Exploring family language policymaking of internal migrant families in contemporary China: Negotiating habitus, capital and the social field

Chang WEI, Ming Yue Michelle GU, Lianjiang JIANG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Drawing on semi-structured interviews with six Chinese migrant families with children aged 12–15 years old, this qualitative study uses a Bourdieusian lens to probe how the historically lived and migration experiences of Chinese internal migrant parents construct their paradoxical beliefs in children’s English learning and informs their family language practice. The discursive process of constructing family language policy (FLP) reveals how migrant parents negotiate between changing habitus and the newly acquired capital during migration to Shanghai. Findings indicate that the migrant parents acknowledge the value of English in the linguistic market and hold high expectations and aspirations of their children’s English education. However, their historically constructed language ideologies constrain their engagement in children’s English learning and hinder their FLP decision-making. The urban field’s prevailing social and educational norms of promoting children’s learning English as a foreign language to enhance cross-cultural communication and attain academic success has its transformative power, which enables migrant parents to adjust their understanding of English learning and encourages them to facilitate the same for their children at home. The present study proposes a theoretical model to conceptualise the FLP construction in internal migrant families. Implications of the findings for different stakeholders have been discussed. Copyright © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-318
JournalCurrent Issues in Language Planning
Volume23
Issue number3
Early online date07 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Citation

Wei, C., Gu, M. M., & Jiang, L. (2022). Exploring family language policymaking of internal migrant families in contemporary China: Negotiating habitus, capital and the social field. Current Issues in Language Planning, 23(3), 296-318. doi: 10.1080/14664208.2021.2013062

Keywords

  • Family language policy
  • Internal migrant parents
  • English education
  • Language learning
  • PG student publication

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