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A study of cultural content in the British ELT GLobal Coursebook : a cultural studies approach

Gray, J; (2007) A study of cultural content in the British ELT GLobal Coursebook : a cultural studies approach. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), Institute of Education, University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis investigates cultural content in a sample of British ELT global coursebooks published over the past three decades from a cultural studies perspective. Using a constructionist epistemology, the study aims to identify the nature of cultural content, to account for the form it takes and to examine what a group of Barcelonabased teachers think about such content and the role of culture in ELT. The research design is based on a modified version of the `circuit of culture' proposed by Du Gay, Hall et al. (1997) for the investigation of the construction of meanings associated with cultural artefacts. A descriptive framework, combining elements of content analysis and social semiotics, is applied to four best-selling coursebooks. Their `representational repertoires' are shown to be typified by a pervasive `native speakerism', and the deployment of discourses of feminism, multiculturalism, individualism and consumerism, alongside the ongoing globalizing of content. This content is partly explained by referring to publishers' guidelines and interviews with publishers, in which a discourse analysis approach is used. However, it is only by turning to the literatures on visual communication, consumerism and the concept of promotional culture that a fuller explanation can be provided. What emerges is a picture of a carefully constructed artefact, only some of whose meanings resonate with those of the teachers. Interviews reveal that they construe their practice in terms of teaching English as an international language for predominantly lingua franca purposes. Broad approval for the representational practices associated with gender and race does not extend to the pervasive `native speakerism' or content which is seen as irrelevant to the context of instruction. The thesis suggests that the form cultural content takes is best decided by locals for whom English may have a range of meanings other than those determined for them by British ELT publishers.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A study of cultural content in the British ELT GLobal Coursebook : a cultural studies approach
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Additional information: Thesis: (PhD) University of London Institute of Education, 2007.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10023103
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