English as a medium of academic identity: attitudes to using English for research and teaching at Nantes University.

Reynolds, Alexandra (2016) English as a medium of academic identity: attitudes to using English for research and teaching at Nantes University. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Download (6MB)


This socio-linguistic study investigates attitudes of French speakers of English to using English for academic purposes. The study is situated within the post-Fioraso Law period (2013), which sees France joining the process described as the ‘internationalisation’ of Higher Education in Europe. This study confirms that rather than encouraging multiple languages in academia, the term ‘internationalisation’ implies ‘Englishisation’ in Europe by contributing to studies which show how English is instrumental to academic identity in Europe.

Through the use of complementary qualitative methods (questionnaires, interviews, visual methods and classroom observations), the narratives of 164 academics working at the science faculties of Nantes University were analysed for how they positioned their professional identities in relation to the use of English for professional purposes (such as writing research papers, presenting at conferences, and teaching in English as a medium of instruction, EMI).

The major divisions regarding the attitudes towards English as a medium of academic identity in France are to be found in the issues relating to the legitimacy and authority of French speakers of English within the wider international academic community. The principal arguments are based on beliefs concerning the ownership of the English language and whether it is possible for L2 speakers of English to ever identify themselves as being anything other than ‘learners of English’, despite repeated proof of their language expertise. The study concludes that within French Higher Education in 2016, English is a strategic medium through which to access research and teaching communities. Ownership of the English language as an identifying feature comes second to the emerging bilingual identities of the participants who are competing in the global market of Higher Education.

Key words: France, Higher Education, Identity, Language attitudes, EMI

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > English
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English > PE1001 Modern English
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2016 13:15
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:37
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/65970

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update