Politics and applied linguistics

Seargeant, Philip (2024). Politics and applied linguistics. In: Wei, Li; Zhu, Hua and Simpson, James eds. The Routledge Handbook of Applied Linguistics, Second Edition. Routledge Handbooks in Applied Linguistics, 2. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003082637-16


For the discipline of applied linguistics, political issues have always been a central concern, whether they are addressed implicitly or explicitly. If we take Brumfit’s definition of applied linguistics as the ‘investigation of real-world problems in which language is a central issue’ (1995: 27), it becomes inevitable that, assuming we believe that the ‘real world’ is intrinsically political, the discipline itself needs to address issues of power. In this chapter, I examine three main issues concerning the relationship between politics and language. The first focuses on politics about language - the way that (ideas about) language, particular languages, and language use become the site for political debate and struggle. The second is politics enacted through language - the ways that language use itself achieves or is subject to political effects. And the third examines the ways in which applied linguistics is relevant specifically to electoral politics - how insights from linguistics can be applied to the analysis, or even the practice, of political engagement, especially in the context of electoral or party politics.

Viewing alternatives


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions
No digital document available to download for this item

Item Actions