Macquarie University
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Issues of interdiscursivity in the commercialisation of professional practice: the case of English language teaching

posted on 2022-03-28, 13:09 authored by Jonathan Alexander Crichton
This study focuses on how commercialisation affects professional practices, specifically those of English language teachers. The study takes as its setting the private English language teaching sector in Australia, known as the ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students) sector. The research question is 'How does commercialisation affect the professional practices of teachers who work in ELICOS colleges in Australia?'. -- To investigate this question, a "multi-perspectived" (Candlin 1997, p. xiv) approach to discourse analysis is developed. This seeks to address the implications of Cicourel's (1982, 1992, 1996) call for "ecological validity" (1982, pp. 1ff) in social and sociolinguistic research. These implications include the need to account for interrelations between language and context, for macro and micro social phenomena, for choices in research methodology, for the position of the researcher within discourse analysis, and, more generally, for the social-situatedness of discourse analysis itself. -- The framework integrates theoretical and research traditions from linguistics and sociology within five 'perspectives': that of the analyst, the participants, the social resource, the social practice, and the social/institution. To enable their operationalisation in research, these perspectives are integrated with the "interactive" model of data analysis developed by Miles and Huberman (1994. pp. 12ff). This offers a reflexive and iterative model in which the stages of the research process inform each other, and are continually refined in response to emergent findings. -- The research design employs this framework to investigate the discourses which shape teachers' ability to maintain their standards of professional practice. In operationalising the analyst's perspective, my resources as the analyst are explained in relation to those of the participants, to the study itself, and to the social-theoretical account of commercialisation developed throughout the study. The other perspectives are operationalised using five data sets, the participants' perspective draws on critical incident diaries kept by ELICOS teachers; the social resource perspective on promotional brochures produced by ELICOS colleges; and the social/institutional perspective draws on published data - the News-letter of the sector's peak body, regulations of the industry regulatory authority, and teacher training materials. The social practice perspective is not operationalised because this would have exceeded the scope of the current study by including data reflecting examples of teachers' practices. -- As part of this design, the findings of the diary and brochure analyses are compared to seek evidence of interdiscursive relations between them. This comparison yields a pattern of correlations which evidences the operation of the 'discourse of commercialisation". As the dominant discourse within the colleges, this, it is argued, advances the construction of managers, teachers and students as a 'community of consumption', within which teaching and learning are "consumption processes". Based on the analysis of the social/institutional data, and explained by the social-theoretical account of commercialisation developed through the study, these constructions are, it is argued, themselves advanced by the operations of macro actors and legitimised by "neoliberal discourse" (Bourdieu. 1998a, p. 95).


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Requirements for the theoretical framework -- The theoretical framework -- Description of the study -- The analyst's perspective -- The participants' perspective -- The social resource perspective -- The social/institutional perspective -- Conclusions, evaluation and implications.


June, 2003 Bibliography: p. 407-424 (part 1)

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Division of Linguistics & Psychology, Dept. of Linguistics

Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Christopher Candlin


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Jonathan Alexander Crichton 2004.




1 online resource (2 parts (xiv, 811 p.))

Former Identifiers

mq:22777 1746424