Version classiqueVersion mobile

Discourses We Live By

Hazel R. Wright
Marianne Høyen

V. Discourses that explore or reveal diversity : facing choice and change

V. Discourses that explore or reveal diversity : facing choice and change

Texte intégral

Photo by Tom Perkins, CC-BY 4.0

1 In this section, chapters examine issues that arise when people move away (physically or emotionally) from their county or culture of birth and attempt to, and have to, manage disparate worldviews. The chapters are not about the migration processes but disruptions to normative cultural behaviours and expectations. Indeed, the third chapter, from Denmark, is a narrative of religious conversion rather than locational change, and the first, from Germany, is about an individual balancing autonomy against obedience to her parents’ wishes. The second is a study using biographical approaches to examine the needs of migrants to England who have low-level literacy, and the fourth is a creative project to explore migration through the collaborative production of a documentary film.

2In ‘Examining a Kazakh Student’s Biographical Narrative and the Discourses She Lives By’ (Ch17), Rob Evans presents an interesting account of a young Kazakh women studying in Germany and learning to balance her own emancipatory needs with her family’s desire for her to conform to traditional norms. Rob’s approach is one of talk-in-action and, quite apart from his skilful interpretation of the shared texts, offers a good example of conversational analysis (CA) in practice, within a Foucauldian framework. He presents excerpts from his narrative interviews to demonstrate the CA process, intertwining method, examples, narrative and theorization to sculpt an integrated whole that does his participant justice.

3Monica Mascarenhas’s chapter, ‘The Needs of Low-Literate Migrants When Learning the English Language’ (Ch18), offers an insider account of research into the lives of migrants attending a college English course, to see if such teaching could be made to better suit the needs of learners as the present system is ineffective, although utilitarian. She collects the life stories of a number of migrants and realizes that if teachers were able to focus on the individual there would be much greater opportunity to enable language learning. Importantly, she finds that those with limited prior literacy, lack the necessary grasp of concepts, contexts and literate thinking necessary to be able to learn English, rendering the classes ineffective and highlighting the need for change.

4Simone Rasmussen’s study, ‘Uncovering Habitus in Life Stories of Muslim Converts’ (Ch19), uses a Bourdieusian framework (habitus) to look in detail at the lives and beliefs of two young Danish women who chose to convert to Islam without previous religious affiliation. It thus introduces a different strand into the field of conversion, where earlier work identifies converts as commonly moving between radical Christianities to orthodox Islamic branches. For Simone’s participants, the reasons appear to be more individualized and quite complex, but both women seek inner peace and links to a nurturing community.

5In ‘Participatory Approaches in Critical Migration Research: The Example of an Austrian Documentary Film’ (Ch20), Annette Sprung looks critically at the construction of the migrant in adult education and considers the researcher’s role in reproducing or challenging problematic categories. The research project is multi-layered. Its focus is the collaborative production of a documentary film featuring migrant adult educators, but the process is then subject to group reflection, the filmmakers questioned to determine their sense of ‘othering’ the film’s subjects. Together these processes made visible aspects affecting diversity that are hard to capture in more generalized investigations.

6As a group, these chapters offer insights into displacements (physical and emotional) that are not commonly explored, and the detailed individualized data sheds lights on some of the issues that are commonly disrupting political stability in Europe and beyond. They are sympathetic nuanced accounts that seek understanding, and the researchers make considerable efforts to reveal difference without casting those from different background as ‘other’ in ways they are not. In Evans’ case the method is an interactive one, in Sprung’s case both her role and her views are structured into the project. Mascarenhas, as a former English Language tutor for her participants, and as someone who has successfully and frequently moved between different languages and cultures, is also able to offer an account that is partially shaped by an insider’s perspective, whereas Rasmussen is using an outsider’s perspective to observe people’s choices anew.

7Within the book as a whole, there are clear links with the work in the next section where authors discuss interventions to support diversity, particularly the chapters by Chan (Ch21), Ylitapio-Mäntylä & Mäkiranta (Ch22), and Oikarinen-Jabai’s work (Ch27) with young adults with a Muslim background is very relevant and is also a creative project. Like Brayshaw & Granville’s film project (Ch24), their creative approaches may provoke new ideas when read alongside Sprung’s work. Those who read Mascarenhas’s chapter because of its focus on language learning may be interested in the discussions of talk-in-action in the Evans chapter (Ch17) and Breton’s study of language use and storying in the care sector (Ch2).

Table des illustrations

Crédits Photo by Tom Perkins, CC-BY 4.0
Fichier image/jpeg, 121k


Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search