Languaging and Social Positioning in Multilingual School Practices : Studies of Sweden Finnish Middle School Years
Abstract: The overall aim of the thesis is to examine young people’s languaging, including literacy practices, and its relation to meaning-making and social positioning. Framed by sociocultural and dialogical perspectives, the thesis builds upon four studies that arise from (n)ethnographic fieldwork conducted in two different settings: an institutional educational setting where bilingualism and biculturalism are core values, and social media settings.In the empirical studies, micro-level interactions, practices mediated by languaging and literacies, social positionings and meso-level discourses as well as their intertwinedness have been explored and discussed. The data, analysed through adapted conversational and discourse analytical methods, include video and audio recordings, field notes, pedagogic materials, policy documents, photographs as well as (n)ethnographic data.Study I illuminates the doing of linguistic-cultural ideologies and policies in everyday pedagogical practices and focuses on situated and distributed social actions as nexuses of several practices where a number of locally and nationally relevant discourses circulate. In Study II, the focus is on everyday communicative practices on the micro and meso levels and the interrelations of different linguistic varieties and modalities in the bilingual-bicultural educational setting. Study III highlights young people’s languaging, including literacies, in everyday learning practices that stretch across formal and informal learning spaces. Study IV examines social positioning and identity work in informal and heteroglossic literacy practices across the offline-online continuum. Consequently, the four studies map the kinds of languaging practices young people are engaged in both inside and outside of what are labelled as bilingual school settings. Furthermore, the studies highlight the kinds of social positions they perform and are oriented towards in the course of their everyday lives.Overall, the findings of the thesis highlight issues of bilingualism as pedagogy and practice, the (un)problematicity of multilingualism across space and time and multilingual-multimodal languaging as a premise for social positioning. Together, the studies and the thesis form a descriptive-analytical illustration of “multilingual” young people’s everyday lives in and out of school in late modern societies of the global North. Overall, the thesis provides insights concerning the education and lives of a large, yet sparsely documented minority group in Sweden, i.e. the Sweden Finns.
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