The global spread of English and neoliberalism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The chapter examines the global spread of English in the context of new capitalism and neoliberalism, with a focus on the specifics of its relationship to the local appropriations and expansion of English. In the contemporary job market defined by neoliberalism, workers have come to be seen as personally responsible for the acquisition of key skills. Foreign language skills in particular are acquired at a significant sacrifice of time and resources, and can therefore be seen to be embodied in the individual as a form of human capital (Chiswick and Miller 2003). The chapter examines how neoliberal ideology has permeated the acquisition of English language skills, with South Korea as a key site of investigation. It analyzes desirable images of English language learners in the Korean media, in which stories emphasize individual commitment and sheer determination as the keys to the construction of desirable human capital. Analysis of the relationships between neoliberal ideology and English language learning highlight that the global spread of English needs to be understood as a bottom-up process driven by ideologies and practices operating at both local and global levels.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBloomsbury World Englishes
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

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    Cho, J. (Accepted/In press). The global spread of English and neoliberalism. In Bloomsbury World Englishes Bloomsbury Publishing.