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A sociocultural study of intercultural discourse. Empirical research on Italian adolescent pupils

Castelnuovo, Antonella; (2011) A sociocultural study of intercultural discourse. Empirical research on Italian adolescent pupils. Doctoral thesis , Institute of Education, University of London. Green open access

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This research study aims to contribute to an understanding of adolescents' discourse analysed from an intercultural and multidisciplinary perspective in the context of Italian educational setting. The primary interest of this research is to outline issues on differences in discourse, arising from pupils' different sociocultural backgrounds. In particular, the analysis is oriented to investigate semiotic mediation by means of the modality of language, characterised by a developmental and social analysis of verbal action mediated by psychological tools with respect to the given task(s). The central focus of the analysis is discourse, written and oral , produced among groups of Italian adolescents pupils, divided in terms of scholastic abilities, gender and sociocultural background. This approach is based on the research assumption that sociocultural differences of pupils engaged in a similar discourse activity would elicit different types of semiotic mediations within their group discussions. Hypothesised existence of semiotic variations among pupils of my sample was the basic research question to which I hoped to find an answer. If so, then, it would be important to highlight how these variations will affect pupils' verbal performances in their production of discourse meanings and educational knowledge. This aim was achieved by integrating Vygotsky's genetic approach with a discourse analysis of verbal interaction based on Halliday's Systemic Functional Linguistics. This approach provided the opportunity to link both micro and macro levels of sociocultural differences in school and society, since it allowed the exploration of pupils' individual and collective mental development in linguistically mediated social action and interactions. This perspective is in line with recent theoretical shifts in the fields of communication studies where the focus of interest had moved away from comparisons among cultures to the co-constructive aspects of situated dialogue and discourse. From an intercultural perspective, it was more relevant to understand how social identities and verbal meanings were co-constructed through the process of interaction between differently constituted subjects, rather than trying to explain why some pupils fail to communicate certain meanings in a given educational discourse.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: A sociocultural study of intercultural discourse. Empirical research on Italian adolescent pupils
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos...
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis: (PhD) University of London Institute of Education, 2011.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10020607
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