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Translanguaging and Young Muslim Children’s Negotiations of Intersectional Muslim Identities in an English Reception Classroom: A Linguistic Ethnographic Study

Al Battashi, Sharifa Khalid Muhanna; (2022) Translanguaging and Young Muslim Children’s Negotiations of Intersectional Muslim Identities in an English Reception Classroom: A Linguistic Ethnographic Study. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Young children’s translanguaging between different languages is underexplored and often examined in relation to questions of learning and teaching. In contrast, this study examines young Muslim children’s translanguaging in a London-based Islamic school. The context is one in which they and their teachers face contradictions about supporting language diversity, and public discourses and policies post 9/11, which regard practices related to Islam, including using Arabic, as suspicious. This study explores the interface of Muslim children’s translanguaging and negotiations of intersectional Muslim identities in the school setting, set within this broader Islamophobic context. Using a linguistic ethnographic approach informed by Bakhtinian heteroglossia, intersectionality and the social studies of childhood, this study examined young reception children’s engagement with translanguaging in formal and informal activities across different spaces. I draw on participant observations, informal conversations, and video recorded social interactions. I argue that young children translanguage in complex ways, shaped by institutional practices, broader social-historical discourses and language ideologies, creating dynamic language hierarchies. While Standard English dominated formal pedagogical spaces, Quranic Arabic was valued as the liturgical language of Islam. Similarly, while French was linked to social prestige, Urdu was viewed simultaneously as ethnic pride and a source of racialised mockery. Whereas the use of Somali was considered a source of deficiency and meaning-making for the Somali speaking children. I identify the common forms of translanguaging the children used in this setting depending on interlocuters, specific language ideologies and activities across space-time. Together, translanguaging and these factors produce heterogenous translanguaging spaces. I contend that the children translanguage by using varieties of Arabic and English to imagine and negotiate idealised gendered, racialised and generationed Muslimness. Developing these analyses, I suggest that translanguaging is simultaneously used to suggest asserted Muslimness and for including or excluding certain children from idealised Muslimness using ‘race’, language and generation. This study contributes to the academic conversations related to translanguaging, multilingualism, inclusions and exclusions in school settings and intersectionality as follows. I advance the complexity of translanguaging as an act of racialisation embedded within tension-filled contexts. I extend the concept of translanguaging spaces, highlighting how translanguaging shapes and is shaped by multiple activities and interlocutors across space-time. Further, I enrich intersectional analysis by offering insights into the complexity of young children’s Muslim identities and how they interlink with different social categories such as ‘race’, gender, language and generation.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Translanguaging and Young Muslim Children’s Negotiations of Intersectional Muslim Identities in an English Reception Classroom: A Linguistic Ethnographic Study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute > IOE - Social Science Research Unit
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10148900
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