While conceived to examine key factors affecting post-retirement career advancement of retired elite athletes in South Korea, the purpose of this paper is to report how English, as a de facto global lingua franca, functions as a powerful gatekeeper in the sports administration field.
Interpreted through the lens of Bourdieu’s linguistic capital and Gramsci’s hegemony of language, the present study draws on content analysis of semi-structured individual interviews, as well as focus group interviews, conducted with thirty former South Korean elite athletes.
Based on the data analysis, systematic bias toward athletes was uncovered, privileging English as the single determining factor for employment. Furthermore, the educational implications for adult learners of English as a Foreign or English an Additional Language reveal unrealistic expectations of top–down language policies.
Perspectives of athlete participants, an underrepresented group in educational research, within the South Korean globalization context shed critical light on the pervasive aspects of English hegemony and its unexamined dimensions.
Brown, C.L., Ward, N. and Nam, B.H. (2019), "“Only English Counts”: the impact of English hegemony on South-Korean athletes", International Journal of Comparative Education and Development, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 222-235. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCED-01-2019-0007
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