European Journal of Language Policy

Policy development for English-medium instruction in French universities

European Journal of Language Policy (2018), 10, (1), 13–37.

Abstract

In July 2013, Article 2 of the Fioraso Law was passed legalising English-medium instruction (EMI) in French universities. This controversial measure immediately sparked passionate debates in the National Assembly and the media. While on the surface this announcement signifies a historical shift in French language policy, a closer analysis of the policy formation signals a more complex picture. In an attempt to understand policy not as a politico-linguistic object but as a process and site of struggle, this paper focuses on how the parliamentary debates have been recontextualised in the drafting process of the law. The aim is to highlight the sensitive issues and major topics surrounding the EMI debate and trace the textual transformations of the law. This study focuses on four different versions of the Fioraso Law and the parliamentary debates. Drawing on the Discourse-Historical Approach (DHA), the author examines the extent to which the parliamentary debates influenced and shaped the language policy text. An analysis of the multiple revisions of the policy reveals marked differences between the initial draft of 2012 and the final version in 2013. The amendments show that certain key issues from the parliamentary discussions have been taken into account, notably concerns about the perceived threat of EMI on Francophonie. However, the textual transformations indicate greater resistance towards EMI than was actually the case in the parliamentary debates.

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Blattès, Marianne