Representations of the World in Language Textbooks

Author: Karen Risager

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Hardback, Ebook(PDF), Ebook(EPUB)
Multilingual Matters
Number of pages:
234mm x 156mm

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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.

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

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

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

[Representations of the World in Language Textbooks] is an excellent book. Ambitious in scope and detail, it is a must read for anyone interested in the analysis of language teaching materials. Risager manages to inform us about the textbooks that she focuses on, but more importantly, she has managed to develop a multidisciplinary framework that is applicable to any language textbook in any context. And that is no small feat.

Pragmatics and Society 10:4

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).


Chapter 1. Representations of the World

Chapter 2. Culture in Textbook Analyses around the World

Chapter 3. National Studies

Chapter 4. Citizenship Education Studies

Chapter 5. Cultural Studies

Chapter 6. Postcolonial Studies

Chapter 7. Transnational Studies


Appendix 1: Textbooks Selected

Appendix 2: Survey Corpus

Appendix 3: List of Photos from Textbooks


Author Index

Subject Index

Postgraduate, Research / Professional
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