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Auteur: Adcharawan BURIPAKDI

Cosmopolitan English: Acts of Appropriation and Negotiating English Hegemony in Thailand

Abstract/Résumé: This session addresses third space construct by fiction and non-fiction English writers in Thai contexts. The presentation aims to demonstrate how the bilingual writers appropriate their English through a process of identity negotiation or self-positioning toward their English. In this process, when asked to conceptualize their English, the informants employed different models of hierarchical assumptions and sets of rhetoric to state their ideological positions and to incorporate strategies of appropriation and resistance. Taking a Cosmopolitan English position, the participants considered themselves to be world citizens who could move in and out of cultures. They realized that English language usage did not necessarily follow the mainstream norms but served local needs. Besides, the participants were aware of English varieties, the notion of pluralism, and the rising role of global English. The way the participants established their English positioning indicated shifting identities, ongoing negotiation of identities and struggles over representation. Over all, the participants performed two major acts of appropriation and resistance to cultural and linguistic domination: 1) take a balanced approach to construct an English identity, and 2) challenge the dominant ideology and deconstruct the hegemonic English position. In the first approach, the participants negotiated their meanings of English and maintained their home culture and language. The results revealed that having “a dual consciousness” or “in-betweenness” (Bhabha, 1994) permitted these writers to have a critical vantage point in intercultural engagement and transnational identity negotiation. The act of negotiation English identity of the participants echoed Said’s (1994) assertion, “No one today is purely one thing” (p. 136). The appropriation was also an art of global identity negotiation that took place when language users related “micro relations of language use to macro relations of social context” (Pennycook, 2001, p. 64.) The second act is the manifestation of identity negotiation by challenging dominant discourses and deconstructing English hegemony. In principle, the informants signaled their resistance to fixed identity, Standard English, and mainstream media. They enacted their resistance theories (Canagarajah, 1999) by expressing their challenges to dominant social structure and ideology in a variety of ways to voice their opinions as writers. This session sheds light on the multifaceted construct, the plasticity and the complexity of postcolonial identity phenomenon in Thailand where English is used as an additional language.