Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Teaching English or producing docility? Foucauldian analysis of Pakistani state-mandated English textbooks
Liaquat Ali Channa, Daniel Gilhooly, Abdul Razaque Channa, Syed Abdul Manan, and John Schwieter
Cogent Education Vol. 4 , Iss. 1,2017

The scholarship of language education, particularly with reference to learning and use of English, is marked by varieties of English. One may note two broad models: (1) ENL, ESL, and EFL; (2) EIL, ELF, and WEs. Although the scholarship is replete with debates, the debates seem to only construct and maintain that learning English and its use are neutral activities that earn and equip a learner with certain capital rather than make him/her as such. This paper draws upon Foucault’s theories of discourse and disciplinary power. This paper takes Pakistani
state-mandated English textbooks of Grades 1–5 as official documents that contain qualitative data. The qualitative data are analyzed thematically. Two major themes of male body and female body are found which are analyzed and discussed through the Foucauldian lens. The paper holds that learning English and its use perpetuate and produce docility. The paper contends that neither is language a neutral tool nor are its use and learning value-free activities in any of its varieties.

Keywords: Pakistan, English textbooks, primary grades, discourse, disciplinary power, docility

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