D/discourse Analysis: Using Multiple Lenses for Researching Curriculum, Sustainability and Agency in the Context of Higher Education Texts and Talk.
Wayman, Susan Caroline
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This thesis primarily involves an exercise in D/discourse analysis (Alvesson and Kärreman, 2000), where particular Higher Education [HE] curriculum D/discourses were explored in the context of sustainability and with an emphasis on agency. In drawing together the global and local nature of D/discourse, attention to change as a linguistic phenomenon envisaged concepts of sustainability, curriculum and agency as ‘floating signifiers’ or ‘nodal points’ filled with different discursive meanings. This was progressed through poststructural, constructionist and constructivist lenses using linguistic, semiotic, narrative, interpretative and reflexive methods in analysis of texts and talk in a creative way and it is my approach to study that, I believe, offers a distinct and original contribution to the academic community. The emphasis was on personal challenge to my own ways of knowing and being. My research has alerted me to the power of D/discourse analysis in diminishing the realist sense of closure that in the possibility of multiple interpretations can also highlight languages of agentic possibility as well as despair. In moving from constructs of Discourse to discourse and back again, I considered that we were in some ways creating the issues we discussed and in this maintaining and perpetuating a restricted view of educational curriculum, each other and the future that we did not necessarily want or believe in. The pessimistic narratives reinforced articulations of hopelessness in educational, agentic and natural ways, offering multiple reasons for inaction and in this also constraining potential opportunities for more positive change. My argumentative, interpretative and reflexive approach made me more attentive to and understanding of alternative perspectives and positions, and my own, that I hope will open up lines of dialogue and suggested agency that may generate more sustainable ways of being.
EdD in Education