The 'Standard English' question has featured in linguistic, educational and cultural debates for decades. At critical points in British history the language became a symbol and focus, with particular varieties of the language acquiring ideological importance. In this careful and balanced account, Tony Crowley draws on theoretical insights from Bakhtin, Foucault and Volosinov in a study of representations of the English language from the eighteenth century onwards, on the development of different concepts of the 'Standard Language' and the value attached within the wider society to varieties of spoken and written English. Placing the 'Standard English' question within its historical perspectiv he explores the educational consequences of these debates, bringing the reader up to date in this second edition with an analysis of the effect on English language teaching of Conservative educational policies of the 1980s and 90s and the implications of the National Curriculum. Students and researchers of English language, cultural theory, and language education will find this treatment comprehensive, carefully researched and lively reading.The first edition of this book appeared outside North America with the title The Discourse of Politics.