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Interrupting institutional discourse: circulating themes within the Adult Basic Education/Literacy system

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The Adult Basic Education/Literacy (ABEL) system in America can suffer critique. In a system that is staffed mostly by volunteers and plagued by funding woes, the experience of adult learners

The Adult Basic Education/Literacy (ABEL) system in America can suffer critique. In a system that is staffed mostly by volunteers and plagued by funding woes, the experience of adult learners as participants within the institutional structure can be easily overlooked. Adult students are described as transient and difficult to track. Even so, and maybe because of this characterization, leaders within the local ABEL discourse make it their mission to reach these students in order to assist them to a better quality of life. However, there is more than one discourse circulating within the system. A discourse of outreach and intervention is one strand. The complex relationships education centers engage with more powerful government institutions causes another, more strident political discourse that constrains and influences the discourse within ABEL education centers, down to the classroom level. Within the vortex of motivations and needs created by institutional discourse, an institutional critique may give voice to those who experience the discourse in a way that hinders their education. This paper pursues critique, not through direct reconstruction, but through the encouragement of alternative discourses as additional institutions enter the system. AmeriCorps is presented as an institution that allows for more democratic participation through its distinct organizational features. The features that emerge in AmeriCorps projects offer hope for alternative models of participation within the highly politicized ABEL discourse.

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  • 2011

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The Saudi online discourse on the right to drive: a contrastive critical analysis

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The aim of this study was to investigate the issue of Saudi women’s right to drive through a critical analysis of the Saudi online discourse on women’s right to drive.

The aim of this study was to investigate the issue of Saudi women’s right to drive through a critical analysis of the Saudi online discourse on women’s right to drive. In the study, the attempt was made to provide a critical contrastive analysis of the online debate for and against Saudi women’s right to drive. A review of the literature indicated that very little research has been done about critical discourse analysis (CDA) of online texts focusing on the representation and rights of Saudi women. Employing Fairclough’s three-dimensional framework, a corpus of written posts on the right to drive, written by Saudi women, was analyzed at three levels: (a) textual analysis, (b) discursive practice analysis, and (c) sociocultural practice. The findings of the analysis on the textual and discursive practice levels showed that the theme of ingroup and outgroup presentation was significant in the data. The findings also indicated that ideologies were expressed linguistically by means of naming, presuppositions, predication, and intertextuality. At the sociocultural practice level, the controversial struggle about the right to drive was situated in its broader sociocultural context, in which the complexity of the sociocultural practice of the Saudi Society was revealed.

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  • 2016