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ERIC Number: EJ1050183
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Dec
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1175-8708
Negotiating Afrikaner Subjectivity from the Post-Apartheid Margins: One Student's Subject Positions in the Discursively Constructed Classroom Space at an Elite English High School
Ferreira, Ana
English Teaching: Practice and Critique, v13 n3 p173-190 Dec 2014
The contemporary South African subject English classroom is a complex space requiring ongoing attention to issues of cultural and linguistic diversity, and frequently manifesting the need to work across historically constructed differences in race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. This article reports on one aspect of a broader research project, which explores the relationship between identity/subjectivity and pedagogy in a high school subject English classroom during a time of ongoing social change in South Africa. Specifically, it places under scrutiny the multiple subject positions that a selected student, Sonia, takes up in relation to a unit of work that invites students to historicise their identities. This is empirical classroom-based research which, for the purposes of this article, has its focus narrowed to extracts of lesson transcripts where Sonia participates in whole-class discussion, a multimodal artefact she produces collaboratively, and excerpts from a student focus group. Sonia is one of five girls who self-identify as Afrikaans in a Grade 11 subject English classroom at an elite girls' school, where the normative position is that of an English, white, South African student of Anglo-Saxon descent. Using poststructuralist theories of discourse and subjectivity, I analyse a number of pedagogic moments when Sonia's classroom interactions enable her multiple and sometimes contradictory subject positions to become visible. The argument made is two-fold. Firstly, I argue that Sonia's ethnic affiliation with the Afrikaans-speaking community in South Africa produces shifting and contradictory positionings influenced by the repositioning of Afrikaner identity in the social and political landscape post-1994. Secondly, I argue that the discursive manoeuvres made by Sonia could offer insights into the ways in which marginal(ised) subjectivities operate in the discursively constructed classroom space. The implications for discussion-based subject English classrooms are then touched upon.
Wilf Malcolm Institute for Educational Research, University of Waikato. PB 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand. Tel: +64-7-858-5171; Fax: +64-7-838-4712; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A