On the Hegemonic English in a Neoliberal Information Economy

Without words, what do we have? From language, we define what is possible—what we think, who we talk to, what we do, and where we go. Language is more than a vessel for thought. It communicates our identity and status and reinforces the cultural and economic politics of globalization. It is the “battlefield … upon which players in the global information economy grapple for property, respectability, and political voice.” A fascination with the ways in which language shapes the human experience motivates me to explore the evolving relationship between English and neoliberal capitalism. To observe this relationship in daily life, I examine its place in humor. Though many uphold humor as a retreat from hegemony, it remains embedded in the very order it strives to escape. Engrish.com is a website that shows examples of botched English in China. By highlighting nonnative English speakers’ mistakes, Engrish.com demonstrates native English speakers’ efforts to maintain their control of English, a key form of capital in today’s information economy.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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