chapter  1
20 Pages

Introducing Critical Applied Linguistics

This chapter suggests that applied linguistics is rife with problematic constructions of otherness, and therefore explores the importance of the politics of difference for critical applied linguistics. The issues of language learning have been cast as questions to do with the acquisition of morphemes, syntax, and lexis, with pronunciation or communicative competence, and the learner has been cast as a one-dimensional acquisition device. This view of language learning as an 'institutional phenomenon' clearly ties in with the discussion of the role of education in social reproduction. Sociocultural identities and ideologies are not static, deterministic constructs that EFL teachers and students bring to the classroom and then take away unchanged at the end of the lesson or course. A similar concern emerges in some approaches to feminist pedagogy. This is the point where feminism has been confronted by the postcolonial critique of its own colonialism, its tendency to marginalize other forms of difference under an assumed commonality of womanhood.