Agency as Discursive Practice: Taking Up a Position as an International Student
Kettle, Margaret A. (2004) Agency as Discursive Practice: Taking Up a Position as an International Student. In Vadeboncoeur, Jennifer & Jervis-Tracey, Paula (Eds.) Crossing boundaries: Perspectives across paradigms in educational research. Australian Academic Press, Brisbane, pp. 89-113.
The focus of this chapter is a Thai international student named Woody and the methods he uses to respond to the demands of his Master of Education program in Australia. Agency provides the interpretive lens in this discussion as an attempt to account for the strategic ways in which Woody engages with the discourses and practices in one of his university courses. I explore agency as it manifests in interviews conducted with Woody in his first semester of study. My analysis is guided by the model of critical discourse analysis (CDA) developed by Fairclough (2001b). CDA assumes a link between the linguistic and semiotic features of a text and the social context in which it exists. As such, the transcripts of my interviews with Woody can be viewed as repositories of the traces of textual, social, institutional and global practices that have impacted on his study experience. Through this analysis I hope to highlight how Woody, operating within this context, shapes his transition to an Australian academic subject through a program of agentive action.
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