Research interests

Broadly speaking, my expertise lies in the fields of sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, critical discourse studies and language policy. My present work is concentrated around three distinct yet continuously overlapping nexuses:

  • The localization of global language policy: Much of my current work focusses on studying how a particularly widespread policy text, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), is being localized across the world. I am particularly interested in how this text, primarily developed in order to facilitate European political and economic integration, is being used outside Europe, especially in Asia. On the basis of a project funded by the Thailand Research Fund, I have written two papers, one in Journal of Asia TEFL and one in Language Policy, critiquing the rigid ways in which CEFR has been interpreted in the Thai and Malaysian context. I am presently developing further research into how CEFR could be reinterpreted in ways more suitable to Asian contexts.
  • Transnational migration of teachers of English: Stemming from my own experience as a migrant in Thailand, I have started examining an underexplored aspect of the globalization of English language education, transnational teacher migration. With my graduate student, Luke Comprendio, I co-authored a paper published in the Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development examining how migrant teachers are perceived in Thailand. This research pointed to the existence of significant levels of discrimination and inequality among migrant teachers of English, which has led me to undertake further research into this phenomenon. I am presently completing a manuscript examining how racial discrimination is legitimated and challenged in a Facebook community for migrant teachers of English in Thailand, with further research on this issue planned.
  • Heteroglossia, polyphony and polarization in late modern public discourses: Reflecting my interest in the structure-agency dialectic, a further focus of my current work is on examining how public discourses in the late modern era come to be polarized. That is, I am interested in how macro-level oppositions (such as “progressive” vs. “conservative” in the US, “Leave” vs. “Remain” in the UK, “monolingualism” vs. “multilingualism” in Slovene language policy) are established. At their basis, I see such polarization as false in the sense that it masks a greater discursive diversity (of voice, aka. heteroglossia, and of ideology, aka. polyphony) in favour of an oversimplified us vs. them Manichean dichotomy which ultimately serves the purpose of maintaining the status quo. A recent article in Critical Discourse Studies examined how this occurred in a Slovene language policy debate (about multilingualism in higher education) and I plan to pursue further work in this area in the future.

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