Journal of Global Citizenship & Equity Education, Vol 7, No 1 (2020)

The Role of English in Global Citizenship

Claire Cavanagh


Despite a number of scholars attempting to define and conceptualise global citizenship, the literature tends to ignore the role of English as the global lingua franca. This paper argues that this is a gross oversight, particularly in internationalised higher education where global citizenship is often presented as an aspiration for students. Websites of two South Korean universities were analysed regarding how the institutions intend to develop global citizens. Twenty students enrolled in the universities participated in interviews regarding their conceptualizations of global citizenship and how they frame their relationship with global and Korean identities. The findings reveal that global citizenship is generally conceived in terms of English with a strong adherence to native speaker norms and in opposition to Korean identity. This has an influence on how the students position themselves in relation to a global community and how it impinges on their national identities. The paper ends with both theoretical and practical recommendations regarding the role of English in global citizenship. 


global citizenship; language policy; English as a Lingua Franca; language ideology; internationalization of higher education

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