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ERIC Number: EJ1046101
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0143-4632
Doing Culture, Doing Race: Everyday Discourses of "Culture" and "Cultural Difference" in the English as a Second Language Classroom
Lee, Ena
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, v36 n1 p80-93 2015
While current conceptualisations of the inextricable connection between language and culture in English language education are largely informed by complex sociocultural theories that view culture as constructed in and through social practices among people, classroom practices continue to be influenced by mainstream discourses of culture that simplistically construct essentialised cultural/racialised identities. This article will present data excerpts from a case study of a Canadian university-based English as a second language (ESL) programme that specifically emphasised in its pedagogical and curricular design the significance of learning language through culture and a process of cultural analysis. In various classrooms observed, however, the programme's dialogic approach to culture most often manifested as cross/intercultural comparisons of cultural difference. The potential danger of this pedagogical approach to culture in the ESL classroom, however, arises with a contextualisation of the English language in broader identity politics--namely, the equating of the English language with Whiteness--where discourses of "culture" can become a proxy for "race". Seemingly innocuous everyday common-sense discussions of "culture" in second language education may thus construct identities in problematic ways. It is therefore imperative for us to critically reflect on how our pedagogies may be "doing race" through "doing culture" in the ESL classroom.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; 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: Canada