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“Successful” migration, (English) language skills and global inequality: The case of Bangladeshi migrants to the Middle East

Erling, Elizabeth J.; Hasan Chowdhury, Qumrul; Solly, Mike and Seargeant, Philip (2018). “Successful” migration, (English) language skills and global inequality: The case of Bangladeshi migrants to the Middle East. Multilingua (Early Access).

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1515/multi-2018-0021
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Abstract

Migration has become a vital element of the Bangladeshi economy, which has led to an increasing focus on providing Bangladeshis with the skills needed on the international labour market. English is often cited as one of these skills, and previous research has shown that a primary reason why Bangladeshis wish to learn English is due to its perceived value for pursuing work abroad (Erling et al. 2012). The extent to which English is of value in economic migration, however, has been underexplored in research (Coleman 2010). Drawing on data from a qualitative study which provides new insights into the experiences and perceptions of a cohort of returnee migrants, this article investigates the perceived value of (English) language skills for migration. The study finds that economic migrants see the advantages of having particular skills, especially English, for economic gain. However, applying a capabilities lens to their narratives (Sen, 1999) reveals the difficulties of classifying their experiences in terms of “success” given the deeply embedded structural issues and challenges the participants report facing. This article therefore questions assumptions that language skills can be transformational when social inequality is (re)produced in the context of migration.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH
ISSN: 1613-3684
Keywords: applied linguistics; language education; world Englishes; language policy
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Languages and Applied Linguistics > English Language & Applied Linguistics
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Languages and Applied Linguistics
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Item ID: 57118
Depositing User: Philip Seargeant
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 14:56
Last Modified: 09 May 2019 12:02
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/57118
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