|Title||Talking posh, acting posh? The construction of gendered identities and identifications in the talk of multilingual undergraduate students on an academic writing programme|
This thesis gives an account of a qualitative study exploring the negotiation of gendered identities with primarily British-born multilingual undergraduates, as newcomers to higher education. From a feminist poststructuralist perspective, I examine how the participants are both positioned/ take up positions as they negotiate the practices of their peer groups, higher education and their families, theorised as communities of practice. The analysis considers the interaction of dimensions of identity, primarily focusing on gender, ethnicity, life stage and language, with an eye to social class.
Set in the context of the British governmentâs drive to widen participation, the study is located at Millennium University, pseudonym for a Post-1992 institution in London. It takes place on an academic writing programme, established as part of Millenniumâs widening participation strategy to improve first-year undergraduate retention, with four classes, two of which were taught by me. The data consist of audio-recorded peer-group discussions, a series of interviews, classroom observations as teacher/researcher and a questionnaire. Treating the data as discourse, I analyse performances of gender in spoken interactions at a micro level, the way these performances orient the participants to developing an academic persona and expertise in practices they identified as talking and acting 'posh'. I also analyse the data at a macro level to consider how these performances are located in the power relations of the Institution, peer group and family.
This study contributes to knowledge on the performance of gender in higher education, the multiple discursive positioning of non-elite undergraduate participants, as both powerless and powerful, and the attempts to balance the demands of key communities of practice in the negotiation of identity. This forms the basis for reflection on practices designed to improve the prospects of non-elite multilingual undergraduate students from a perspective of identities and identifications as a departure from skills and academic socialisation.
|Keywords||gender, identity, widening participation, non-elite undergraduates, multilingual students, academic writing classroom, English language teaching,|