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ABS130 - Language planning and policy in a school site. The diachronic dimension of mediation

2.6 Dialogue and the co-construction of knowledge
11:00 AM, Thursday 31 Aug 2017 (20 minutes)
Lemke (2000) questioned the diachronic scales of analysis in complex social systems and argued for a dynamic analysis around process rather than hierarchical systems such as offered by specifically around identity development and cultural continuity. This paper engages with diachronic analysis as it relates to the field of Language Planning and Policy (LPP) through a case study of a local language problem: the introduction of Chinese language into an established government school, over a 10 year period. Using cultural-historical activity diachronic analysis to investigate the effect heterochrony has on short-term timescale activity. The semiotic affordances offered by mediation are affected by the rise of superdiversity (Arnaut et al. 2016), and with the rise of social media (McIntyre 2015), homophily has led to ossification of the mediated tensions and contradictions which according to Engeström (1987, 2001), are the motivating agent for outcomes. The chances for heterogenic mediation to move to an agreed outcome become complex and problematic and revolve around short timescales i.e. the length of the mediation and leads to willful ignorance to the long term (McIntyre 2015) biological interest of life but more to win the argument (Fish 2016). The paper identifies a ‘narrative’ of ‘expanding learning cycles’(Engestrom, 1987, 2001),  that unfold over time to understand the genesis of activity systems that create, maintain, and resolve cyclical (re)iterations of the problem in moving towards (and, at other times, away from) the implementation of Chinese as a new language program within the school.
University of Melbourne
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