Aspiring to be Global: Language and Social Change in a Tourism Village in China
Author: Shuang Gao
This book makes a novel contribution to the sociolinguistics of globalization by examining the dynamics between language and social change in the tourism destination of West Street, Yangshuo, China. The author makes use of multiple sources, including ethnographic interviews, tourist literature, public signage and policy documents, to examine how tourist mobilities are embedded in and interact with historical, geographical, social, cultural, economic and semiotic factors in the creation of a 'global village'. The transformation of West Street is emblematic of changes in Chinese society under globalization, revealing new subjectivities, tensions and struggles inherent in this ongoing process of social change.
Tourism and language learning are well-established as distinctive areas of investigation in sociolinguistics. What makes this book important is its identification of language learning tourism as an industry. Shuang Gao's study of Yangshuo, China, provides important insights into the social dynamics between speakers, learners and business owners as they try to balance the goal of learning English with the desire to enjoy the region's natural attractions.
Lionel Wee, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Yangshuo sets itself apart from other tourism destinations in the region by a focus on English. In addition to the usual tourism hedonism, Yangshuo promises tourists a chance to interact with foreigners and to speak English. This fascinating ethnography provides an intriguing perspective on the role of language in Yangshuo's quest for modernity situated within the overall rise of China and its rapid socio-economic transformation.
Ingrid Piller, Macquarie University, Australia
This book uses clear and informative descriptions to capture and analyze the complex language and processes of social change of West Street. It is well worth reading for anyone interested in globalization, sociolinguistics, semiology and Chinese history development, in addition to tourism.
Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 2020
Shuang Gao works in the Department of English at the University of Liverpool, UK. Her research interests include sociolinguistics, globalization, identity and language ideology.
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Approaching the 'Global Village'
Chapter 3. Commodification of Place, Consumption of Identity: Making 'Global Village' a Brand
Chapter 4. Tensions of Space: Living on the Margins of the 'Global Village'
Chapter 5. Global Village as 'English Corner': 'Enjoy Speaking English All the Time'
Chapter 6. Globalization: A Short Reflection