Negotiating Identities Through Langauge,Learning, and Conversation
AuthorBerlinger, Randi S
Committee ChairGilmore, Perry
MetadataShow full item record
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.
AbstractThis ethnographic study explored everyday lived experiences of a group of Latina women in school and in the community in an Adult Basic Education (ABE) setting. I examined the functions of discourse in ABE in literacy events (Heath, 1983). In this way, I gained insights into literacy practices through ethnography of communication (Heath, 1983; Hymes, 1972, 1977; Philips, 1993; Saville-Troike, 2003). Narratives provided insights about what was communicated in everyday interactions.In a "teaching to the test" ideological environment, the Latina participants in this study shared knowledge and experiences and created a unique sociocultural (Vygotsky, 1978) context for learning. Over time, a community of practice (Wenger, 1998) developed through mutual engagement, joint effort, and shared repertoire which included in and out of school literacies. Salient was the collaborative effort among a local community center, community college, and school district which strived to meet the needs of Latina/o students and their families. These multiple communities of practice provided a support network integral to sustaining a community of learners.The backdrop of this study, an American-Mexican Southwest border region, was the cultural context in which American education and Latinas' Sonora Mexican world views met. This hybrid space or borderlands Anzaldua (1987) described as a place where two cultures merged to form a third culture. In practice, this hybrid space was explored in discursive practices which provided an alternative space, a third space (Moje, Cicechanowski, Kramer, Ellis, Carrillo, & Collazo, 2004) in which identities were negotiated. Participants negotiated to find balance, a synergy between change and maintenance, which was ongoing as they struggled to maintain a traditional world view while accommodating new ideas.Integral to ongoing identity construction were the relationships with language, learning, and conversation. A story emerged from daily acts and events that reflected negotiated individual and social identities in the practice of literacy, teaching, and learning. This study demonstrates the insights ethnographic investigations can bring to understanding the functions of discourse in the construction of identity and socialization into learning.
Degree ProgramLanguage, Reading & Culture