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Michigan State University
Language, Education, and Linguistic Entrepreneurship: A Critical Perspective

In light of the growing influence of neoliberalism (Block et. al, 2012) and enterprise culture (Ong, 2006), independence and a willingness to take risks are increasingly emphasized as societal values that individuals and organizations are expected to cultivate. Building on the neoliberal turn in applied linguistics and more specifically De Costa, Park and Wee’s (2016) notion of linguistic entrepreneurship, which is defined as “the act of aligning with the moral imperative to strategically exploit language-related resources for enhancing one’s worth in the world” (p. 696), I take a critical perspective in examining how linguistic entrepreneurship is instantiated in a range of education contexts and relate it to a broader embrace of audit culture (De Costa, Park & Wee, in press). In particular, I investigate (1) the material conditions that have enabled and constrained the emergence of linguistic entrepreneurship, and (2) its impact on individuals from China and Nepal as they negotiate the complex dynamics surrounding calls for greater accountability, competitiveness, and profit.


Peter De Costa is Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Languages and the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University. His primary areas of research are identity and ideology in SLA. He is the author of The Power of Identity and Ideology in Language Learning (Springer, 2016). He also recently edited Ethics in Applied Linguistics Research (Routledge, 2016).