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Changing professional identities of foreign language lecturers in the Irish higher education system.

O'Shaughnessy, Susan (2010) Changing professional identities of foreign language lecturers in the Irish higher education system. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

In this study I argue that professional identity is changed to a large extent by the effects of time and space on both individuals and groups. By using Bourdieu's key concepts of habitus, capital and field in relation to each other, this smallscale research project into the changing professional identities of German language lecturers in a number of Irish higher education institutions demonstrates how the choices made are influenced by individual and collective history (conceptualised by habitus and capital over time) and the social spaces or institutions within which these agents interact (fields). With the reduction in demand for German over the last decade lecturers have been obliged to refocus on new disciplines and specialisms or, in the case of part-time staff, have had to adapt to moving completely out of the profession. The thesis begins by outlining the background of structural changes that have affected the professional identities of language teachers and academics. It goes on to position the project within a framework provided by Bourdieu' s concepts. As an affected member of this professional group, I use the concept of reflexivity to show how an insider's perspective gives insights into power relations within a higher education institution undergoing constant structural change. The fields of European, national and institutional language policies are analysed and this leads on to a critical engagement with the narratives of a group of 13 German lecturers and former lecturers from one institution who have been obliged to cope with challenges within a specific institutional field and with a professional habitus similar to my own. The conclusion highlights the factors that have affected successful and unsuccessful transitions in professional identity, suggesting that the passage of time and the creation of a unified professional space can support the formation of stable individual and collective identities.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.527219
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2016 08:40
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2016 08:40
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14651

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