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LINGUIST List 16.2223

Wed Jul 20 2005

Diss: Lang Acquisition: Ellwood: 'Discourse and ...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <takolinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Constance Ellwood, Discourse and Desire in a Second Language Classroom

Message 1: Discourse and Desire in a Second Language Classroom
Date: 20-Jul-2005
From: Constance Ellwood <cellwooduws.edu.au>
Subject: Discourse and Desire in a Second Language Classroom

Institution: University of Technology, Sydney
Program: Doctor of Philosophy
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004

Author: Constance Mary Ellwood

Dissertation Title: Discourse and Desire in a Second Language Classroom

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
                            Language Acquisition

Subject Language(s): Japanese (JPN)

Dissertation Director:
Alastair Pennycook

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis draws on the theories of Foucault, and Deleuze and Guattari to
describe some ways in which teacher and student identities are produced and
performed in a second language classroom. Three major aspects of identity
are considered: cultural identity, teacher professional role identity, and
the changing identity of the language learner.

The thesis uses poststructuralist perspectives to critique notions of
identity current in second language theory and practice. It extends the
conception of identity as 'subjectivity' proposed by Bonny Norton Peirce -
that is, as multiple, impermanent, fragmented - to include the notion of
subjectivity produced in interaction and desire. Through an examination of
texts produced in an ethnographic study, the thesis addresses issues of
cultural categorisation and stereotyping in second language teaching and
learning. It discusses the discursive production of subjectivity in
discourses of cultural identity and the extent to which culture is a
determining factor in subjectivity in the classroom site of the research.
It shows how a homogenising effect of discourse leads to the positioning,
both self-imposed and other-imposed, of individuals as members of
particular cultural groups with particular characteristics. The thesis also
discusses the discursive production of subjectivity through discourses of
good teacher and good student, and demonstrates the extent to which these
discourses are processes of molarisation. The thesis is thus concerned here
with an examination of relatively static, fixed identifications and to
demonstrate the power of discourse to determine subjectivities. It is also
concerned to look at an excess to discourse, a flow which is beyond
signification and identification: desire. Identity change at the discursive
level is discussed through discourses of becoming, and is differentiated
from movements away from subjectification. These movements of desire are
proposed as a new way of conceiving agency.

The thesis attempts to show some ways in which these subjectivities,
produced in discourse and desire, play out in the classroom, in terms of
their production and reception by participants, and the impacts on the
teaching/learning context.

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