chapter  2
19 Pages

The Politics of Knowledge

This chapter compares different constellations of knowledge, language, and politics. Alastair Pennycook sketched four possible positions: the liberal ostrichist, anarcho-autonomous, emancipatory modernist, and problematizing practice. The intriguing anarcho-autonomous position, characterized by anarcho-syndicalist politics on the one hand and an autonomous, rationalist, and realist approach to knowledge on the other, is neither common nor of much use for critical applied linguistics, and Pennycook do not therefore pursue it further in the other chapters. The other three, however, form a recurring theme throughout the book, and whereas Pennycook stress again that Pennycook view these only as handy simplifications of complex interrelated views of knowledge and politics, Pennycook find them useful for explaining different ways of approaching applied linguistics. Often based in liberal pluralist politics and structuralist approaches to academic work, the approach advocates the isolation of politics from academic work.