Thirdspaces, Tactics and Bricolage: A Postmodern Identity Construction in the Composition Classroom
AdvisorMountford, Roxanne D
Committee ChairMountford, Roxanne D
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn this dissertation, Claire Lauer proposes a spatial-metaphorical model for exploring and communicating the self in composition. She uses the concepts of Edward Soja's Thirdspace, Michel de Certeau's tactics, and Turkle and Papert's bricolage as lenses through which to analyze and understand the spatial-metaphorical self-constructions that students in her classes built in the virtual reality of the MOO. These lenses reveal a new kind of agency, one that finds power in complexity and refuses reduction. Through their sites, students show themselves to be comfortable with the unfamiliar and the ambiguous, but also able to adapt, change shape, and see the I as an all--as an infinite sum and ever-changing total. Lauer argues that offering students the opportunity to construct themselves spatially and metaphorically disrupts their assumptions about identity and provides them with new ways of expressing their postmodern subjectivities--of speaking to and about their ever-shifting proximities to the people and events in their lives.Lauer argues that recognizing the complexity of identity facilitates a recognition of the complexity of culture and communication, and shows how identity construction assignments can thus serve as models for larger knowledge exploration and construction. She concludes by arguing that the analysis and production of new media in the composition classroom is essential to the continued goal of composition instructors fostering critical engagement in the classroom. As an extension of identity investigation, such engagement should be a cornerstone of first-year composition and does not have to be at odds with the more practical work of preparing students for their academic careers. In fact, it facilitates the more practical work instructors do in composition because it allows students to see the constructed nature of all discourses and become aware of how we both compose and are composed by the texts we encounter.
Degree ProgramRhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English