Talking posh, acting posh? The construction of gendered identities and identifications in the talk of multilingual undergraduate students on an academic writing programme

Preece, S. 2006. Talking posh, acting posh? The construction of gendered identities and identifications in the talk of multilingual undergraduate students on an academic writing programme. PhD thesis University of London Institute of Education, School of Communication, Language and Culture

TitleTalking posh, acting posh? The construction of gendered identities and identifications in the talk of multilingual undergraduate students on an academic writing programme
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsPreece, S.
Abstract

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 government’s 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 Millennium’s 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.

Keywordsgender, identity, widening participation, non-elite undergraduates, multilingual students, academic writing classroom, English language teaching,
YearOct 2006
Publication dates
PublishedOct 2006

Related outputs

Posh talk: language and identity in higher education
Preece, S. 2009. Posh talk: language and identity in higher education. Basingstoke Palgrave Macmillan.

Multilingual gendered identities: female undergraduate students in London talk about heritage languages
Preece, S. 2008. Multilingual gendered identities: female undergraduate students in London talk about heritage languages. Journal of Language, Identity and Education. 7 (1), pp. 41-60.

Masculine identities on an academic writing programme
Preece, S. 2006. Masculine identities on an academic writing programme. in: Omoniyi, T. and White, G. (ed.) The sociolinguistics of identity London Continuum. pp. 173-187

British Asian undergraduate students in London
Preece, S. 2005. British Asian undergraduate students in London. in: Block, D. (ed.) Multilingual identities in a global city: London stories Basingstoke Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 246-288

Academic literacy practices and widening participation: first year undergraduates on an academic writing programme
Preece, S. and Godfrey, J. 2004. Academic literacy practices and widening participation: first year undergraduates on an academic writing programme. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning. 6 (1), pp. 6-14.

Language and identity issues with home students on EAP writing programmes
Preece, S. 2004. Language and identity issues with home students on EAP writing programmes. in: Sheldon, L. (ed.) Directions for the future: issues in English for academic purposes Oxford Peter Lang. pp. 169-173

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