issues that surround such heated educational topics as creativity, critical thinking, the curriculum, literacy, and immigrant students correspond fairly directly with recent societal debates regarding diversity, identity, national pride, and the economy (Willis, 2006).
Article
Drawing upon the experiences and dilemmas of the author, a middle school English teacher in South Korea, this article illuminates the ways in which neoliberal reforms in education intersect with English, and how such links have entailed the class-based polarization of education in Korean society. Given the prominent role that English plays in neoliberal policies—namely, serving as a direct index of elite schools and track placement—unequal access to English across the class spectrum restricts the prospects of disadvantaged students in the neoliberal education market. Tracking is one way in which this unequal access is manifest in the Korean educational landscape. Tracking refers to placing students in accordance with their academic abilities in order to tailor instruction to best meet students' needs (Oakes, 1985). Contrary to its intended purpose, however, tracking has been vehemently criticized for exacerbating educational inequalities (Gamoran, 2010; Hallam & Ireson, 2005; Oakes, 1985; Oakes, Gamoran, & Page, 1992). By locating the tracking policy against the backdrop of the local significance of English, this article identifies hidden agendas underlying tracking practices surrounding English, and further highlights how the interplay of English and neoliberalism mediates relations of class and inequality while justifying policies and practices surrounding English as the imperatives of globalization.
Article
The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
Article
This paper examines the challenges and strategies of twenty-three Japanese universities working towards the improvement of employability skills. These universities have been selected for the national project “Improving Higher Education for Meeting Industrial Needs” funded by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The purpose of this project is to improve the higher education systems that help develop employability skills that industry seeks by sharing their challenges and strategies in collaboration with companies. This paper analyses these challenges and strategies from the reports submitted by these universities for the preparation of the Second Conference of Industry-University Partnerships that took place in Nagoya, Japan on November 14, 2013. This paper concludes with discussion drawn from the reports and the conference.
Article
This article, written as a critical dialogue between 2 interlocutors, puts forward a number of arguments justifying and criticizing the practice of university ranking. It draws attention to 3 key problematics: the ideological construction of institutional ranking as a professionally necessary and inevitable activity, the symbolically violent character of ranking as a form of social categorization and hierarchization, and the possibility of denying the system legitimacy by practicing more prefigurative forms of its critique. Through the progression of this dialogue, the article ultimately makes a case for turning away from university rankings on both scientific and ethicopolitical grounds.
Article
Tenter de penser l'Etat, c'est courir le risque d'appliquer des categories de pensee produites par l'Etat lui-meme et de meconnaitre sa verite profonde. Pour etayer sa proposition, l'A. tente de montrer les limites de l'independance des sciences sociales vis-a-vis de l'Etat. Puis il decrit celui-ci comme lieu de concentration de quatre types de capital : pouvoir de coercition ; capital economique ; capital informationnel ; capital symbolique. Ce dernier point est developpe en retracant la genese de principes de categorisations du monde, donnes comme universels, mais relevant de la construction symbolique associee a la constitution de l'Etat. Cette etude de la position monopolisante de l'Etat se conclut sur une description du microcosme bureaucratique qu'est la « noblesse d'Etat »
Article
The Global 30 Project, a new Japanese Government initiative that aims to upgrade a number of existing universities to form a select hub of elite universities for receiving and educating international students, has come in for considerable criticism. Using the dual concepts of kokusaika (internationalisation) and gurōbaruka (globalisation), this paper highlights the contradictory goals in a policy that combines a nationalistic 'closing in' with a cosmopolitan 'opening up'. The problems apparent in Japan's most recent attempt to reform higher education are argued to be the latest manifestation of a historical push and pull that can be traced back to the sakoku (closed-country) policy of isolation operated during the Edo period.
Article
This study aims to understand Korean students’ motivations for studying in US graduate schools. For this purpose, I conducted in‐depth interviews with 50 Korean graduate students who were enrolled in a research‐centered US university at the time of the interview. In these interviews, I sought to understand how their motivations are connected not only with their family, school, and occupational backgrounds, but also with the stratification of global higher education. Theoretically, this paper attempts to combine the concept of global positional competition with Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital in the field of global education. By critically examining a push–pull model of transnational higher education choice‐making, this study situates Korean students’ aspirations in the contexts of global power and the hierarchy of knowledge‐degree production and consumption. After analyzing the students’ qualitative interviews, I classify their motivations for earning US degrees within four categories: enhancing their class positions and enlarging their job opportunities; pursuing learning in the global center of learning; escaping the undemocratic system and culture in Korean universities; and fulfilling desires to become cosmopolitan elites armed with English communication skills and connections within the global professional network. Based on this analysis, I argue that Korean students pursue advanced degrees in the United States in order to succeed in the global positional competition within Korea as well as in the global job marketplace. As they pursue advanced US degrees, Korean students internalize US hegemony as it reproduces the global hierarchy of higher education, but at the same time Korean students see US higher education as a means of liberation that resolves some of the inner contradictions of Korean higher education, including gender discrimination, a degree caste system, and an authoritarian learning culture. Therefore, this study links Korean students’ aspiration for global cultural capital to complex and irregular structures and relations of class, gender, nationality, and higher education that extend across local, national, and global dimensions simultaneously.
Article
This article examines how education policy, in the form of a statutory assessment system used in the first year of primary schools, defines the ‘ideal learner’. This ideal model is important because it prescribes the characteristics and skills a child needs to display in order to be recognisable as a learner. An analysis of the content of the assessment itself is used alongside ethnographic data from classrooms where the assessment is conducted, to demonstrate how the values inherent in the assessment and its associated practices reflect neoliberal discourses. Rational choice, self-promotion and individual responsibility for learning are all valued within this framework, and children’s transitions into recognisable student-subjects are dependent on their adoption of these values. It is argued in conclusion that this restrictive notion of what a ‘good learner’ looks like can work to systematically exclude some children from positions of success.