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The Discourses and Displacement of English in Turkey

Edited By Eser Ördem

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Chapter 4: Neoliberalism and the Spread of English in Turkey

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Abstract: This chapter radically criticizes and opposes neoliberalism in Turkey and its devastating effects on the overwhelming spread of English. Rejecting the spread of English is not tantamount to supporting the dominance of other languages or nation-state ideology. This dichotomic relationship between neoliberalism and nationalism is often misrepresented. Radical rejection of neoliberal policies means endorsing super linguistic diversity instead of the divide between English and the national language. Criticizing and dislocating neoliberalism should not trap individuals, groups and communities into choosing essentialist categories. Neoliberalism has taken a stronger form with the political ideologies of modernization, westernization and nation-state. The rise of English in Turkey coincides with that of neoliberalism. The privatization of schools and higher education has accelerated the spread of English and English-related departments. Thy myths of individual autonomy, self-interest, individual freedom and individualistic lifestyle in neoliberal ideology have co-evolved with the myths that the English language is natural, international, beneficial and neutral. Therefore, these myths should be radically criticized to allow space for critical social dialogues and to resist these mythical discourses that reinforce only the political, economic and academic elites that serve only the corporate world understanding.

Keywords: Neoliberalism, nation-state ideology, globalization, neoliberal state, Empire, neocolonialism

Neoliberal societies, in general, exist in a perpetual state of war—a war waged by the financial and political elites against low-income groups, the elderly, minorities of color, the unemployed, the homeless, immigrants, and any others whom the ruling class considers disposable. (Giroux, 2019, p. 12)

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