English language studies: A critical appraisal

Hewings, Ann and Seargeant, Philip (2016). English language studies: A critical appraisal. In: Hewings, Ann; Prescott, Lynda and Seargeant, Philip eds. Futures for English Studies: Teaching language, literature and creative writing. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 61–77.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-137-43180-6_5


In this chapter we locate English Language Studies (ELS) in relation to other areas of the subject ‘English’, but significantly we also argue for the study of the English language as a highly effective socio-cultural and political lens on global and local issues relevant to education in the twenty-first century. From globalisation and superdiversity, through the relationship between language and nationalism, to an understanding of the dynamics of and attitudes towards diverse varieties of English, ELS provides opportunities for students and researchers to critically explore many of the big challenges facing societies today, while simultaneously addressing issues of communication at an individual level as both cultural artefact and skill. It can be conceptualised as a discipline in its own right, but it also draws on and contributes to debates in multiple other disciplines, and thus has an importance across curriculum areas. In illustrating the relevance of ELS as a discipline—as a partner within English Studies and in interdisciplinary combinations, and as a vehicle for communicative skills development—the chapter positions it as contributing a unique humanities-social sciences perspective to research and to educating students as global citizens.

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