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Educational linguistics vol 22 english for academic purposes in neoliberal universities a critical grounded theory

Educational Linguistics

Gregory Hadley

English for Academic
Purposes in Neoliberal
Universities: A Critical
Grounded Theory


Educational Linguistics
Volume 22

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University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
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University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A
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King’s College London, United Kingdom
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University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Alastair Pennycook
University of Technology, Sydney, Australia


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Gregory Hadley

English for Academic
Purposes in Neoliberal
Universities: A Critical
Grounded Theory


Gregory Hadley
Niigata University
Niigata-shi, Niigata, Japan

ISSN 1572-0292
ISBN 978-3-319-10448-5
ISBN 978-3-319-10449-2 (eBook)
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-10449-2
Springer Cham Heidelberg New York Dordrecht London
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Abstract

As momentous changes continue to sweep across the world of higher education,
tertiary-level English for Academic Purposes (EAP) is experiencing a time of painful professional transition. In many higher educational institutions (HEIs), EAP
units have been transferred from academic departments to administrative offices
charged with international student recruitment and entrepreneurial talent development. Conflict is a common feature as EAP teachers struggle to maintain their professional lives while working within new managerial systems that espouse very
different views about the nature and purpose of Second Language Education.
This research showcases a grounded theory situated within this restive professional environment. Drawing from in-depth interviews of over 90 informants at 18
higher educational institutions in the UK, Japan and the USA, this volume presents
a new type of worker emerging from within EAP units. Called Blended EAP
Professionals (BLEAPs), this grounded theory critically highlights the processes
and strategies used by these workers to survive the perilous organizational ‘Third
Spaces’ within neoliberal universities. Besides their teaching duties, successful
BLEAPs spend most of their time in Hunting & Gathering, Weighing & Measuring,
Molding & Shaping. These processes are underwritten by the core social process of
Professional Disarticulation. This book unlocks properties and dynamics that
support these social processes, and considers the implications of this critical
grounded theory for Tertiary EAP as the profession approaches the middle of the
twenty-first century.

v



Acknowledgements

I wish to thank my wife, Hiromi Hadley. Were it not for her support and
encouragement, this work would not have come to fruition. Many thanks also to the
following for their words of wisdom and scholarly insight during the various stages
and iterations of this project: Corony Edwards, the University of Exeter, UK, and
her scholarly spouse Dr. Mohamed A. Mahmoud; Dr. Almut Koester, The Vienna
University of Economics and Business; and Dr. Robert Vanderplank, Jeremy
Cresswell, Dr. Alistair Ross, Dr. Bent Flyvbjerg and Dr. Paul Fiddes, all who are at
The University of Oxford. Thanks to Dr. Kathy Charmaz, Sonoma State University,
for her advice and empathetic understanding. I appreciate the contribution of
Dr. Chris Kennedy, Professor Emeritus, University of Birmingham, UK, and to
Dr. Adrian Holliday, Canterbury Christ Church University, not only for playing the
devil’s advocate, but also for inspiring me to strive even further to gain a critical
awareness of the edges and limitations of this theory. I deeply appreciate the feedback of Dr. Francis Hult, Lund University, Helen van der Stelt, Jolanda Voogd and
the reviewers at Springer, who greatly improved many aspects of this book. And
finally, my gratitude goes out to the anonymous informants who participated in this
research. Thank you for your words, actions, and insights. Thank you as well for
having the courage to share and for not losing your capacity to care, even during
those times when painful changes at your universities put you in precarious places.
The world is a better place because of you.

vii



Contents

1 Setting the Stage: Context, Concepts,
and Theoretical Constructions .................................................................
1.1 Pivotal Events .....................................................................................
1.2 Why This Book? .................................................................................
1.3 Key Concepts ......................................................................................
1.3.1 Neoliberal Universities ...........................................................
1.3.2 English for Academic Purposes ..............................................
1.3.3 Blended EAP Professionals ....................................................
1.4 Critical Grounded Theory ...................................................................
1.4.1 Beginning Stage ......................................................................
1.4.2 Intermediate Stage ..................................................................
1.4.3 Final Stage ..............................................................................
1.5 Practicing Reflexivity .........................................................................
1.5.1 Research Background and Paradigmatic Position ..................
1.5.2 Composition Style, Transcription, and Data Collection .........
1.6 Structure of This Book .......................................................................

1
1
4
4
4
7
8
9
10
13
14
16
16
17
22

2 EAP in the Third Space of Neoliberal Universities ................................
2.1 Introduction ........................................................................................
2.2 The Shift to Vocationalism .................................................................
2.3 Sociopolitical and Economic Scaffolding ..........................................
2.3.1 Globalization and Higher Education .......................................
2.3.2 Massification ...........................................................................
2.3.3 McDonaldization.....................................................................
2.4 Institutional Manifestations and Emergent Third Spaces ...................
2.4.1 Distinguishing Between Universities: An HEI Typology .......
2.4.2 Enter the Third Space..............................................................
2.5 Reconstructing EAP into Student Processing Units (SPUs) ..............
2.5.1 From Collegiality to Command & Control .............................
2.5.2 Mechanistic Models ................................................................
2.6 Chapter Summary ...............................................................................

25
25
25
30
30
32
33
34
34
37
39
40
41
43
ix


x

Contents

3 The Emergence of Blended EAP Professionals ......................................
3.1 Introduction ........................................................................................
3.2 Blended Ambiguity .............................................................................
3.3 Life as a BLEAP .................................................................................
3.3.1 Becoming a BLEAP................................................................
3.3.2 Typical Tasks ...........................................................................
3.3.3 Types and Trajectories ............................................................
3.3.4 Upwardly Mobile BLEAPs .....................................................
3.3.5 The Transactional BLEAP ......................................................
3.3.6 The Sinking BLEAP ...............................................................
3.4 Chapter Summary ...............................................................................

45
45
45
47
47
49
50
51
52
54
57

4 Hunting and Gathering.............................................................................
4.1 Introduction ........................................................................................
4.2 Resource Prospecting .........................................................................
4.2.1 Seeking Resource Enhancements ...........................................
4.2.2 Securing Dependable Resource Flows....................................
4.2.3 Cultivating Potential Resources ..............................................
4.2.4 TEAP Response to Resource Prospecting ..............................
4.3 Investment Servicing ..........................................................................
4.4 Milking the Cash Cow ........................................................................
4.4.1 Examples of Overseas Program Milking ................................
4.4.2 Role of BLEAPs .....................................................................
4.4.3 Response of TEAPs ................................................................
4.4.4 Covariances and Conditions....................................................
4.5 Resource Leeching .............................................................................
4.5.1 Internal Resource Leeching ....................................................
4.5.2 External Resource Leeching ...................................................
4.6 Chapter Summary ...............................................................................

61
61
63
63
70
74
75
76
78
80
82
83
84
85
87
90
93

5 Weighing and Measuring..........................................................................
5.1 Introduction ........................................................................................
5.2 Contextual Factors in the Weighing & Measuring
of Higher Education ...........................................................................
5.2.1 External Factors ......................................................................
5.2.2 Internal Factors .......................................................................
5.3 Weighing & Measuring Tertiary EAP Programs ................................
5.3.1 Challenges to the Weighing &
Measuring of EAP Programs ..................................................
5.3.2 Strategies for Weighing & Measuring EAP Programs ............
5.4 Weighing & Measuring TEAPs ..........................................................
5.4.1 Challenges to the Weighing & Measuring of TEAPs .............
5.4.2 Strategies for Weighing & Measuring TEAPs ........................

95
95
96
97
98
99
100
100
104
107
108


Contents

xi

5.5 Weighing & Measuring International Students ..................................
5.5.1 Challenges to Weighing &
Measuring International Students ...........................................
5.5.2 Strategies for Weighing &
Measuring International Students ...........................................
5.6 Weighing & Measuring BLEAPs .......................................................
5.6.1 Challenges to the Weighing & Measuring of BLEAPs...........
5.6.2 BLEAP Strategies for Weighing & Measuring .......................
5.7 Chapter Summary ...............................................................................

111

116
118
119
121
126

6 Molding and Shaping from on High ........................................................
6.1 Introduction ........................................................................................
6.2 Seeing the Big Picture ........................................................................
6.2.1 BLEAPs and the Big Picture...................................................
6.2.2 TEAPs in Obscurity: Puzzling Out a Different Picture ..........
6.3 Maintaining Control ...........................................................................
6.3.1 Creating Process Frameworks .................................................
6.3.2 Owning the Process.................................................................
6.3.3 In-Group Consolidation ..........................................................
6.3.4 Green Zone Construction and Bunker Building .....................
6.3.5 Flow Management as a Control Maintenance Strategy ..........
6.4 Making an Innovative Impact .............................................................
6.5 Consequences of Molding & Shaping for Tertiary EAP ....................
6.5.1 Surviving on Administrative Patronage ..................................
6.5.2 Reshaping Professional Identities ...........................................
6.5.3 Colonial Transformation .........................................................
6.6 Chapter Summary ...............................................................................

127
127
128
129
131
132
132
133
136
139
141
144
145
146
147
151
154

7 Mobbing, Struggling, and Managing: A Story
of Professional Disarticulation .................................................................
7.1 Introduction ........................................................................................
7.2 Professional Disarticulation................................................................
7.3 Potential Contributions .......................................................................
7.4 Further Implications ...........................................................................
7.5 Final Thoughts ....................................................................................

157
157
158
160
164
165

111

References ........................................................................................................ 167



List of Figures

Fig. 1.1

Recurring analytical processes in the grounded
theory methodology .........................................................................

11

Fig. 2.1
Fig. 2.2

Types of higher educational institutions ..........................................
Third space factors influencing EAP in neoliberal HEIs .................

35
38

Fig. 3.1
Fig. 3.2

A BLEAP typology of strategies .....................................................
Social processes for blended EAP professionals .............................

50
58

Fig. 4.1

Network of theoretical codes linked to hunting & gathering...........

62

Fig. 5.1
Fig. 5.2

Contextual dynamics and theoretical categories .............................. 96
Principle components analysis from repertory grid interviews ....... 106

Fig. 6.1

Interconnected theoretical codes and properties
of molding & shaping ...................................................................... 128

Fig. 7.1

Stages and trajectories of professional disarticulation..................... 159

xiii



List of Tables

Table 1.1
Table 1.2

Research sites ................................................................................
Totals and types of informants interviewed ...................................

20
22

Table 5.1

Concordance sample of interviews indicating
student numerification ................................................................... 104

Table 6.1

Analysis of ‘strategic’ using WordSmith tools 4.0 ........................ 145

xv


Chapter 1

Setting the Stage: Context, Concepts,
and Theoretical Constructions

1.1

Pivotal Events

It was the autumn of 2004. I was flying over the wide expanse of the American
Midwest on the presidential plane of Polaris State University.1 The Dean of my
university in Japan and I had just finished our inspection of a semester-long English
for Academic Purpose (EAP) program recently established with Polaris for our
undergraduate students. In addition to our tour of the EAP unit, we were unexpectedly
ushered into places where we could observe the inner workings of the university’s
administrative management. As part of their overall goal of achieving ‘greater
quality and excellence’, we were told of ambitious plans that would place EAP at
the center of a drive that would significantly increase international student numbers
and ‘enhance diversity’ on campus. It was partly within the context of those plans
that we were at that moment flying to an exclusive resort where the President of
Polaris would receive, on behalf of the university, a prestigious State Award in Total
Quality Management.
The President and Dean were merrily chatting away while I stared at the patchwork
of farms, fields and forests below. What I had seen so far at Polaris had stirred up
thoughts and recollections about changes that had just started to take place in
Japanese Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs). Only a few months earlier, the professional life of Teachers of EAP (TEAPs) at Japanese universities had been similar
to the conditions enjoyed by teachers in the UK and the United States during the
so-called Golden Age of Higher Education (Bender 1997; Altbach et al. 1999/2005,
p. 357; Archer 2008). Although that era ended by the mid 1970s, even until the
middle of the 2000s, Higher Education (HE) in Japan was still enjoying sufficient
state support, plentiful student enrollments, moderate teaching loads and considerable levels of teacher autonomy. It was equally the case that, with the exception of a
few elite universities, Japanese HE and tertiary English language instruction were
1

All place names have been anonymized.

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015
G. Hadley, English for Academic Purposes in Neoliberal Universities: A Critical
Grounded Theory, Educational Linguistics 22, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-10449-2_1

1


2

1

Setting the Stage: Context, Concepts, and Theoretical Constructions

characterized as having relatively low levels of educational and research quality
(Miyoshi 2000; McVeigh 2002). After two decades of economic stagnation, the
graying of the population, and a rapid decline in the number of college-aged
students, Japan was unable to support HE as it had throughout the latter half of
the twentieth century. In 2004, the Ministry of Education, Sports, Science and
Technology (MEXT) implemented policies that privatized virtually every national
university. Market-based reforms for both private and national universities were
introduced, and a framework establishing a neoliberal model of HEI governance
was put in place (Feller 2004; Yamamoto 2004; Yoda and Harootunian 2006).
A cleverly crafted synthesis of university reforms similar to those implemented
years earlier in the UK and United States, the resulting ‘Big Bang’ was hailed as the
most significant change to take place in Japanese higher education in over a century
(Goodman 2005).
Evocative of the Social Darwinian notion of punctuated equilibrium, once the
reforms had been announced, changes swept across the country with startling speed.
In the space of a few months at my institution, Nippon University of Global
Integrated Studies (NUGIS), teacher assessment by students and outside quasigovernmental organizations suddenly increased, administrative work of the type
that had once been the domain of office support staff unexpectedly swelled, and
within the issue of faculty governance, teacher authority quickly evaporated. A new
managerial elite composed of administrators having more business experience than
academic credentials took the reins of university management, and soon began to
make full use of the new powers given to them by the Ministry. Downward pressure
on faculty to find innovative ways to generate income for the university became a
common feature of one’s professional life. TEAPs, both Japanese nationals and
non-Japanese, began entering the university on short-term, non-tenure track contracts, and in a development that was nearly identical to other universities across
Japan, most were relocated to new EAP units that occupied an ambiguous organizational space between academic departments and the rapidly developing student service offices that were under administrative management.
The plane began to experience some turbulence, causing a lull in the onboard
conversation. The silent shaking jolted my thoughts closer to the moment, to what I
had seen earlier in the day during the visit to the EAP Unit at Polaris. While the
students that we had sent there were receiving levels of service that far exceeded
what they would normally be given at NUGIS, the workloads and general conditions for the TEAPs had been a source of concern. Our observations of TEAPs
straining under heavy work schedules had an uncanny resemblance to what I had
personally experienced while teaching EAP for several summers at the University
of Wensleydale in the UK. The summer presessional program there had all the hallmarks of what others have aptly described as an academic sweatshop (Sharff and
Lessinger 1994). It was surprising to see such similar conditions at an HEI on the
other side of the world.


1.1

Pivotal Events

3

We landed early. Like some scene out of a movie, a chauffeur was waiting beside
the runway to take us to the resort. Elsewhere, the head of the EAP unit at Polaris,
together with midlevel administrators and professional staff, were still making an
arduous six hour trip by coach. The TEAPs, who had recently been rehired on
administrative contracts, and who had been instrumental in the success of the
study abroad program, had not been invited. This they did not begrudge however,
since most of the administrative staff attending the ceremony faced another six hour
return trip later the same evening. Tomorrow was a workday.
During the reception before the ceremony, I stayed close to the new head of the
EAP unit as he milled around, shook hands and talked with politically influential
regents, senior university administrators, and regional leaders of major service corporations who were also there to receive similar awards in Total Quality Management.
Amidst the clinking of wine glasses and sandwiched between the well-mannered
mumble, quite a few had opinions about how EAP could do a better job at ‘servicing
the university’.
I returned to Japan a few days later. Soon afterwards, university administration
asked faculty to attend a newly instituted ‘Business Exchange Conference’ (kigyou
kondankai) that was to be hosted by the university at an upscale hotel. We were
expected to meet and greet corporate representatives and deepen the social ties
between NUGIS and business leaders. Feeling a sense of déjà vu, I found myself
milling around and speaking with the Japanese counterparts of those I met at the
reception a few weeks earlier in America. Here again, I encountered several who
had rather strong views about the role of English language education, and how
NUGIS should be addressing the needs of local industry.
The steady imbrication of such experiences began to build within me a curious
sensation of dissonance. Instead of at scholarly conferences or in prestigious academic journals, could it be that the future of EAP was being decided in evening
banquets held by university administrators and corporate managers? Within this
organizational ‘climate change’ taking place in HEIs around the world, how is EAP
adapting? What effects are these changes having on the professional identity of
those working in this field?
These and other questions were the impetus that set me on a seven year journey,
one which spanned three countries and 18 universities. This book is the result of
that journey. It has been written primarily (but not exclusively) for teachers of
EAP and those who have found themselves tasked with managing a Tertiary EAP
unit without any formal authority or positional power. The remainder of this
introductory chapter explains the potential significance this book has both for the
EAP academic community and others teaching in higher education. I will present
a number of issues that, while seemingly disparate in nature, will help to
contextualize what is to come later. The methodology and issues related to Critical
Grounded Theory will be also be discussed and followed by a synopsis of the
upcoming chapters.


4

1.2

1

Setting the Stage: Context, Concepts, and Theoretical Constructions

Why This Book?

The global spread of economic and governmental policies, which in turn have
stimulated the emergence of a ‘neoliberal’ university model, has been an object of
intense scrutiny for over a generation (Readings 1996; Barnett 2000, 2011;
Brentnall 2013). Books and papers are regularly published concerning the various
facets of Higher Education’s transition from scholarly institution to knowledge
factory (Slaughter and Rhoades 2005; Washburn 2005; Bosquet 2008; Donoghue
2008; Tuchman 2009; Poole 2010; Canaan and Wesley 2011). Yet within this
maelstrom of academic inquiry, scant attention has been given to the effects of
neoliberalism on tertiary level EAP (e.g. Block and Cameron 2002). This in itself
is remarkable, since as a branch of the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other
Languages (TESOL), EAP was among the first disciplines to experience changes of
the type now affecting university academics around the world. Indeed, as will be
repeated later, the decision of earlier academic departments to allow EAP units to
be relocated under administrative management created the precedent for current
reforms that have drastically changed the nature of academic professional life,
especially for those in the liberal arts and social sciences. A study of how EAP is
faring in neoliberal universities seems to be both timely and warranted, not only for
those directly involved in the task of teaching English for Academic Purposes, but
also to scholars in other disciplines, since the conditions of EAP units in universities
act as a social barometer for predicting the future of other academics in such
institutions.

1.3

Key Concepts

However, a conceptual backdrop must first be raised in order to highlight certain
features within this work. Three distinct threads, the Neoliberal University, a more
inclusive definition of EAP, and a group of workers in HE that I have labeled as
Blended EAP Professionals, will be woven together to form a unique theoretical
tapestry. Each of these will now be considered in brief before they are once again
reworked into the fabric of later chapters.

1.3.1

Neoliberal Universities

Any discussion of the meaning of neoliberalism must first be prefaced within an
understanding that it does not exist in monolithic form. Neoliberalism is understood
in various ways, and has been constantly influenced by multiple streams of thought
(Jessop 2002). Essentially a theory of economics, the origins of contemporary
neoliberalism have been formed from the confluence of several sources, starting


1.3

Key Concepts

5

with the economic philosophies of Enlightenment thinkers, American and British
economic practices from the mid nineteenth to early twentieth century, the
intellectual work product of the Mont Pelerin Society of the 1940s, and the theories
of the Chicago School of Economics under Milton Friedman during the 1960s and
70s. Neoliberal thinking tends to exhibit strong Social Darwinian overtones, especially within the core belief that economic markets are self-regulating and self-correcting. Weak or inferior economic practices, corporations, products, and services
become extinct by failing to either satisfy consumers or by wreaking disastrous
effects upon society in the form of financial crises or defective workmanship. The
invisible hand of the consumer serves as the driver of natural selection to sensibly
guide the economic system, because in a corporate sense, it is believed that humanity knows what is necessary for creating a better world. Government regulation of
the market and special interest groups, such as labor unions or bodies of permanently employed workers, are seen as disruptive to the natural order. They slow the
speed of progress, and ultimately, damage the wellbeing and individual freedom of
choice for those in the majority (Harvey 2005; Frieden 2006).
Steger and Roy (2010) explain that a deeper understanding of what neoliberalism
now means in today’s world can be found within the domains of public policy, ideology, and governance. As a policy package, neoliberalism calls for the deregulation
of the economy, the liberalization of trade and commerce, and the privatization of
state-run organizations, such as post offices, welfare services, hospitals, and statesupported education. This facet of modern neoliberalism energizes the second realm
of ideology, where it is presented as a rational worldview. The virtues of a global
market, of excellence and expertise, the free flow of goods, services and labor, and
of multinational corporations leading the way towards a technologically advanced
and more convenient world, are common themes in the ideological discourse of
neoliberalism. It is here that neoliberalism as an economic view of humanity transcends the marketplace and begins to reach into all sectors of society.
Neoliberalism’s influence on governance has arguably received the greatest
attention from scholars in the applied social sciences (Jessop 2002; Olssen and
Peters 2005; Trakman 2008; Brown and Baker 2012). This aspect of neoliberalism
will be most prominent in this work as well, though it must be emphasized that the
role of ideology and policy planning are inextricably linked to justifying and implementing neoliberal governance. Egalitarianism and consensus building strategies
are characterized as slow and inefficient in neoliberal systems. Instead, hierarchical
stratification based on technological skill and specialist expertise is upheld as pragmatically necessary, often within the context of an existential sense of crisis. Those
with authority to lead have an established track record of making entrepreneurial,
rational, and economically beneficial decisions for the organization. The quick decision making process of these small groups of these technocrats, followed by a topdown application of resultant action plans, are believed to make the organization
more agile in the face of potential opportunities or sudden crises. The implementation of this form of governance is maintained through tightly controlled systems of
practice. These are cyclical in nature and constantly monitored. Products or services


6

1

Setting the Stage: Context, Concepts, and Theoretical Constructions

offered by the organization are delivered to end-users, who are then questioned for
feedback via quantitative research methods in order to further improve the quality
of future process cycles.
While often accepted in many countries as a reasonable way to govern and run
profit-driven corporations, a significant amount of research and scholarly
commentary has studied how a new managerial caste, guided by neoliberal beliefs
on governance, have sought to use these notions to transform the organizational
culture and professional practices of government administrative bodies, hospitals,
schools, and universities (Salter and Tapper 2000; Kayrooz and Preston 2002;
Mok and Lo 2002; Yamamoto 2004). With particular regard to Higher Education,
this process of change was first witnessed in the United States over 30 years ago,
a time when national funding for higher education began to shrink due to a
combination of a declining tax base and a conservative shift in attitudes on the
part of policymakers regarding the purpose of HE in society. Faced with yearly
reductions in public support, Aronowitz (2000, p. 83) noted that American HEIs
rapidly began ‘retreating from the ideals of liberal arts and the leading-edge
research it always has cherished’ in favor of a model more akin to that of private
corporations. ‘By the mid-1990s’, he continues, ‘the corporate university had
become the standard for nearly all private and public schools’ in the United States,
and since then, this neoliberal model of governance has been exported on a global
scale. Policymakers in the UK, Japan, the EU and even Scandinavian countries
such as Norway and Iceland, have implemented similar versions of the American
Neoliberal University (Kinnell 1989; Tjeldvoll 1996; Stanley and Patrick 1998;
Power and Whitty 1999; Welle-Strand 2000; Block 2002; Itoh 2002; Yonezawa
2002; Bocock et al. 2003; Yamamoto 2004; Baber and Linsday 2006; Hubball and
Gold 2007).
A neoliberal university, therefore, is defined as a self-interested, entrepreneurial
organization offering recursive educational experiences and research services for
paying clients. In such institutions, academics become managed knowledge producers who should ideally follow prescribed sets of organizational processes. Their
research and pedagogic output must be justified as beneficial to the university
through quantitative measures. Students are recast into the role of knowledge consumers, and have a voice in determining the manner in which educational services
are packaged and delivered to them (Castree and Sparke 2000; Jarvis 2001; Silvey
2002; Steck 2003; McKenzie and Scheurich 2004; Yamamoto 2004; Washburn
2005; Woolgar 2007; Donoghue 2008; Tuchman 2009).
The degree to which a university becomes neoliberalized will depend upon the
status and type of institution, and the level to which it has been affected by the interconnected phenomena of Globalization, Massification, and McDonaldization.
These will be considered within the backdrop of how the neoliberal transformation
of Higher Education has privileged vocational training over the ideals of Western
Cultural Humanism.
In all its forms, the dynamics of neoliberalism continue to transform universities
around the world. This has had major implications for the nature and purpose of
tertiary EAP.


1.3

Key Concepts

1.3.2

7

English for Academic Purposes

Gillett’s (2004, p. 11) definition of English for Academic Purposes is typical in that
it is described as the ‘language and associated skills that students need to undertake
study in higher education through the medium of English.’ Similar definitions of
EAP can be found elsewhere (e.g. Hyland and Hamp-Lyons 2002, p. 2). However,
these concerns focus primarily upon HE as located within Kachru’s (1982) Inner
Circle – places such as the United States, UK, and Anglophone countries where
English is spoken as the first language of social life and instruction. As we move
further into the twenty-first century, global developments are blurring the boundaries between EAP of the Inner Circle and university classes abroad that have been
more traditionally associated with English for General Purposes (EGP) or
TESOL. Due in large part to the spread of English as the language of international
commerce and the desire of national leaders to cash in on this development by
insisting upon greater English language proficiency among their populations, countries of the outer and expanding circles have started to take greater ownership of
English, and within universities, of EAP. While most will continue to view the purpose of English as a means of enabling students to better access the academic
opportunities provided by the institution, English as a means of increasing enrollments or as part of the socialization process for entering a global community might
be equally pressing goals. These developments have resulted in the emergence of
‘EAPs’ similar to, but distinct from, the concerns of HEIs in inner circle countries.
As one example, among language curriculum planners and educators in Japan,
the understanding of what constitutes EAP has broadened in recent years. In a published interview, Michael Guest, Professor of English at the University of Miyazaki
and contributor to Japan’s Daily Yomiuri national newspaper on English educational
affairs, expressed opinions that are common among Japanese educators and which
are being increasingly espoused by native English teachers as well:
I do think that all tertiary English education should fall under the rubric of ESP/
EAP. University education is supposed to be primarily academic in form, which means
developing and using academic skills…It should be content-based, well beyond teaching
general English for English’s sake (Gunning 2009, p. 16).

English study in Japan has steadily shifted from being a subject situated within
the sociological domains of secondary and tertiary level classrooms (Kennedy 1986;
Hadley 1997) to one that emphasizes equipping students to access current knowledge from abroad, thereby becoming better informed learners when they take
discipline-specific courses in their native language (Ohta 2003; Butler-Goto and
Iino 2005; Hato 2005; Seargeant 2008). The hope is that the quality of higher education will increase, something which ultimately serves the political and economic
goals of Japan as it seeks to secure its place in an increasingly globalized society
(Kubota 1998; Matsuda 2003).
Within the inner circle, more are beginning to recognize the necessity for a
broader understanding of EAP throughout countries of the outer and expanding
circles (Lynch 2001; Seidlhofer and Jenkins 2003; Jenkins 2007). Dudley-Evans


8

1

Setting the Stage: Context, Concepts, and Theoretical Constructions

and St. John (1998, p. 34) foreshadowed this trend when they proposed a definition
of EAP as ‘any English teaching that relates to a study purpose.’ Hyland (2006, p. 2)
has also revised his earlier definition, and now frames EAP more inclusively as
‘specialized English-language teaching grounded in the social, cognitive and
linguistic demands of academic target situations.’ This view of EAP is certain to
raise eyebrows, but in a globalized and rapidly neoliberalizing world, HEIs within
the inner circle can no longer ‘corner the market’ when it comes to defining its
nature and use. This book defines EAP as tertiary level English instructional training
that enables learners to improve their language proficiency within Higher
Educational Institutions, irrespective of the country within which that instruction
takes place. The use of the word ‘training’ is intentional, as this reflects the changes
taking place within EAP at neoliberal universities, where the expectation is for
learners to be trained both in the language and in autonomous academic skills in
order to successfully participate in the policy mission of the institution.

1.3.3

Blended EAP Professionals

The neoliberalization of HE has also stimulated significant changes in the expected
roles of those in the university. Celia Whitchurch (2009a, b), a researcher at the
University of London, has studied the emergence of what she has identified as ‘Blended
Professionals’ – a new and highly disposable type of HEI worker who that is neither
fully academic nor fully administrative in nature. Typically hired on short-term, nonrenewable contracts, Blended Professionals teach classes and work on special projects
that fulfill the aspirations of university administrative management. They occupy organizational ‘Third Spaces’ within neoliberal universities, which are typically responsible for administrative services, student support, service learning, innovation, and
academic skills development (Whitchurch 2008). Over time, Blended Professionals
are tasked with a wide range of managerial responsibilities, but what makes them
unique from traditional middle managers is the vague nature of their roles, meaning
that they must oversee people and projects devoid of organizational authority.
Today, many EAP units in neoliberal universities have been transferred from
academic departments to these organizational third spaces, since they are seen as
more related to training learners in English language skills than they are about
scholarly research. Among the ranks of traditional EAP teachers, new ‘blended’
forms for university workers have started to appear. Drawing from Whitchurch, I
have called these new workers Blended EAP Professionals, or BLEAPs. While recognizing the wry undertones of the acronym, as will be seen later, the term accurately captures the essence of their role in their EAP units and on university
campuses. The often-ephemeral nature of their careers depends upon the manner in
which they respond to the implicit messages that remind them of their marginal
position in the organization. This will also entail balancing the plans of their
administrative managers with the concerns and resistance of international students,
TEAPs and tenured faculty.


1.4

Critical Grounded Theory

1.4

9

Critical Grounded Theory

The discussion so far was derived from interviews and field observations, which
were analyzed through the methodology of Grounded Theory (GT). GT began over
40 years ago out of the pioneering work of sociologists Barney Glaser and Anselm
Strauss. Their book, The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative
Research (1967/1999), challenged researchers to temporarily put aside the traditional practice of validating the abstracted mind experiments of venerated sociologists, and to develop new theoretical perspectives from direct interaction with
people in the field (Glaser and Strauss 1967/1999, pp. 1, 2 & 7). For Glaser and
Strauss, ‘grounded’ meant that findings were rooted in firsthand evidence – the
problems, actions, symbols and aspirations of the people being studied, and ‘theory’
referred to an explanatory model that ‘fits empirical situations. It should be
understandable to sociologists and laymen alike. Most important it works – it
provides us with relevant predictions, explanations, interpretations and applications’
(Glaser and Strauss 1967/1999, p. 1). As a method of inquiry, GT seeks to:
encourage researchers to use their intellectual imagination and creativity to develop theories relating to their areas of inquiry; to suggest methods for doing so; to offer criteria to
evaluate the worth of discovered theory; and to propose an alternative rhetoric, that of
generation, to balance out the rhetoric of justification featured in journal articles and monographs (Locke 2005, p. 33).

From its beginning, the Grounded Theory Methodology (GTM) had an immediate appeal among new researchers who, as Eisner (2001, p. 137) explains, had
become ‘attracted to the idea of getting close to practice, [and] to getting a first-hand
sense of what actually goes on in classrooms, schools, hospitals and communities.’
In contrast to other qualitative research methodologies at the time, GTM provided a
suite of recursive practices that can be externally evaluated by the academy for its
potential value (Denzin and Lincoln 2000a, p. 14). By the end of the 1990s, GT had
become ‘…the most widely employed interpretive strategy in the social sciences’
(Denzin and Lincoln 1998a, p. xviii), and an exhaustive bibliometric survey of
major books and articles at the time found that nearly two-thirds of the qualitative
research projects in the social sciences had employed either full or partial forms of
GTM (Titscher et al. 2000, pp. 74, 218–220).
According to Bryant and Charmaz (2007a), today there exists a ‘family’ of
distinct but related forms of GTM. One, called ‘Classic Grounded Theory’, is championed by Glaser (1992). Another version was proposed by Strauss (Strauss and
Corbin 1998), and since his death, the co-author of the original work, Juliet Corbin,
continues to adapt his original methodological style to modern concerns (Corbin
and Strauss 2008). A version predating Strauss and Corbin’s work, known as
Dimensional Analysis (Schatzman 1991), features a simplified methodology that
has inspired a postmodern version called Situational Analysis (Clarke 2005), and
the highly popular Constructivist Grounded Theory (Charmaz 2006).
As for new arrivals to the GT family, Charmaz (2005, 2011) has been at the
forefront of those calling for grounded theories that address issues such as social


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