ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dreaming in English

Challenges of Nationhood and Democracy

With the resurgence of nationalism in this age of aggressive globalisation, the call to dream in English is often a demand for conformity with what are declared to be national mainstreams. The demand for unilingualism and conformity is complicated by the idea of dreaming in English as articulated by colonised and subordinated groups in other contexts. What should give us pause, however, is any easy equation of the English language, or Western democracy, with fixed notions of science, rationality, progress and modernity. How might we think through these conundrums and challenges?

There is something paradoxical about the rising crescendo of nationalism in an age of aggressive globalisation, with its dramatically increased movement and transmission of goods, ideas and people across the globe. The upsurge of nationalism is accompanied not by talk of the new conditions of citizenship and democracy, but by an emphasis on preservation. Keep America great. Build high walls. Stop outside influences. Parallels abound: Fortress Europe, Fortress Israel, Fortress Malaysia. What this raises are fundamental questions about nationhood, democracy and the good society. How much do we know about dreams that people share, dreams realised and unrealised? Or, to put it in terms of my title, what does it mean to &ldquodream in English?&rdquo

Demand for Conformity

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