Positioning (in) the discipline: undergraduate students' negotiations of disciplinary discourses

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Teaching in Higher Education

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Taylor & Francis


University of Cape Town

This paper is drawn from a longitudinal case study in which the authors have tracked the progress of 20 Social Science students over the course of their undergraduate degrees at a historically 'white' South African university. The students are all from disadvantaged educational backgrounds and/or speakers of English as a second language. The paper draws on post-structuralist and post-colonial theory to trace the process by which students position and reposition themselves in relation to disciplinary discourses over the course of their senior years. The students both absorb and resist the values of their disciplines. The authors argue that the process of writing in their disciplines is also a process of working out their own identities as they try to reconcile their home discourses with those of the institution and their peers, or in some cases, confirm or shed their home identities.

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Teaching in Higher Education on 11 Nov 2009 available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13562510903314988.