Representations of the World in Language Textbooks Author: Karen Risager

Hardback - 264 pages
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08 Jan 2018
Languages for Intercultural Communication and Education
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156


This book presents a new and comprehensive framework for the analysis of representations of culture, society and the world in textbooks for foreign and second language learning. The framework is transferable to other kinds of learning materials and to other subjects. The framework distinguishes between five approaches: national studies, citizenship education studies, cultural studies, postcolonial studies and transnational studies. In a series of concrete analyses, the book illustrates how one can describe and uncover representations of the world in textbooks for English, German, French, Spanish, Danish and Esperanto. Each analysis is accompanied by suggestions of possible supplements and changes. The book points to the need for language learning materials to deal seriously with knowledge about the world, including its diversities and problems.


This intensely scholarly work provides an exhaustive study of textbooks used in Danish schools in six languages. It focuses on discourses of culture and potentials for intercultural learning. It will be core reading for researchers in textbook analysis and the problematised concepts of nation and its relationship with language and culture.

- Adrian Holliday, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK

This important research-based book is unique in that it addresses the issue of representation in materials for the teaching of a range of modern foreign languages – English, German, French, Spanish, Danish and Esperanto. Written by a well-established author, the book deftly combines theoretically informed analysis with practical suggestions for language teaching professionals and materials writers and producers.

- John Gray, UCL Institute of Education, UK

The cultural dimensions of language learning are important and complex. Teachers and researchers will therefore welcome this accessible introduction to culture for language learning. Risager breaks through the seemingly impenetrable divide between theory and practice by analyzing textbooks through multiple theoretical perspectives on culture.

- Carol A. Chapelle, Iowa State University, USA

Author Biography:

Karen Risager is Professor Emerita in Cultural Encounters at Roskilde University, Denmark. She is the author of Language and Culture Pedagogy: From a National to a Transnational Paradigm (Multilingual Matters, 2007).

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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