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LINGUIST List 22.5033

Tue Dec 13 2011

Diss: Discourse Analysis/Socioling: Wilson: 'Leadership as Social ...'

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        1.     Nick Wilson , Leadership as Social Practice: The discursive construction of leadership and team identity in a New Zealand rugby team


Message 1: Leadership as Social Practice: The discursive construction of leadership and team identity in a New Zealand rugby team
Date: 13-Dec-2011
From: Nick Wilson <nick.wilsonvuw.ac.nz>
Subject: Leadership as Social Practice: The discursive construction of leadership and team identity in a New Zealand rugby team
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Institution: Victoria University of Wellington
Program: School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2011

Author: Nick Wilson

Dissertation Title: Leadership as Social Practice: The discursive construction of leadership and team identity in a New Zealand rugby team

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
                            Sociolinguistics

Dissertation Director:
Meredith Marra
Janet Holmes

Dissertation Abstract:

In sports teams, the way in which leaders such as coaches and captains
communicate with players is vital to the success of the team. However,
despite extensive psychological and sociological research on sport, it has
rarely been a site of linguistic research. Like many sports, rugby has many
traditions and ideologies that influence the way in which teams form
identities. This thesis explores the way in which leadership is enacted and
group identity forged through communicative practice in a New Zealand rugby
team. Using authentic interactions collected through an ethnographic
methodology, an analysis is presented of how discourse strategies are
negotiated within the team, thus establishing practices that signify
membership of communities of practice (CofPs) and create identities for
individuals as leaders. Leadership discourse is itself viewed as a
sociolinguistic practice and defines one of the CofPs within the team.
Using the concepts of front and backstage (Goffman 1959; Richards 2006) to
describe different conceptual spaces in which interactions occur, this
thesis suggests that discourse in the rugby team is a spatialised practice;
the performance of a particular style of leadership constructs the space in
which it takes place as public or private, with each contributing to an
effective leadership performance. The construction of leadership identity
is analysed in terms of stance and indexicality, linking locally
constructed identities and discourse strategies to macro identity
categories and socio-cultural ideologies. One of the ways in which this is
examined is through the role of ritual and formulaic language in the team,
showing that while communicative practice is negotiated in the backstage,
in the frontstage its performance serves to construct team identity while
aiming to motivate the players. Furthermore, the structural nature of the
game of rugby (i.e. players' positional requirements) is examined in
relation to the different communicative strategies adopted by positionally
segregated groups. It is suggested that these groups, although
institutionally defined, create meaning for themselves as CofPs by
negotiating a shared way of communicating in enacting their role in the team.
In sum, this research uses CofP theory to examine how leaders emerge
through their linguistic practices. Furthermore, it locates leadership as
a spatialised practice and examines how leaders influence the discursive
construction of group identity. Finally, the analysis also makes a
valuable contribution to the field of sociolinguistic research on sport, a
small yet growing area.




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