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An investigation of Vietnamese postgraduate students’ negotiation of social and academic identities at a UK university

An investigation of Vietnamese postgraduate students’ negotiation of social and academic identities at a UK university
An investigation of Vietnamese postgraduate students’ negotiation of social and academic identities at a UK university
The development of the research field of English as a lingua franca (henceforth ELF), or more recently as a “multilingua franca” (Jenkins, 2015b) has contributed to the conceptualization of identity as fluid, changing and closely connected to language and culture in multilingual and multicultural settings. Although recent literature has targeted international students in ELF contexts (e.g., Björkman, 2017; Virkkula & Nikula, 2010), Vietnamese students and their negotiation of social and academic identities remain unexplored. The present research, therefore, aims to fill this gap with 24 conversational interviews conducted in three rounds over one year period with eight Vietnamese postgraduate students at a UK university.
Data analysed through the combination of thematic analysis and positioning analysis (Bamberg, 1997; Bamberg and Georgakopoulou, 2008) indicate that the participants negotiated and developed their multiple, emergent and conflicting social identities in various social settings. The process of identity negotiation involves both reflective positioning (i.e. positioning oneself) and interactive positioning (i.e. (re)positioning others) (Pavlenko & Blackledge, 2004) in interactions with a range of social and cultural groups within and beyond the institutional environment. Regarding academic identity negotiation, most of the participants generally expressed their preference for Standard English and considered themselves deficient compared to local and other European students, occasionally in the first round and throughout the second round of interviews. This was clearly revealed when the participants negatively constructed their academic identities in academic writing contexts, whilst promoting and adhering to native English speakers’ (henceforward NESs) English, which unsurprisingly reflected their deeply ingrained Standard English ideology. The findings from the third round of interviews, however, demonstrated certain critical transformation in the participants’ positionings of their own and others’ English. Although at some points the students’ attitudes towards their English were still relatively pessimistic, a few participants appeared to developiiawareness of ELF, showing their acceptance of the legitimacy of international students’ English, and at the same time challenging NESs’ use of English in internationally academic settings. Implications and suggestions for both UK and Vietnamese HE contexts are offered towards the end.
University of Southampton
Bui, Thi Hanh Lien
325f9583-8b70-4f85-bc38-b048b031a584
Bui, Thi Hanh Lien
325f9583-8b70-4f85-bc38-b048b031a584
Jenkins, Jennifer
7daf0457-86d0-4c08-af4b-79641d1f7fd0
Patino, Adriana
6a3c90b1-c110-4c9e-8991-afb409e76ef7

Bui, Thi Hanh Lien (2017) An investigation of Vietnamese postgraduate students’ negotiation of social and academic identities at a UK university. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 297pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The development of the research field of English as a lingua franca (henceforth ELF), or more recently as a “multilingua franca” (Jenkins, 2015b) has contributed to the conceptualization of identity as fluid, changing and closely connected to language and culture in multilingual and multicultural settings. Although recent literature has targeted international students in ELF contexts (e.g., Björkman, 2017; Virkkula & Nikula, 2010), Vietnamese students and their negotiation of social and academic identities remain unexplored. The present research, therefore, aims to fill this gap with 24 conversational interviews conducted in three rounds over one year period with eight Vietnamese postgraduate students at a UK university.
Data analysed through the combination of thematic analysis and positioning analysis (Bamberg, 1997; Bamberg and Georgakopoulou, 2008) indicate that the participants negotiated and developed their multiple, emergent and conflicting social identities in various social settings. The process of identity negotiation involves both reflective positioning (i.e. positioning oneself) and interactive positioning (i.e. (re)positioning others) (Pavlenko & Blackledge, 2004) in interactions with a range of social and cultural groups within and beyond the institutional environment. Regarding academic identity negotiation, most of the participants generally expressed their preference for Standard English and considered themselves deficient compared to local and other European students, occasionally in the first round and throughout the second round of interviews. This was clearly revealed when the participants negatively constructed their academic identities in academic writing contexts, whilst promoting and adhering to native English speakers’ (henceforward NESs) English, which unsurprisingly reflected their deeply ingrained Standard English ideology. The findings from the third round of interviews, however, demonstrated certain critical transformation in the participants’ positionings of their own and others’ English. Although at some points the students’ attitudes towards their English were still relatively pessimistic, a few participants appeared to developiiawareness of ELF, showing their acceptance of the legitimacy of international students’ English, and at the same time challenging NESs’ use of English in internationally academic settings. Implications and suggestions for both UK and Vietnamese HE contexts are offered towards the end.

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Published date: September 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 428637
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/428637
PURE UUID: 1f639ef1-5a6f-44e1-8ecd-7733e5134154

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Date deposited: 05 Mar 2019 17:30
Last modified: 06 Dec 2019 05:01

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