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A map in becoming: a Deleuzo-Guattarian exploration of masters students’ classroom language encounters

Evans, Sarah (2019) A map in becoming: a Deleuzo-Guattarian exploration of masters students’ classroom language encounters. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Exploring the notion of ‘academic’ language in UK masters level learning, this thesis details a study of students’ potential ‘becomings’ through classroom encounters. The focus of the study is driven by the language events apparent within an Education Studies masters classroom. The study explores this well-established topic by crafting a novel methodology based on the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari, in its endeavour to generate new thoughts on thinking about, with, and through language in education. It seeks to uncover potential new perspectives on the function of language in an educational setting and its effect upon students’ academic ‘becomings’. The Introduction maps out the trajectory of the thesis, and details the ‘provocations’ by which the study is motivated. The thesis is set out to give a map of thought in thinking about language in education. Therefore, although the study is situated within a Deleuzo-Guattarian framework, the Literature Review also explores some of the initial positions that were considered in the beginning stages of the study, giving a wider context to the topic. Examining some of the sociocultural and linguistic elements conventional within discursive research, the Literature Review recognises the corpus of existing work within this field. However, in doing so, it then provides critique for how and why the methodology moved away from conventional discourse practices, and ultimately positions the study within the Deleuzo-Guattarian framework. The ontology of Deleuze and Guattari is one comprised of concepts as a way to consider the world. It is from this position that I base my own thoughts in the study, as detailed and demonstrated in the Methodology chapter. The crux of my thinking with Deleuzo-Guattarian concepts centres on their use of concepts to uncover how an event may be working, and what it may be doing within an assemblage. By aligning the study with this thought process, I ‘read’ the data in a way that allows for thoughts about the functions of language in education. These thoughts are presented in two Data Reading chapters that explore how students are made and un-made in a continual process of de/reterritorialisation through language encounters in a classroom. By ‘diffracting’ data events with Deleuzo-Guattarian concepts, insights are read through one another to create an alternative thought pattern. Through this, I offer thoughts and questions that arise from my readings of the events in the data. From these readings, I suggest that there are non-linguistic factors of communication in addition to speech and text that contribute to a language event. Thus, the study considers the role of materiality in classroom language encounters and its potential impacts in the learning process. Finally, the discussions offered in the Conclusion imply an alternative perspective on ‘academic’ language, suggesting significance in the spaces of ‘extra’ language within encounters, such as resistance and potential desire within ambiguity. From this, I conceptualise language as functioning as intensity in a becoming. The study contributes to emerging literatures utilising poststructural and materialist informed frameworks, and continuing discussions of language in education. The study also has wider implications concerning the potential functions of language in the classroom and its role in students’ ‘becomings’. Ultimately, the thesis suggests how an alternative perspective in onto-epistemology can help allow for newness in thinking about language in learning.

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