An interdisciplinary approach
The project takes a novel and interdisciplinary approach, combining expertise in Sociolinguistics and Political Science to gain a more holistic understanding of English as a Medium of Instruction.
We borrow Process Tracing from Political Science to trace the causal mechanisms between reforms in the European higher education sector and the rise of English as a Medium of Instruction. We complement six institutional case studies with a Qualitative Comparative Analysis of fifteen cases to generate both in-depth understandings and a generalizable model of the factors that drive English as a Medium of Instruction.
More generally, we aim to advance theories and methodologies in Sociolinguistics. Theoretically, we seek to answer big questions about why communities shift from one language to another and how English has risen to become the world’s most widely spoken language. Methodologically, we aim to trial new methods that incorporate the Political Economy into Sociolinguistic analyses. At the same time, we hope that other disciplines can benefit from a micro-level approach in Sociolinguistics.