David Block

David Block

Universitat Pompeu Fabra


I am ICREA Research Professor in Sociolinguistics in the Departament d'Humanitats, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, where I am a member of the Grup de Recerca en Espais Interculturals, Llengües i Identitats (GREILI). I am also in the Grup de Recerca en Aprenentatge i Ensenyament de Llengües (GR@EL; Facultat de Traducció). I am Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences (UK); Visiting Professor at University College London, Institute of Education; and editor of the Routledge book series Language, Society and Political Economy. I joined ICREA in September 2012 after 16 years at University College London Institute of Education, where I was Professor of Languages in Education. Prior to that, I worked in Barcelona for 18 years, teaching English in centres such as ESADE, and teaching Applied Linguistics at the Universitat de Barcelona and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. I completed my PhD at the University Lancaster (UK) in 1995.  

Research interests

In recent years, I have focused primarily on the dominant form of capitalism in the early 21st century (AKA neoliberalism) and the inequality and class warfare it has wrought from a sociolinguistic perspective. My most recent work examines four different aspects of contemporary society: (1) ‘post-truth’ and related concepts and the critical analysis of discourses in the hyper-mediatised, toxic information environment in which we live; (2) the internationalization and Englishization of higher education worldwide as part of the broader neoliberalization of societies; (3) new ways of framing discussions of the construct ‘identity’ in the early 21stcentury (e.g. incorporating historical materialism and Marxist humanism); and (4) the roots and routes of intersectionality, via memoirs, biographies and other accounts of African American history and sociology and, in particular, Black feminism. 

Selected publications

- Block D 2022. Innovations and challenges in identity research, Routledge, London.

- Block D 2022, 'The dark side of EMI?: A telling case for questioning assumptions about EMI in HE', Educational Linguistics, vol 1, no. 1, pp 82-107.

- Block D 2022. 'Seeking methodological rigour in language and identity research: Applying a version of positioning theory to a research interview excerpt.', In W Ayres-Bennett & L Fisher , Eds., Multilingualism and Identity: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 181-200.

- Block D & Moncada-Comas B 2022, 'English-medium instruction in higher education and the ELT Gaze: STEM lecturers’ self-positioning as NOT English language teachers', International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, vol. 25, no. 2, pp 401-417.

- Block D 2022, 'To the limits of the political in foreign language teaching: A rejoinder to “Between professionalism and political engagement in foreign language teaching practice"', Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, vol. 16, no. 3, pp 384-393.

Selected research activities

Innovations and Challenges in Identity Research published by Routledge in 2022.

11 papers given at conferences and in university departments in Spain (7), United Kingdom (2), China (1) and Belgium (1)

Editor, Routledge book series Language, Society and Political Economy. Two titles appeared in 2022:  

  • Simpson, William (2022). Commodity, capital, and ELT: A political economy of commercial language teaching in Japan.
  • E, Marissa Kwan Lin (2023). Discourses of neoliberalism in Singapore’s higher education context: individualist and communitarian perspectives.

Reviewing academic journal articles, grant proposals and book proposals.

Ongoing work with Maria Zambrano post-doctoral scholar Pau Bori, examining neoliberal innovation in education.

Teaching 'Critical discourse analysis in the post-truth age' (BA) and 'Identity in the 21st century' (PhD)

Ongoing PhD supervision; one student completion in 2022.