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ERIC Number: EJ1107063
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 31
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0007-8034
Digital Liminality and Cross-Cultural Re-Integration in the Middle East
Stephens, Gregory
CEA Forum, v45 n1 p20-50 Win-Spr 2016
This essay develops a theory of "digital liminality" as a way to analyze the role of technology in the classroom and in students' lives. It is also a report on the English as a Second Language (ESL) classroom as a site of intercultural exchange between instructors and Muslim students. The role of digital media in higher education was a question the author had to confront at a Middle Eastern University, where students exhibited a strong cell phone addiction. He theorized Saudi students' immersion in their cell phones as a liminal phase during a university rite of passage. Digital technology exposed them to things that would be inadmissible when they were later reintegrated into a deeply conservative society. His students wrote about living between Western freedoms and a world of submission, where most of them would work and raise families. In his Freshman English courses, a temporary cell-free zone was established, enabling students to defamiliarize their use of digital technologies. Students investigated their own role as threshold people on the verge of a new way of life, critically examining their own digitally mediated liminality. Students then did presentations about the challenges of re-incorporation in a Saudi context. Combining ethnographic fieldwork and ESL theory and practice, the author integrates excerpts from student journals, providing a personal perspective on his analysis of digital liminality and ESL classrooms as intercultural crossroads. Contains notes, works cited, and further readings.
College English Association. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Saudi Arabia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A