Constructing the concept of 'culture' in a Mexican university language department: the struggles of a small group of English teachers and students

Armenta Delgado, I. (2013) Constructing the concept of 'culture' in a Mexican university language department: the struggles of a small group of English teachers and students. Ph.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.


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This thesis is an investigation of how a group of foreign and local English language teachers and students at the Language Department of the University of Guanajuato, Mexico construct ‘culture’. Through an ethnographic approach, with the use of interviews and classroom observations as the means for gathering data, the stories of eight teachers and twenty four students were explored, in order to unravel their constructions of ‘culture’. Given the abstract nature of the concept ‘culture’, critical incidents from my personal and professional experience were used to spark the participants into sharing their stories. It was through the telling of these stories that the thoughts, ideas and feelings of the participants regarding the Self and the Other were revealed. The construction of ‘culture’ was found to be a complex process in which teachers and students struggle in negotiating diverse sources of knowledge—from the personal (parents and upbringing), to professional and/or public discourses. The processes of relativization, recognition and transformation, as understood in the cosmopolitan tradition, were adopted to explore individuals’ capabilities in constructing ‘culture’. When constructing people and ‘cultures’, individuals are seen to traverse personal and professional trajectories, making the ability to relativize worldviews a challenge. Thus, the cosmopolitan imagination, which foresees Self and societal transformation, is seen to aid the individual in effecting the relativization of worldviews, so that recognition from the perspective of the Other and transformation are made possible. Constructing ‘culture’ was found to be a non-linear process, sometimes smooth and sometimes a struggle. Indeed, this thesis proposes that there are many intersecting factors in the construction of ‘culture’: the concepts which are invoked, the processes involved, and the abilities utilized when deliberating over ‘culture’. The individual is seen to draw upon all of these resources according to the specific contextual factors of the intercultural event.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Hudson
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2015 14:37
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2016 13:17

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00