|Title:||Constructing Play Frames and Social Identities: The case of a linguistically and culturally mixed peer group in an Athenian primary school||Add Dissertation|
|Author:||Vally Lytra||Update Dissertation|
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|Institution:||King's College London, Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies|
|Abstract:||This thesis explores how, through the use of playful talk in discourse, the members of a linguistically and culturally mixed peer group comprised of Greek-Turkish bilinguals and Greek-speaking monolinguals (Greek-majority language, Turkish- minority language) construct play frames and social identities, including a mixed peer group identity, in an Athenian primary school. The data consists of tape-recorded interactions among the peer group members, their teachers and the researcher across different contexts at school. The analytical framework draws on interactional sociolinguistics and conversation analysis and it is further enhanced by insights from ethnography as a process of inquiry and its conceptualisation of culture as a system of practices.
This thesis has identified six contexts at school where play frames are produced. Based on combinations of school-imposed features, these contexts are further classified into two categories: institutionally oriented contexts and non-institutionally oriented contexts. A key finding is that peer group members employ mixed resources as contextualisation cues to construct play frames in contact encounters, notably cues mostly from the majority (Greek) as well as a limited set of cues from the minority (Turkish) languages and cultures and from the English foreign language taught at school. The data analysis demonstrates that, as a rule, peer group members employ similar cues across contexts, with the exception of whole-group classroom interactions, in which they avoid using cues that require teachers sharing peer group background knowledge in order to understand and interpret them playfully. Although peer group members occasionally contest the production of play frames, overall, they sustain them across contexts. Consequently, in non-institutionally oriented contexts play frames are introduced in talk either as main frames or against a backdrop of task-related frames. In institutionally oriented contexts, however, play frames are seldom initiated as main frames, but emerge as parallel, embedded or forked frames.
The examination of playful talk and play frames provides a window into the processes of social identity construction at school. To this end, the data analysis reveals that peer group members engage in two macro-processes (conversion and diversion) and six micro-processes (sharing, appropriating, transforming, localising, contesting and mixing), which lead to the construction of a mixed peer group identity and its small culture. The research provides insights into the interplay between playful talk, play frames and social identity construction in contact encounters at school in response to the increasing linguistic and cultural diversity that characterises present day Greek society.