Epistemic injustice and neoliberal imaginations in English as a medium of instruction (EMI) policy

Phyak, Prem and Sah, Pramod K. (2022). Epistemic injustice and neoliberal imaginations in English as a medium of instruction (EMI) policy. Applied Linguistics Review (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2022-0070

Abstract

This article examines the construction of epistemic injustice in creating and implementing an EMI policy. Drawing on “epistemic injustice” (Fricker, Miranda. 2007. Epistemic injustice: Power and the ethics of knowing. Oxford: Oxford University Press) and “misframing” (Fraser, Nancy. 2009. Scales of justice: Reimagining political space in a globalizing world. New York: Columbia University Press), we discuss how the EMI policy in Nepal’s school education has reinforced the epistemic nature of social injustice. Taking an ethnographic approach, we have analyzed how EMI policies are created, interpreted, and implemented in two public schools located in historically marginalized ethnic minority/Indigenous communities. Our analyses show that the schools misframe and misrecognize Indigenous/ethnic minority parents’ and children’s linguistic knowledge and awareness of language education policy. While reproducing neoliberal values, EMI policies construct a deficit identity of Indigenous/ethnic minority communities by erasing and stigmatizing their knowledge of mother tongues in school. Such policies not only promote an English-only monolingual ideology but also pose multiple challenges for epistemic access of Indigenous/minority students and affect parents’ “party of participation” (Fraser, Nancy. 2009. Scales of justice: Reimagining political space in a globalizing world. New York: Columbia University Press) in policymaking process.

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