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“Nameless” “Stateless” and “Forgotten”: An exploration of the discursive identity constructions of and around a young person with refugee status as a learner.

Staples, Leanne (2015) “Nameless” “Stateless” and “Forgotten”: An exploration of the discursive identity constructions of and around a young person with refugee status as a learner. DEdCPsy thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This Discourse Analytical study uses a case study approach to explore the discursive identity constructions of and around a young person with refugee status (Amal) as a learner. The constructions were gathered through the use of four interviews, including, two interviews with Amal, one with an adult who works within Amal’s school setting and one with two of his family members. An approach rooted within Discursive Psychology, a branch of Discourse Analysis, was used to analyse and interpret the constructions present within the talk. My analysis indicated that five interpretive repertoires were used to describe Amal as a learner. These were, ‘learning as success’, ‘learning as a struggle’, ‘learning as dependence vs independence’, ‘learning as provider’ and ‘learning as a cultural journey’. A number of discursive devices such as, extreme case formulations, contrasting and repetition were used. Through the talk a variety of subject positions for Amal were presented which positioned him in sometimes conflicting ways. These positions included Amal as, vulnerable, powerless and reliant, as well as, achieving, powerful and valuable. These resulted in Amal being constructed as both a passive and active agent in his learning. My research suggests that Amal was able to resist the dominant societal discourses around failure for those labelled as ‘refugees’. Instead, an empowering alternative discourse was used to construct Amal as a successful learner. My research showed the importance for Educational Psychologists (EPs) in offering a safe discursive space for young people. In this study, this space enabled Amal to talk about himself as a learner and to resist the often pathologising tones of the label ‘refugee’. This research provides an insight into discourses of learning in a wider sense, rather than focusing solely on academic achievement, and in doing so, highlights skills that Amal has developed due to his unique experiences of ‘being a refugee’. I conclude by discussing possible avenues for future research and further potential implications for EP practice.

Item Type: Thesis (DEdCPsy)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.665014
Depositing User: Mrs Leanne Staples
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2015 09:57
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 12:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9427

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