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ERIC Number: ED515737
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 323
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-4467-8
Policy as Practice: Local Appropriation of Language and Education Policies in Lesotho Primary Schools
Backman, Stephen
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Michigan State University
This dissertation study sets out to take a close look at the complex mix of factors on the ground, which influence the appropriation of language and education policies by local education stakeholders at Lesotho primary schools. I argue that much of the research in language policy and planning (LPP) has focused too largely on the macro-level dynamics of language policy, especially as they relate to education, while overlooking, sometimes disregarding, the local dynamics which play a crucial role in the actual implementation and appropriation of language and education policies in schools and communities. In order to investigate the various dynamics contributing to the appropriation of language and education policy by local stakeholders, I take a "policy as practice" approach to the research. In contrast to the traditional approach to LPP research, a policy as practice approach begins with the actual practices and lived realities of key stakeholders as the unit of analysis and investigates how policies influence those practices. Thus, rather than analyzing the policy itself, a policy as practice approach analyzes language and education policies as one of many different factors which influence the attitudes and practices of local stakeholders. The intent of such an approach is to place policies in proper perspective within the multitude of factors influencing how and why local stakeholders behave and respond to their circumstances. Indeed, policy is an important factor contributing to what happens at schools, but it is only one of many. In this study I utilize three main conceptual frameworks to analyze the findings of a year-long ethnographic field research conducted at five selected government and private primary schools in Lesotho. Utilizing Bordieu's concepts of cultural, social, economic, and symbolic capital, I analyze the multifarious mix of capital that students and their families possess, which either act as constraints on their educational opportunities or provide certain opportunities not available to those who possess less valued sources of capital. A second conceptual framework borrows from the linguistic anthropology concept of language ideologies and investigates the various competing and conflicting ideologies which play out simultaneously at schools and in the lives of teachers, students and their families. These differ greatly, especially when comparing government schools to private schools. The final conceptual framework investigates the structure-agency dynamics by exploring the role which agency plays in the linguistic and educational decisions local stakeholders make. Although there are many structural limits placed upon schools and individuals, they are still able to utilize their agency to influence their practices within certain constraints. By taking a policy as practice approach and focusing on the lived realities of local schools and their stakeholders, this study attempts to provide a deeper understanding of the role policies take in influencing their language and educational practices. In so doing, it is hoped that language and education policy studies will gain a greater appreciation of the local dynamics which influence the appropriation of policies on the ground. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Lesotho