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This is an attempt to define what being a responsible and responsive user of English might mean in a world ordered by global capital, a world where all forms of intra- and international exchanges in all areas of life are increasingly under pressure to involve English. Turning to recent work in linguistics and education, I pose a set of alternative assumptions that might help us develop more responsible and responsive approaches to the relation between English and its users (both those labeled Native-Speaking, White or Middle Class, and those Othered by these labels), the language needs and purposes of individual users of English, and the relation between the work we do and the work done by users of English across the world. I argue that these assumptions can help us compose English against the grain of all systems and relations of injustice.


Copyright 2004 by the National Council of Teachers of English. All rights reserved.

Original Publication Information

Lu, Min-Zhan. "An Essay on the Work of Composition: Composing English against the Order of Fast Capitalism." 2004. College Composition and Communication 56(1): 16-50.