Wednesday, 5 December 2018 at 4:30 pm – Wednesday, 5 December 2018 at 7:00 pm

Language, Culture and Society

Date: Wednesday 5th December

Time: 4.30pm - 7pm

Location: GM302, Geoffrey Manton Building, Manchester Metropolitan University

Tickets: Free - just turn up!

The first session of the LIC Research Degrees and Research Knowledge Exchange seminar series will be on the theme of ‘Language, culture and society’ and will take place on Wednesday 5th December 4.30-7.30pm, GM302.

The session will start with 4 presentations by our current PhD students and will be closed by Dr Richard Fay, from the University of Manchester.

This is a joint PGR and RKE event.

Dr Richard Fay, The University of Manchester

Researching multilingually: researcher development and praxis

In research guidance outside language-foregrounded disciplines, there has often been a surprising lack of support and encouragement for researchers (especially early career researchers) to think about, and become purposeful about, the possibilities for, and complexities of, using multiple languages in research (issue one). This is the case, I would argue, even within my own language-oriented home discipline of TESOL. Further, in an often Anglo-centric world of research, it is all too easy for researchers from certain backgrounds, working in certain locations, and writing in certain languages, to be either privileged or
otherwise depending on their relationship with English-medium research publications (issue two).
In this talk, I will present two AHRC-funded projects which focused on these two issues. From the first of these projects, I will introduce, and exemplify (with accounts of the developing thinking of researchers) a
model of developing researcher purposefulness regarding researching multilingually. I will also note what kinds of guidance is (and isn't) available. From the second project, using a ecologically-framed conceptualisation, I will present an analysis of researcher praxis regarding both issues. In particular, I will focus on examples of researchers' linguistic activism in their research activities. Overall, my purpose in this seminar is to encourage researchers across disciplines to think more about the language possibilities and complexities of their work and to prioritise the development of a what can be termed 'a multilingual researcher mindset'.

PhD Student Presentations

Hanan Altarah

The Motivation and Investment of Female Bedouin Kuwaiti College-Level Students in Learning English

This study aims to introduce a more holistic approach to the notions of motivation and investment that empirically investigates these areas from ethnographic, pedagogical, psychological, and sociological perspectives to present learners as ‘whole people’ rather than just language learners in classrooms.

This longitudinal qualitative ethnographic multiple case-study design aims to explore the motivation and investment of female Bedouin Kuwaiti collegelevel students in learning English. The experience of these learners could echo the paths of several L2 learners around the world, which could enlighten educators to better understand and deal with students from underrepresented social and ethnic backgrounds. This study attempts to deconstruct and problematize traditional gender roles in the Bedouin society to explore their impact on these female participants from historical, social, and cultural dimensions by taking into consideration the intersection of gender with other identity aspects such as ethnicity and class.

This investigation introduces these learners as people with rounded lives through their complex connections with the ‘other’, time (past, present and future selves), place (inside and outside the classroom), and situation (formal and informal). This is achieved through participant and nonparticipant (teachers and milieu) semi-structured focus group and one-on-one interviews, in and out of class observations, and my own field notes. The goal is to examine the impact of learners’ social environments, their past and current learning
experience, and the activities they engage in both inside and outside the classroom. A priori theoretical concepts, and frameworks (e.g., the concept of face, cultural capital, habitus, investment, The L2 Motivational Self-System), are used as lenses/conceptual categories to analyse the data and address the
research questions.

Maria Atmania

Music of Interaction: A Critical Stylistic Approach to Lyrical Protests and YouTube Comments during the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt.

Protest during the Arab Spring (AS), the last Arab revolutions, was organized in different forms. Protest music, which can be conceptualized simply as lyrical statements of social dissent, constituted a part. The current research observes that texts of rap, rock and folk depicted Arab youth musicians particularly in Tunisia and Egypt as politicians embracing the ideology of resistance that was advanced by Foucault (1991) as a necessity to power. Musicians seem to have reflected a certain type of discourse to dialogue with the
public on social illnesses towards very particular ends. The public too, through their chants and YouTube comments, seem to have responded to the songs with a particular discourse. Scholarly interest in the area
during the seven years that followed has been minor. The present research looks at a period of political unrest in which the previously banned movements of Arab youth music turned to become oppositional forces through enacting ideologies of resistance to instantiate social change by dialogically energizing text consumers.

Through corpus-assisted critical discourse analyses across songs, chants and YouTube comments, the current proposal attempts to demonstrate how musical and public discourses have been interacting
during the AS, in what ways and towards what ends.

Chahla Lamri

Algerian academic sojourners’ identity negotiation in the UK

The present study examines how four Algerian PhD students negotiate their identities in their new sociocultural environment (the UK) during their study abroad (SA). The data were collected from face-to-face interviews, observation, participants’ self-recordings of their supervisory meetings and focus-group interviews over a year. Analysing the participants’ SA experience through the lens of positioning theory (Davis & Harré, 1990), the data indicate that participants’ identity negotiation involves various acts of positioning such as novice academics, non-native speakers, Arabs and Muslims. When the participants’ claimed positions (e.g. being a feminist) clashed with the positions attributed by their interlocutors (e.g. being a Muslim), the participants’ reactions varied from passivity to agency. When acting agentively, the participants contested labels such as international students, avoided otherness by appropriating elements
of the host culture/dominant discourses and positioned themselves as multilingual speakers to take ownership of English and impose ‘reception’ (Bourdieu, 1977: 648).

Furthermore, the data show that repetitive attributed positioning (favourable or unfavourable) along with the participants’ reactions (agency or passivity) had implications in how the participants were likely to be positioned by their community of practice in their future interactions.

The results will help lecturers and host institutions understand what positions are available to academic sojourners and how these positions encourage or constrain sojourners’ investment in their community of
practice. As a result, lecturers and host institutions could learn which favourable positions they should attribute to their students to help them find their place in their new community of practice during their sojourn.

Nasrine Labani

"How sensitve am I?": an exploratory investigation of intercultural trajectories among Algerian PhD students in study abroad context

The present study is an investigation of the intercultural trajectories of Algerian PhD students enrolled in UK higher education institutions. It focuses on students’ “intercultural sensitivity” (following Bennet, 1993) as a result of being introduced to new cultures and explores the trajectories their intercultural encounters unfold. It further investigates the factors that serve to aid or hinder the Algerian PhD students’ intercultural awareness in study abroad contexts. The study will employ both quantitative and qualitative methods for data generation and analysis. It includes three data generation instruments, namely, questionnaires, interviews and reflection
journals. The statistical data will be treated using SPSS software (Statistical Package for the Social Science), while the qualitative data generated from both interviews and journals will be analysed and interpreted using thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006). To enrich this methodology, the study will consider the narrative enquiry in both data generation and analysis to gain insights into the participants’ trajectories in terms of intercultural awareness and sensitivity.


16.30 Opening


Hanan Altarah, The Motivation and Investment of Female Bedouin Kuwaiti College-Level Students in Learning English


Maria Atmania, Music of Interaction: A Critical Stylistic Approach to Lyrical Protests and YouTube Comments during the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt


Chahla Lamri, Algerian academic sojourners’ identity negotiation in the UK


Nesrine Labani, "How sensitve am I?": an exploratory investigation of intercultural trajectories among Algerian PhD students in study abroad context

18.00-19.00 Invited speaker:

Dr Richard Fay, University of Manchester, Researching multilingually: researcher development and praxis

For more information, please contact:

Stella Bullo ·

RAH! - Research in Arts and Humanities