The Authorities of Autonomy and English Only: Serving Whose Interests?



One could make the argument that many modern-day democracies, despite appearing to promote the expansion of individual freedoms and liberties, demonstrate a more substantive interest in maintaining a status quo in which authorities are able to reduce individual freedoms and liberties unopposed under the rhetorical guise of the powerful acting in the best interests of the powerless. While this claim may seem quite fanciful to some readers, the observation that the dynamics of many modern-day democracies reflect a push-and-pull relationship between facets of democracy and facets of dictatorship (see McLaren, 2008; McCormick, 2011; Sharp, 2002) cannot be so easily contested. Indeed, the term ‘democracy’, as one associated with struggle and hope, is ‘the word that resonates in people’s minds and springs from their lips as they struggle for freedom and a better way of life’ (Schmitter and Karl, 1991: 114).


Foreign Language Language Policy Autonomous Action Individual Freedom Extrinsic Reward 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ball, S. J. (2003). The teacher’s soul and the terrors of performativity. Journal of Education Policy, 18(2): 3–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beder, S. (2006). Free market missionaries: The corporate manipulation of community values. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  3. Benson, P. (2011). Teaching and researching autonomy (2nd edn). Harlow: Longman.Google Scholar
  4. Berlin, I. (1958/1969). Two concepts of liberty. In I. Berlin (ed.), Four essays on liberty (pp. 118–72). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Brittan, S. (2005). The limits of democracy. Speech given at the International Society for Individual Freedom, Gummersdorf, 16 July. Retrieved from:
  6. Butzkamm, W. and Caldwell, J. A. W. (2009). The bilingual reform: A paradigm shift in foreign language teaching. Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag.Google Scholar
  7. Chitpin, S. (2013). Should Popper’s view of rationality be used for promoting teacher knowledge? Educational Philosophy and Theory, 45(8): 833–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ciulla, J. B. (1998). Leadership and the problem of bogus empowerment. In J. B. Ciulla (ed.), Ethics, the heart of leadership (pp. 63–86). Westport, Conn.: Praeger.Google Scholar
  9. Cohen, G. A. (2011). On the currency of egalitarian justice, and other essays in political philosophy. Woodstock: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dale, J. and Hyslop-Margison, E. J. (2012). Paulo Freire: Teaching for freedom and transformation. London: Springer.Google Scholar
  11. de Certeau, M. (1984). The practice of everyday life (trans. Steven F. Rendall). Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  12. Dickson, D. H. and Kelly, I. W. (1985). The ‘Barnum Effect’ in personality assessment: A review of the literature. Psychological Reports, 57(1): 3–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Doyle, M. (2007). A reflexive critique of learner-managed learning: An emerging curriculum model for a foundation degree. Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives, 8(2): 3–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fairclough, N. (1992). Discourse and social change. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  15. Forer, B. R. (1949). The fallacy of personal validation: A classroom demonstration of gullibility. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 44(1): 3–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Foster, V. (2007). Ways of knowing and showing: Imagination and representation in feminist participatory social research. Journal of Social Work Practice: Psychotherapeutic Approaches in Health, Welfare and the Community, 21(3): 3–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Foucault, M. (1983/1999). Discourse and truth: The problematization of parrhesia (six lectures given at the University of California at Berkeley, October-November 1983 (ed. J. Pearson 1985), compiled from tape-recordings and re-edited in 1999. Retrieved from:
  18. Foucault, M. (1984/1997). The ethics of the concern of the self as a practice of freedom (trans. P. Aranov and D. McGrawth). In P. Rabinow (ed.), Ethics: Subjectivity and truth. Essential works of Foucault 1954–1984, Vol. 1 (pp. 281–301). New York: The New Press.Google Scholar
  19. Freire, P. (2005). Teachers as cultural workers. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  20. Freire, P. (2009). Pedagogy of the oppressed (30th anniversary edn). New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  21. Gerth, H. H. and Mills, C. W. (eds) (1946). From Max Weber: Essays in sociology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Giroux, H. A. (1991). Border pedagogy and the politics of postmodernism. Social Text, 28(1): 3–67.Google Scholar
  23. Giroux, H. A. (2001). Public spaces, private lives: Beyond the culture of cynicism. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  24. Giroux, H. A. (2011). Beyond the swindle of the corporate university. In M. Bailey and D. Freedman (eds), The assault on universities: A manifesto for resistance (pp. 145–56). London: Pluto Books.Google Scholar
  25. Gold, G. and Feldman, P. (2007). A house of cards: From fantasy finance to global crash. London: Lupus Books.Google Scholar
  26. Guyer, P. (2003). Kant’s system of nature and freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Hoffer, E. (1955). The passionate state of mind and other aphorisms. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
  28. Hoffmann, A. (1997). Conference report: Symposium on learner autonomy (AILA 11th World Congress). In S. M. Cotterall (ed.), Newsletter of the AILA Scientific Commission on Learner Autonomy in Language Learning (LaLL). Issue 3, March. Retrieved from:
  29. Holec, H. (1981). Autonomy and foreign language learning. Oxford: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  30. Kelly, W. (2000). On doing anthropological fieldwork in Japan. In M. Watabe (ed.), Japanese studies: Over the past century and new directions for the twenty-first century (pp. 187–200). Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Kincheloe, J. (1993). Toward a critical politics of teacher thinking: Mapping the postmodern. Westport, Conn.: Bergin & Garvey.Google Scholar
  32. Krishnamurti, J. (1969). Freedom from the known. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  33. Kubota, R. (1999). Japanese culture constructed by discourses: Implications for applied linguistics research and ELT. TESOL Quarterly, 33(1): 3–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lau, R. R., Sigelman, L. and Rovner, I. B. (2007). The effects of negative political campaigns: A meta-analytic reassessment. The Journal of Politics, 69(4): 3–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Levy, D. A. (1996). Psychometric infallibility realized: The one-size-fits-all psychological profile. In G. C. Ellenbogen (ed.), More oral sadism and the vegetarian personality (pp. 3–8). New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  36. Little, D. (2004). Democracy, discourse and learner autonomy in the foreign language classroom. Utbildning and Demokrati, 13(3): 3–26.Google Scholar
  37. McChesney, R. W. (1999). Introduction. In N. Chomsky (ed.), Profit over people: Neoliberalism and global order (pp. 7–16). New York: Seven Stories Press.Google Scholar
  38. McCormick, J. P. (2011). Machiavellian democracy. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McKay, S. L. (2003). Teaching English as an international language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  40. McLaren, P. (2008). Capitalism’s bestiary: Rebuilding urban education. In B. Porfilio and C. Malott (eds), The destructive path of neoliberalism: An international examination of education (pp. vii–xvi). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  41. McMillan, B. A. (2013). Professional identities shaped by resistance to target language only policies. In D. J. Rivers and S. A. Houghton (eds), Social identities and multiple selves in foreign language education (pp. 57–76). New York: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  42. Martin, M. W. (2002). Personal meaning and ethics in engineering. Science and EngineeringEthics, 8(4): 3–60.Google Scholar
  43. Martinez, E. and Garcia, A. (2000). What is neoliberalism? A brief definition for activists. CorpWatch. Retrieved from: php?id=376
  44. Ministry of Justice (2013). Press release: Defamation laws take effect. Retrieved from:
  45. Nicolaus, M. (1968). The unknown Marx. New Left Review, 48: 41–61.Google Scholar
  46. Novak, M. (1982). The spirit of democratic capitalism. Lanham, Md: Madison Books.Google Scholar
  47. Pennycook, A. (1997). Cultural alternatives and autonomy. In P. Benson and P. Voller (eds), Autonomy and independence in language learning (pp. 35–53). London: Longman.Google Scholar
  48. Popkewitz, T. S. (1998). The culture of redemption and the administration of freedom as research. Review of Educational Research, 68(1): 3–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rabinow, P. (ed.) (1984). The Foucault reader. New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
  50. Schmenk, B. (2005). Globalizing learner autonomy. TESOL Quarterly, 39(1): 3–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Schmenk, B. (2006). CALL, self-access and learner autonomy: A linear process from heteronomy to autonomy? In T. Harden, A. Witte and D. Köhler (eds), The concept of progression in the teaching and learning of foreign languages (pp. 75–92). Bern: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  52. Schmitter, P. C. and Karl, T. L. (1991). What democracy is... and is not. Journal of Democracy, 2(3): 3–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Shahinpoor, N. and Matt, B. F. (2006). The power of one: Dissent and organizational life. Journal of Business Ethics, 74(1): 3–48.Google Scholar
  54. Sharp, G. (2002). From dictatorship to democracy: A conceptual framework for liberation. Boston, Mass.: The Albert Einstein Institute.Google Scholar
  55. Shor, I. (1992). Empowering education: Critical teaching for social change. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  56. Simon, R. I. (1987). Empowerment as a pedagogy of possibility. Language Arts, 64(4): 3–82.Google Scholar
  57. Taylor, C., Stout, M., Talandis, J. Jr, and Omura, K. (2012). Building a culture of self-access learning at a Japanese university: An action research project. Retrieved from:
  58. Toh, G. (2012). Critical analysis of discourse in educational settings. In C. A. Chapple (ed.), The encyclopedia of applied linguistics (pp. 1–9). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  59. Tollefson, J. W. (1991). Planning language, planning inequality: Language policy in the community. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  60. Vertzberger, Y. I. (1990). The world in their minds: Information processing, cognition, and perception in foreign policy decision making. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Damian J. Rivers 2015

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations