English education for young children in South Korea: not just a collective neurosis of English fever!

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 4
  • Abstract:

    The aim of this article is to rethink English education for young children in South Korea through exploring a great variety of complex, interrelated terrains in terms of its emergence and popularity in an era of globalisation. I critically examine the relevance of discursive and non-discursive conditions derived from social, political, economic, and cultural forces, for the current emphasis of early childhood education, with special reference to English education for young children in South Korea. This is expected to provide international readers with an understanding of the significance of reconceptualising early childhood English education in countries where English is not the native language, considering its complicated (re) constructions through power relations embedded in its constitutive discourses. Drawing on Foucault’s notions of governmentality and Bhabha’s term hybridity, this article explores a set of discourses, such as instrumentalism, developmentalism, and cosmopolitanism, pertinent to the reproduction of the social conditions and, simultaneously, to the constitution of subjects around English education. By politicising early childhood English education in South Korea, I argue that it has not emerged out of a “collective neurosis of English fever” (Kim, 2002), but is a discursively constructed product in a particular timespace.