Zooming in on language practices in Swedish higher education. A discussion of five studies and their normative versus dynamic approach towards policy and practice

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In this chapter, five studies of language practice in Swedish higher education are compared and discussed with focus on how the policy of English-medium teaching is assumed to relate to practices ‘on the ground’. It is demonstrated that the earlier studies take a normative approach towards policy and practice, in the sense that practice is assumed to coincide with policy, while the later studies approach policy and practice from a dynamic point of view, assuming that other languages may be used in addition to the policy-prescribed medium (cf. Bonacina & Gafaranga, 2011). The underlying approach has implications for the studies’ design and focus, but also for their results concerning the use of Swedish and English in higher education in Sweden.


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