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Language motivation in a reconfigured Europe: access, identity, autonomy

By Ema Ushioda


In this paper, I propose that we need to develop an appropriate set of conceptual tools for examining motivational issues pertaining to linguistic diversity, mobility and social integration in a rapidly changing and expanding Europe. I begin by drawing on research that has begun to reframe the concept of integrative motivation in the context of theories of self and identity. Expanding the notion of identity, I discuss the contribution of the Council of Europe's European Language Portfolio in promoting a view of motivation as the development of a plurilingual European identity and the enabling of access and mobility across a multilingual Europe. Next, I critically examine the assumption that the individual pursuit of a plurilingual identity is unproblematic, by highlighting the social context in which motivation and identity are constructed and embedded. To illuminate the role of this social context, I explore three inter-related theoretical frameworks: poststructuralist perspectives on language motivation as 'investment'; sociocultural theory; and theories of autonomy in language education. I conclude with the key message that, as with autonomy, language motivation today has an inescapably political dimension of which we need to take greater account in our research and pedagogical practice

Topics: P1
Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2006
OAI identifier:

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