chapter  11
17 Pages

From neo-liberal ideology to critical sustainability theory for language policy studies in the PRC

The United Nations’ (1987) Brundtland Report, Our Common Future, redefined

‘sustainable development’ as an international standard in development policy and

policy studies. Since then, researchers across the social and biological sciences

have amassed studies positively correlating biological, linguistic, and cultural

diversity, loss, extinction, survival, and sustainability (Harmon, 1996; Harmon &

Loh, 2009a, 2009b; Maffi, 2001; Nettle & Romaine, 2000). These findings offer

incontrovertible evidence of a rapid, correlated decline in biological and social

(i.e., cultural and linguistic) dimensions of diversity and sustainability. Further-

more, the extinction rates of human languages and cultures have been found to

surpass those of biological species (Sutherland, 2003) with an estimated 3,000 of

the current 6,700 languages deemed to be in danger of imminent extinction

(UNESCO, 2009).