The question, "are languages equal?" might be a common one among students who are interested in languages. The answer is generally affirmative in linguistics, and the affirmative answer seems to be based on two grounds - theoretical and humanistic. However, the question, "are languages equal in a specific socio-cultural context?" cannot be answered on the basis of theoretical orientations and humanistic sympathy because linguistic behaviors are social practices and, therefore, are not free from the socio-cultural contexts. This paper aims to review the emergence and works of politico- economic approaches to language use, and proposes the politico-economic approaches as a bridge to connect the studies on languages at various instances in humanities and the social sciences. The exclusion of socio-cultural factors in linguistics was credited by de Saussure and Chomsky, who emphasize the study of language in and for itself. Franz Boas also influenced the trend by mentioning that there is no intrinsic relationship between race, language, and culture. In the 1980s, however, anthropologists and sociolinguists began to study language use from the perspective of political economy coming from the opposite position of Saussurean and Chomskyan students. The rise of politico-economic perspectives in the study of language use is influenced by the accumulation of three precedent studies: the ethnography of communication, the agent-oriented Marxist perspectives, and the macro and micro link in social sciences. The empirical studies with a politico-economic perspective can be categorized into three groups on the basis of the relationship between language and politico-economic factors: index, instrument, and commodity. The politico-economic approaches can be a useful tool in analyzing language use because linguistic behaviors are linguistic practices which are performed unequally in socio-cultural contexts.