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By John Gray (auth.)

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By John Gray (auth.)

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Extra resources for The Construction of English: Culture, Consumerism and Promotion in the ELT Global Coursebook

Sample text

He argues that the appropriation and transfer of Hymes’ concept of communicative competence from an initial ethnographic research context to a pedagogic one has resulted in the use of ‘abstracted contexts and idealized social rules of use based on (English language) native-speakerness’ (Leung 2005: 119). In this recontextualization, he suggests, key concepts such as appropriateness can be misleadingly recast as a set of prescriptions for language learning. Like Byram, Kramsch also aims to redraw the boundaries of language teaching so that culture is foregrounded.

Such articulations, Hall (1986) explains, can also be culturally Culture and English Language Teaching 25 transformative, as in the case of Rastafarianism, whereby a sector of Jamaican society literally reinvented itself through a specific reading of black history and a highly particularized interpretation of the Bible. Thus articulations not only draw on existing discourses but, under certain conditions, can also generate new discursive formations – in this case a powerful myth of national origin.

It is a view of culture which allows us to view the ELT coursebook as a set of representational practices in which English is articulated with particular discourses which seek to construct it in specific ways. It is a view of culture which allows us to explore the selectivity of these representations and to identify their absences and their silences. It is also a view of culture which holds that the meanings which are constructed on the pages of the coursebook are not unproblematically transferred to the mind of the reader.

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