Research interests

Broadly speaking, my expertise lies in the fields of sociolinguistics, applied linguistics, critical discourse studies and language policy.

PhD research

The primary focus of my doctoral research at Lancaster University was language policy in Slovenia, particularly the power struggles that occurred as hegemonic nationalist ideology was challenged. In my thesis, which received internal funding and was also shortlisted for ESRC support, I investigated the ideological struggles that occurred during the drafting and implementation of a government language strategy by studying government texts, media articles and parliamentary sessions, as well as conducting a series of interviews with key policy figures. Various elements of this research have appeared in Language Policy, Current Issues in Language Planning and Journal of Language and Politics, and in edited collections published by Palgrave MacMillan and Edward Elgar.

Current foci

Since moving to Thailand, I have retained a core interest in the power struggles that take place around issues of language, though my focus has shifted to how this takes place on a broader scale, with particular attention to English language education.

A large segment of my current work revolves around the relationship between globalization and language policy, focussing in particular on global language policy regimes and their local impact. A specific focus has been the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which is being appropriated by nations and organizations across the world. I was PI of a project funded by the Thailand Research Fund in which I examined the appropriation of this framework in Thailand and Malaysia. The research, an early step into the critical examination of how CEFR is used in policy and practice beyond European borders, found that most interpretations of the framework in the two nations were overtly prescriptive, seeing CEFR as a global standard for language education which is closely married to global ELT products (textbooks and tests) and allows local actors little opportunity to develop pedagogies appropriate to their own context. In recent writing, this has led me to reflect on the paradoxes faced by ELT practitioners when working with a global policy like CEFR and to examine the ideologies that other kinds of transnational policy instruments, specifically league tables in which countries are ranked according to English proficiency, promote in public discourses at the national level .

Another major theme has been the relationship between racial inequality and teacher migration. I have just had an article published in TESOL Quarterly in which I examine how hegemonic racial ideologies were enforced and challenged in a Facebook group for migrant teachers in Thailand. At present, I am writing a further paper based on this data in which I re-examine linguistic borders – while recent work on translanguaging has tended to demonize borders as discriminatory, this work will argue that emergent borders can play a key role in enabling micro-level resistance to hegemonic racial ideologies. Following on from a previous collaboration, I am also working with Luke Comprendio on a study examining migrant teachers’ narratives of facing and overcoming racial inequality. This research is internally funded with me as the PI.

In addition to these two primary projects, I have also written on other issues related to language and power. In a paper recently published in Linguistic Landscape, I examined how the impact of historical language policies was evident in the public signage of two spaces in a Thai city. I have also co-written with Danik Widiawati about the implementation of English-medium instruction policy in a minority language community in the South of Thailand (published in Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development). Finally, I have maintained a connection to the Slovene context by writing about polarization in media debates about language policy (in Critical Discourse Studies).