The Problems with Language Policy and Planning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This article begins with a critique of dominant approaches to language policy in education that are based on the notion of “rights” and “peoples.” It makes the case for an approach that is based on the tripartite view of social justice, as articulated by Nancy Fraser. This view of social justice sees a complementary relationship between the politics of recognition, distribution and representation. The study on which the article is based demonstrates how the experience of using a second language can be analysed with these dimensions in mind. The study is based on the biographical, educational narratives of a group of academics who recount experiences of learning and using a second language at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. The study was conducted during a time of intense concern with the language policy of the university. It suggests that if language policies or plans are needed, these should be based upon principles of social justice and the needs of people rather than on the needs of reified languages or the rights of peoples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-49
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Language, Identity and Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • South Africa
  • higher education
  • identity
  • language ideology
  • language planning
  • language policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'The Problems with Language Policy and Planning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this