Englishization of Nordic universities: policy and practice — a disconnect

Hultgren, Anna Kristina and Thøgersen, Jacob (2014). Englishization of Nordic universities: policy and practice — a disconnect. Language Problems and Language Planning, 38(3) pp. 247–264.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/lplp.38.3.02hul


This article draws attention to a widening and unproductive disconnect between two sets of scholarly activities seeking to understand the Englishization of Nordic universities, and, more generally, the effects of globalization on language. While these scholarly activities are not internally homogenous, we shall refer to them here as “policy and practice.” Contrasting examples drawn from policy documents and linguistic practices in the context of Englishized Nordic universities, we show that the level of policy assumes a monolithic and essentialized understanding of language whereas the level of practice also incorporates elements of constructionism and hybridity. We then go on to argue that the difference between the two levels is by no means clear as participants on the practice level also appear to orient to monolithic and essentialized understandings of language as they are construed for policy purposes. We finish by arguing that scholarly activities at each level — policy and practice — need to a greater extent to recognize the relevance of both levels in order to advance sociolinguistic theory in a holistic manner.

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