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Exploring Higher Education Students’ Technological Identities using Critical Discourse Analysis

Exploring Higher Education Students’ Technological Identities using Critical Discourse Analysis
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Author(s): Cheryl Brown (University of Cape Town, South Africa) and Mike Hart (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 18
Source title: Information Systems Research and Exploring Social Artifacts: Approaches and Methodologies
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Pedro Isaias (Portuguese Open University, Portugal) and Miguel Baptista Nunes (University of Sheffield, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2491-7.ch010

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Abstract

This chapter applies a critical theory lens to understanding how South African university students construct meaning about the role of ICTs in their lives. Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) has been used as a theoretical and analytical device drawing on theorists Fairclough and Gee to examine the key concepts of meaning, identity, context, and power. The specific concepts that inform this study are Fairclough’s three-level framework that enables the situating of texts within the socio-historical conditions and context that govern their process, and Gee’s notion of D(d)iscourses and conceptualization of grand societal “Big C” Conversations. This approach provides insights into students’ educational and social identities and the position of globalisation and the information society in both facilitating and constraining students’ participation and future opportunities. The research confirms that the majority of students regard ICTs as necessary, important, and valuable to life. However, it reveals that some students perceive themselves as not being able to participate in the opportunities technology could offer them. In contrast to government rhetoric, ICTs are not the answer but should be viewed as part of the problem. Drawing on Foucault’s understanding of power as a choice under constraint, this methodological approach also enables examination of how students are empowered or disempowered through their Discourses about ICTs.

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