Academic socialization as the production and negotiation of social space

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Linguistics and Education, ISSN: 0898-5898, Vol: 45, Page: 20-30

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Behnam Soltani
Elsevier BV
Arts and Humanities; Social Sciences
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article description
This article introduces the concept of academic social space as a useful construct to understand and interpret the academic language socialization of individuals in English second language academic spaces. Academic social space builds on the concepts of community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991) and production of space (Lefebvre, 1991). The article then reports on a study that adopted the notion of academic social space to examine the language socialization of one international student in a tertiary institute in New Zealand. Data about this case from various sources including diaries, interviews, class observations, field notes, institutional documents, and video/audio recordings of classroom interactions are presented. The analysis of findings from this study showed the student displayed three differential participation patterns in the three social spaces in which he was engaged. He presented himself as an active participant in his English for Academic Purposes (EAP) course, a silent participant in the first mainstream social space, and a changing silent-active participant respectively in the classroom and online domains of his second mainstream social space. The findings also showed that the concept of academic social space enables thick description ( Geertz, 1973 ) about the language socialization experiences of additional language learners in tertiary contexts. Understanding the various aspects of social space enables researchers, educators, policy makers, and teachers to revisit their notion of space by considering it as an active, dynamic, and organic participant in the learning process of second language learners.