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  • Author: Ömer Gökhan Ulum x
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Ideological and Hegemonic Practices in Global and Local EFL Textbooks Written for Turks and Persians

Abstract

Introduction: Studies on the relationship between ideology, hegemony and textbooks in applied linguistics have been incremental in recent decades because emergence of critical theory, critical pedagogy, and critical thinking skills from the 1920s on has led scholars to develop a critical perspective towards EFL (English as a Foreign Language) textbooks taking the elements of ideology and hegemony into consideration. These two terms encompass an innumerable number of elements or compounds ranging from nationalism to religion. The importance of meta-narratives originating from the tenets of modernism or modernization has been downgraded from 1960s on because it has been postulated that the world has entered a new age called postmodernism and post-structuralism that have emphasized the role of individuals and criticized the efforts to reinforce post-colonialism, the effects of which can be seen in EFL textbooks. Therefore, it remains crucial to analyze EFL textbooks taking the main elements of ideology and hegemony into account. The aim of this study is to investigate the ideological and hegemonic practices included in globally and locally written EFL textbooks.

Methods: Using a mixed method research design, ideological and hegemonic representations included in EFL textbooks were examined qualitatively through descriptive content analysis technique employed to make valid assumptions by interpreting and coding content of textual materials. For the qualitative data, based on a descriptive research design, textbook analyses, documentary analysis, were conducted. As for the inductive content analysis, both globally and locally EFL textbooks were examined. The themes were extracted with the help of the experts since this study entailed inductive content analysis. Each theme was analyzed and perused by the experts. After a rigorous analysis, each theme was compared, and in the last stage common themes were formed.

Results: The findings of the present study show that ideology and hegemony of inner and expanding circle cultures are dominant in EFL textbooks. While the expanding circle culture is dominant in the locally written EFL textbooks, the inner circle culture is extensively included in the globally written ones. However, outer circle countries are excluded and marginalized. Besides, while specific ideologies such as economy and history were highly included in both globally and locally written textbooks, some of them such as law and gender were weakly detected.

Discussion: This present study showed that locally written textbooks dwell more on expanding circles, whereas globally written textbooks except for national geographic textbooks, to a large extent, mention only inner circle. Correspondingly, Abdullah (2009) scrutinized the textbooks in Malaysia and concluded that their textbooks covered local cultures from expanding circles. A similar finding was detected in various textbooks in Chile also including the local culture instead of the target one (McKay, 2003). In our study, the most dominant ideological component was culture (75.87% in global textbooks and 77.80% in local textbooks) whose components contain social norms, traditions, beliefs, social values (Williamson, 2000). Surprisingly, in both locally and globally written textbooks, the ideology of culture was prevalent (75.87% in global textbooks and 77.80% in local textbooks). This component was both implicitly and explicitly presented in the textbooks analyzed in this study.

Limitations: Taking the extent of the study into consideration, specific limitations already subsist in hand. Initially, choosing textbooks for the analysis of the existing ideological and hegemonic practices in the materials is a difficult task; hence, a particular and convenience selection criterion was selected. Additionally, as the scope of the study is constructed on English as a foreign or second language - a lingua franca, the selection was built on textbooks written globally and locally.

Conclusion: In locally written textbooks, multiculturalism and law-related issues were barely mentioned, while few religion, politics and gender-related issues were directly mentioned. Some topics, although they were very pivotal across the globe, were never mentioned. The topics of poverty, slavery, and racism were by no means focused on in the textbooks. Thus, it can be said that some topics are underrepresented or never represented owing to the fact that these topics might be too risky. As for the ideology of language, this element was emphasized in both global and local textbooks. The element of education was moderately stressed. Another important element is sport that is prevalent in both global and local EFL textbooks.

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