[lg policy] Netherlands: Internationalisation, Language Policy and Governance

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 2 16:54:40 UTC 2011

Internationalisation, Language Policy and Governance

(2011) Vaughan Stoffer, R. J.

Internationalisation, Language Policy and Governance

What began as a simple inquiry into language policy (LP) and practices
at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG) hatched a much larger
investigation of the practical and ideological context shaping the
RUG’s drive to internationalise. To explore this macro-perspective, a
series of in-depth research interviews with 10 policy makers,
stakeholders and internationalisation experts was undertaken in view
of the University Board’s ambition to transform the RUG into a global
player, jockeying for position on the world’s most prestigious
rankings. Data derived from 13.5 hours of recorded interviews was then
converted into a 175 page transcript and tableau vivant from which an
emergent LP could be situated. While the process is viewed as
imperative, the general consensus has been shaped by a fusion of
neoliberal ideologies that depict internationalisation as a goal in
and of itself, yet one that permits a variety of interpretations.
Financial considerations aside, it was therefore shown that an à la
carte approach to internationalisation, seen here to foster uneven
commitment, left a number of constituents’ ambitions for the RUG
stymied. As such, an array of de facto LPs remains in force.
Furthermore, although the political will to implement a bilingual LP
is insufficient, it was also found that policy makers are not
receptive to multilingualism as a model for LP as there was little
support for the diffusion of Dutch, and plans to reduce German
language provisions are in the offing. Thus, qualitative analysis of
the data revealed a degree of tension, if not impasse, as, “the
language question is very tricky, and that it touches the heart of the
problem of internationalisation” (Participant IC3)




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