Critical Literacy: Theories and Practices, Vol 9, No 2 (2015)

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Opening up the textbook: Exploring the impact of globalization on the construction of textbooks for the mother tongue subject in the Danish upper secondary school

Jesper Tinggaard Svendsen


According to Fairclough (1999), the complex global development leads to a growth in the "need for a critical awareness of language" (p.71). In this paper, however, I will claim that there has been a decline in the weighting of critical language awareness in the mother tongue subject (Danish) in the upper secondary school in Denmark. The response to globalization has instead been to close in on itself. I will substantiate this claim through an analysis of four recent textbooks for the teaching of language and media in the subject Danish in the upper secondary school in Denmark. A main premise of the paper is that the textbook should be understood to be at one and the same time a particularly powerful document to establish and maintain dominant discourses and a seismograph for the reading of such discourses. In the paper, I will develop a framework for analysing textbooks mainly based on Norman Fairclough's version of Critical Discourse Analysis.

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Critical Literacy: Theories and Practices is a non-commercial initiative committed to the ethical dissemination of academic research and educational thinking. CLTP acknowledges the thoughtful dedication of authors, editors and reviewers to develop and promote this open journal initiative. The journal receives copy-editing sponsorship from the Faculty of Education at the University of Oulu, Finland. CLTP has previously received  copy editing support from the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice at the University of Nottingham, UK.