Desire, pride and profit: affective economies of English in India

Katy Highet*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Scholarship on neoliberalism has shown how employability discourses compel students to invest in English. What remains underexplored is the role of affect in these processes, and how it works to anchor these discourses deep within people’s subjectivities. Drawing on ethnographic data from an English-teaching NGO in Delhi, I explore the affective economy of English in India in order to demonstrate how and why English becomes desirable, for whom, and with what consequences. In doing so, I map the webs of complex logics and actors that not only discursively (re)produce English as a thing to be desired, but also draw boundaries around who can and should desire it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-54
Number of pages10
JournalLanguage and Communication
Early online date18 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 May 2024


  • English
  • affect
  • desire
  • neoliberalism
  • India
  • political economy


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