Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2405-5522
  • E-ISSN: 2405-5530



Set against a body of research which tends to either overlook ideological differences between Eastern and Western conceptualizations of motivation or which positions Chinese students as ideologically monolithic, this study aims to explore the dynamic interaction between neoliberal and Neo-Confucian paradigms in shaping motivation for English language learning. By incorporating primary concepts from the Neo-Confucian motivational construct and Dörnyei’s (2005) second language (L2) Motivational Self System, this study bridges the gap between Eastern and Western L2 motivational research and investigates how neoliberal/Neo-Confucian ideologies interact to influence Chinese university students’ motivations for learning English. More specifically, it explores how this develops during study abroad in Ireland. It was found that the motivational trajectories of eight participants comprised a complex synthesis of both ideologies during study abroad. Furthermore, their ought-to L2 selves and ideal L2 self imagery underwent dramatic alterations.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Chinese EFL learners; L2 motivation; L2 self; Neo-Confucianism; neoliberalism
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