Discourses of development, as well as popular understandings, hold that access to education in English is essential for alleviating inequality. As such, since the neoliberal reforms of the 1990s, India has witnessed a boom in not only private English coaching, but also NGO educational institutions. However, drawing on ethnographic data from an English and soft-skills training NGO in Delhi, this chapter argues that the conceptualization of linguistic capital does not fully capture how students invest in English in the hope of achieving future success. Besides the speculative capital (Tabiola & Lorente, 2017) that the language represents, and the shaping of neoliberal subjectivities through soft-skill training (Urciuoli, 2008; Allan, 2013) and “personality development”, students equally invest in the cultural capital of English speakerhood, that is, the “doing” and “being” of an English speaker, a notion deeply intertwined with class and caste, and which extends to encompass students’ bodies and “personalities”.
|Title of host publication||The Commodification of Language|
|Subtitle of host publication||Conceptual Concerns and Empirical Manifestations|
|Editors||John E. Petrovic, Bedrettin Yazran|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Number of pages||17|
|Publication status||Published - 16 Apr 2021|