David Block

David Block

Universitat Pompeu Fabra


I am ICREA Research Professor in Sociolinguistics in the Departament d'Humanitats at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. There I am a member of the Grup de Recerca en Espais Interculturals, Llengües i Identitats (GREILI). I am also 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 the University College London Institute of Education, where I was Professor of Languages in Education. Prior to that, I worked in Barcelona for 18 years as an English teacher in centres such as ESADE, and as a Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the Universitat de Barcelona and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. I completed my PhD in Applied Linguistics at the University Lancaster (UK) in 1995.  

Research interests

Over the past ten 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. 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-informational 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. I am co-editor, with Deborah Cameron, of Globalization and Language Teaching (Routledge, 2002) and with Sarah Khan, of The Secret Life of English-medium Instruction (Routledge, 2021). I am co-author, with John Gray and Marnie Holborow, of Neoliberalism and Applied Linguistics (Routledge, 2012). I am sole author of The Social Turn in Second Language Acquisition (Edinburgh University Press, 2003); Multilingual Identities in a Global City: London Stories (Palgrave, 2006); Second Language Identities (Continuum, 2007; re-issued in 2014 as a ‘Bloomsbury Classic in Linguistics’); Social Class and Applied Linguistics (Routledge, 2014), Political Economy and Sociolinguistics: Neoliberalism, Inequality and Social class (Bloomsbury, 2018; shortlisted for the 2019 BAAL Book Prize) and Post-Truth and Political Discourse (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). I am currently writing a book entitled Innovations and Challenges in Identity Research (Routledge, 2021). 

Selected publications

- Block D 2020 'NOT English teachers, except when they are: The curious case of oral presentation evaluation rubrics in an EMI-in-HE context'In J Mackay & M. Birello (eds) ELT Research in Action: Bringing Together Two Communities of Practic,. Faversham, UK: IATEFL, pp 21-25.

- Block D 2020, 'Response to Anna Kristina Hultgren’s Global English: From ‘Tyrannosaurus Rex’ to ‘Red Herring', Nordic Journal of English Studies, vol 19, no. 2, pp 47-58. 

- Corona V & Block D 2020, 'Raciolinguistic micro-aggressions in the school stories of immigrant adolescents in Barcelona: a challenge to the notion of Spanish exceptionalism?', International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, vol. 23, no. 7, pp 778-788

- Block D 2020, '“How is it Going with Being?” Some thoughts on Santiago Zabala’s Being at Large: Freedom in the Age of Alternative Facts'Public Seminar, week of May 15 2020.   

Selected research activities

* Completed MINECO Project FFI2016-76383-P: Towards an empirical assessment of the impact of English-medium instruction at university: language learning, disciplinary knowledge and academic identities’(ASSEMID), 2016-2019 (extension to June 2020). 

* Completed co-edition (with Sarah Khan) of The Secret Life of English Medium Instruction inhigher Education: Examining Microphenomena in Context for Routledge.

* 5 conference papers given (virtually) in 2020 in Colombia, Russia, Spain and United States

* Editor, Routledge book series Language, Society and Political Economy. Two books completed in 2020. 

* Associate Editor, Applied Linguistics Review

* Ongoing PhD supervision: 5 students (one completion in 2020)

* Reviewing articles and book chapters; reviewing grant proposals