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ABS224 - The role of the perezhivanie concept in an autoethnographic study of second language learning

3.1 Farther reaches of theoretical and methodological explorations
4:10 PM, Thursday 31 Aug 2017 (20 minutes)
Vygotsky’s concept of perezhivanie has the potential for informing research approaches that differ from those informed by his earlier works. This paper explores such possibilities in the domain of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) research, in which earlier concepts of mediation and internalization, and later practical concepts of ZPD and private speech, form the basis of the so-called “sociocultural approach”. Recent, though marginal, interest in perezhivanie within SLA has predominantly been as a response to the overlooked role of emotion in learning. However, its consequences and possibilities for methodology have been less well-explored. For example, the shift from understanding the development of specific higher mental functions to understanding development as a reorganisation of consciousness as a whole requires richer sources of data with equally robust analyses for understanding the ways in which consciousness relates to learning, and shapes and is shaped by development. Thus, in this paper, I explore these, and other, methodological issues and possibilities that have emerged during my autoethnographic (self-)study—in which perezhivanie is the unit of analysis—of my own learning of a second language. Theoretically, I discuss the holistic, developmental view of language learning that is made possible, in contrast to the view implied in the traditional sociocultural approach. Methodologically, I examine the challenges and requirements of autoethnographic methodology. I also discuss the limitations evidenced through the use of supplementary methods to reveal what autoethnography does not. Finally, epistemologically, I show how perezhivanie clarifies the researcher-research relationship.

Monash University
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