Epistemic outcomes of English medium instruction in a South Korean higher education institution

Dylan Williams, Juup Stelma

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review


This paper explores the epistemic outcomes of English Medium Instruction (EMI) in a South Korean Higher Education (HE) context. In order to understand the epistemic outcomes, the exploration draws on existing conceptualisations of linguistic and symbolic capital, and the literature on epistemic justice. The paper makes use of qualitative interview data generated with ten Business and Engineering undergraduate students. The analysis reveals that students’ use and trust the Korean and English languages differently across EMI situations. This observation is used to identify two undesirable epistemic outcomes, including: (a) how students are prevented from negotiating understanding of HE subject content using their L1, and (b) the wider epistemic implications of English as the language that provides access to HE subject content. Finally, with reference to Fricker’s theory of ‘epistemic injustice’, we reflect on the new theoretical understanding we have developed of epistemic outcomes in this South Korean multilingual HE context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-469
Number of pages16
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • South Korea
  • epistemic injustice
  • English-medium instruction
  • linguistic capital


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