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ERIC Number: EJ905530
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 43
ISSN: ISSN-0039-8322
Agency in the Making: Adult Immigrants' Accounts of Language Learning and Work
Miller, Elizabeth R.
TESOL Quarterly: A Journal for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and of Standard English as a Second Dialect, v44 n3 p465-487 Sep 2010
This article considers language learner agency from a poststructuralist perspective, focusing on how agency is discursively constituted as individuals position themselves and are positioned as (potential) agents within ideologically defined spaces. As such, I regard agency as inherently unstable and as a discursively mobilized capacity to act. Drawing on a corpus of 18 interviews with adult immigrant small business owners in the United States, this study uses both quantitative and qualitative discourse analytic approaches in considering (a) recurrent linguistic constructs used across interviews to position interviewees as (in)agentive characters in the story worlds of their autobiographical accounts; (b) how these constructs are mobilized in the co-constructed positioning work of interviewer and interviewees; and (c) so-called common sense ideological discourses by which the interviewees are constituted as agents who rationally and responsibly make self-generated choices and act on them. This multilayered positioning work constrained interviewees to speaking from positions of "language learner" or "immigrant" or "small business owner", but at the same time such positioning mobilized recognizable subjectivities for them, enabling them to act in interpretable and meaningful ways. (Contains 2 tables, 1 figure, 3 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A