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The political and the ethical in language teaching

Byram, Michael

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Having known Claire Kramsch for many years I find it odd to refer to her as ‘Kramsch’, and since this is an invitation to write a ‘comment’ I would prefer to refer to ‘Claire’; but although this is a personal comment, perhaps that is too informal and so I will use ‘CK’. Academic writing conventions are not always comfortable.As a ‘comment’ and not a ‘review’, I have chosen to juxtapose CK’s account of ‘the political’ in language teaching with that of people with whom I have worked. I hope this is not interpreted as egocentrism. In the spirit of compara­tive education analysis, I am seeking to notice what would otherwise be taken for granted in either position.My first comment is that CK starts from an empirical problem and builds up a convincing argument of original and stimulating insights, an approach which I have always admired. Perhaps not surprising either, in view of her emphasis for many years on the importance of ‘symbolic competence’ as part of intercultural competence, CK ends in a position which demonstrates how symbolic competence is political. It is with this notion of ‘the political’ that I shall begin, and then move to ‘the ethical’.


Byram, M. (2022). The political and the ethical in language teaching. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, 16(3), 394-402.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Aug 19, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Sep 6, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 6, 2022
Journal Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice
Print ISSN 2040-3658
Electronic ISSN 2040-3666
Publisher Equinox Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 3
Pages 394-402
Public URL


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