Citation

A Bourdieusian analysis of Singapore’s language policy: A story from the “field”

Abstract | Word Stems | Keywords | Association | Citation | Similar Titles



Abstract:

The basic structure and rhetoric of National language policy in multilingual Singapore has essentially remained unchanged since the country gained independence in 1965: Malay as the symbolic national language; four official languages: Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil in alignment with the nation’s primary ethnic communities, and English. For schools, this translates into a quadrilingual education policy (Silver & Bokhorst-Heng, forthcoming), with English as the medium of instruction and the “mother-tongue” (MT) languages taught as second languages. Discursively, the policy follows a diglossic structure: English as a pragmatic inter-ethnic language, contained in the public domain; MT languages the languages of culture and identity, primarily contained in the private domain. In this structure, language is siloed in its use and constructs.

However, there has always been an undercurrent of inconsistencies within policy practice and in education, suggesting that the dominant language policy is an active contested space. We are especially interested in the current tensions between language-in-education policy and implementation in school. The policy of English as the medium of instruction has remained consistent; however, as language practices in the home, and in a society characterised by what Phillimore (2013) calls increasing “superdiversity,” change, curricula in all four languages have tried to re-align with socio-linguistic realities. Our discussion will focus on the Chinese community in Singapore, a community on which the nation’s language policy is anchored, and a community whose recent transformations as a result of increased levels of immigration present particular challenges to the policy’s rationale and practice. Our analysis will draw upon government speeches and policy documents, data gathered through the Sociolinguistic Survey of Singapore (a study that surveyed 1000 10-year-olds about their everyday language practices), and data gathered peer interactions during English lessons conducted in pullout classes for lower primary students.

To understand the apparent tension between a static quadrilingual policy and the undercurrents of implementation within schools and other socio-cultural spaces, we adopt Bourdieu’s metaphor of “field” – a social arena within which struggles or manoeuvres take place over specific resources and access (Jenkins, 2002). Arenas of struggle exist not just within fields – people seeking to maintain or improve their position vis-à-vis others in the field, but also between fields. Thus, we can think about the discrepancies between policy and practice as occurring within arenas of struggle between the political and educational fields, each of which operates with its own set of values, rules, relationships and meaning.
Convention
All Academic Convention can solve the abstract management needs for any association's annual meeting.
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

Association:
Name: Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference
URL:
http://www.cies.us


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p729098_index.html
Direct Link:
HTML Code:

MLA Citation:

BokhorstHeng, Wendy. and Silver, Rita. "A Bourdieusian analysis of Singapore’s language policy: A story from the “field”" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Mar 10, 2014 <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p729098_index.html>

APA Citation:

BokhorstHeng, W. and Silver, R. E. , 2014-03-10 "A Bourdieusian analysis of Singapore’s language policy: A story from the “field”" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p729098_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: The basic structure and rhetoric of National language policy in multilingual Singapore has essentially remained unchanged since the country gained independence in 1965: Malay as the symbolic national language; four official languages: Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil in alignment with the nation’s primary ethnic communities, and English. For schools, this translates into a quadrilingual education policy (Silver & Bokhorst-Heng, forthcoming), with English as the medium of instruction and the “mother-tongue” (MT) languages taught as second languages. Discursively, the policy follows a diglossic structure: English as a pragmatic inter-ethnic language, contained in the public domain; MT languages the languages of culture and identity, primarily contained in the private domain. In this structure, language is siloed in its use and constructs.

However, there has always been an undercurrent of inconsistencies within policy practice and in education, suggesting that the dominant language policy is an active contested space. We are especially interested in the current tensions between language-in-education policy and implementation in school. The policy of English as the medium of instruction has remained consistent; however, as language practices in the home, and in a society characterised by what Phillimore (2013) calls increasing “superdiversity,” change, curricula in all four languages have tried to re-align with socio-linguistic realities. Our discussion will focus on the Chinese community in Singapore, a community on which the nation’s language policy is anchored, and a community whose recent transformations as a result of increased levels of immigration present particular challenges to the policy’s rationale and practice. Our analysis will draw upon government speeches and policy documents, data gathered through the Sociolinguistic Survey of Singapore (a study that surveyed 1000 10-year-olds about their everyday language practices), and data gathered peer interactions during English lessons conducted in pullout classes for lower primary students.

To understand the apparent tension between a static quadrilingual policy and the undercurrents of implementation within schools and other socio-cultural spaces, we adopt Bourdieu’s metaphor of “field” – a social arena within which struggles or manoeuvres take place over specific resources and access (Jenkins, 2002). Arenas of struggle exist not just within fields – people seeking to maintain or improve their position vis-à-vis others in the field, but also between fields. Thus, we can think about the discrepancies between policy and practice as occurring within arenas of struggle between the political and educational fields, each of which operates with its own set of values, rules, relationships and meaning.


Similar Titles:
Playing the Field: An (Updated) Bourdieusian Analysis of Singapore's Language-in-education Policies

State of equality?: A policy analysis of language of instruction and language rights in U.S. schools

Avoiding the ‘Shibboleth of Language’: Law, Norms, and the National Language Policy in the Maintenance of Singapore’s Ethnic Stability


 
All Academic, Inc. is your premier source for research and conference management. Visit our website, www.allacademic.com, to see how we can help you today.