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Claire Kramsch

The Future of "Culture" in Applied Linguistics (17.05.2016)

If Applied Linguistics is “an interdisciplinary field of research and practice dealing with practical problems of language and communication” (Li Wei 2014:2), the study of culture has long been seen an essential component of Applied Linguistics, if only because the problems created by language in the real world have very often to do with the social, historical and cultural context in which linguistic resources are put to use. That context, that both structures and is structured by language, is what we call “culture”.  Before the advent of globalization, the Internet and the large scale migrations of the 21st century, culture was studied as the national context in which national languages were learned and used. Today, with the increasingly multilingual and multicultural nature of industrialized societies, the spread of English as a global language, and the relentless rise of neoliberal ideology, the notion of “culture” is seen as being less useful in Applied Linguistics than historicity and subjectivity, performativity and symbolic power.


Claire Kramsch (University of California, Berkeley, USA)


Main Research Interests

  • Applied Linguistics

  • Second Language Acquisition

  • Cultural and Stylistic Approaches to Language Study

Publications (selected)

  • The Multilingual Subject. What Language Learners say About their Experience and why it Matters. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2009.
  • Language and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1998.
  • Context and Culture in Language Teaching. Oxford University Press. 1993.
  • With Ellen Crocker: Reden, Mitreden, Dazwischenreden: Managing Conversations in German. Boston: Heinle & Heinle. 1990.

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