The discursive construction of Goldfields residence : an assemblage of change agents, an apartheid chronotope and a convivial multiculture

Pretorius, Charne (2020-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Documenting readers’ responses to linguistic landscapes (LLs) is a common field of enquiry in linguistic landscape studies (LLS) (cf. Garvin, 2010; Lou, 2009; Malinowski, 2009). However, these studies have predominantly served to determine the LL for the participants and have drawn their attention to multilingual signage in an attempt to uncover the singular intention behind a sign. Given that meaning is “radically indeterminate” (Pennycook, 2017:279), it seems futile to continue following an approach of this kind. Bock and Stroud (2018:24) suggest an alternative whereby one collects a “force field” of meanings and readings of the LL. This thesis aims to rise to this “provocative challenge” (Malinowski, 2018:224) by focusing on individual interpretations of the LL. In order to give prominence to participants’ experiences of the LL (Tuan, 1977), methods such as the participatory photograph interview (Kolb, 2008) are implemented. The specific place under investigation in this thesis comprises the communal areas of Goldfields Residence at Stellenbosch University (SU), South Africa (SA) ‒ the first residence designated for coloured students and first mixed-gender university housing. Through embracing multiple interpretations of the LL of Goldfields Residence, it is possible to observe the complex ways in which the LL endows the chosen space with meaning, thereby discursively constructing it into a particular place (Lou, 2007:174; Tuan, 1977:6). Apart from myself, the participants included two postgraduate linguistics students and six Goldfields residents. The reader will experience the discursive construction of Goldfields in three parts, each from a different perspective. In each part, the participants assume ‘an expert role’ (Kolb, 2008), taking responsibility for determining what constitutes the LL and subsequently for analysing what they had identified in order to enable them to share their perspective of the discursive construction of Goldfields. Interestingly, participants identified very few linguistic items as part of the LL but rather foregrounded the architecture, the furniture and those areas in the residence hall in which interactions customarily take place. In a process akin to grounded theory (Corbin & Strauss, 2008), I was led to Bakhtin’s (1981) notion of ‘chronotope’ and Gilroy’s (2006b) construct of ‘convivial multiculture’ in describing the complex discursive construction of the residence hall. The findings suggest that spaces of spoken language interactions and objects often communicate more meaning to participants than do written language in place. This finding adds to a growing body of research that foregrounds people in place in LLS. In addition, the study offers food for thought for language policy makers by expanding the approach to include verbal understandings of place instead of focusing on public signage. It would seem that creating environments in which people are able both to have dialogue and to engage with one another is just as important as deciding on which particular languages to use.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die dokumentering van lesers se reaksies op taallandskappe (TLe) is ’n algemene ondersoekveld van taallandskapstudie (TLS) (cf. Garvin, 2010; Lou, 2009; Malinowski, 2009). Die doel van sodanige studies was egter oorwegend die bepaling van die TL vir die deelnemers deur hul aandag te vestig op veeltalige tekens ten einde die besondere bedoeling van sodanige tekens bloot te lê. Gegewe die feit dat betekenis, volgens Pennycook (2017:279), “radically indeterminate” is, blyk dit futiel te wees om vol te hou met so ’n benadering. Bock en Stroud (2018:24) suggereer ’n alternatief waardeur ’n kragveld van betekenisse en interpretasies van die TL ingesamel word. Die doel van hierdie tesis is die aanvaarding van hierdie prikkelende uitdaging (Malinowski, 2018:224) deur die klem te plaas op individuele interpretasies van die TL. Ten einde prominensie te verleen aan deelnemers se ervarings van die TL (Tuan, 1977), is metodes soos Kolb (2008) se deelnemende foto-onderhoud aangewend. Die spesifieke plek vir die onderhawige ondersoek behels die kommunale areas van die Goldfields Koshuis by die Stellenbosch Universiteit (SU), Suid-Afrika (SA) ‒ die eerste universiteitskoshuis wat verblyf verskaf het aan bruin studente en aan manlike en vroulike studente op dieseflde perseel. Deur die veelvoud van interpretasies van die TL van die Goldfields Koshuis te aanvaar, word die waarneming van die komplekse wyse waarop die TL betekenis aan die gekose ruimte verleen, moontlik en kan dit derhalwe diskursief tot ’n spesifieke plek gekonstrueer word (Lou, 2007:174; Tuan, 1977:6). Benewens myself, het die deelnemers twee nagraadse linguistiekstudente en ses inwoners van die Goldfields Koshuis ingesluit. Goldfields se diskursiewe konstruksie word in drie dele aan die leser gebied ‒ elk vanuit ’n ander perspektief. In elke deel neem die deelnemers die rol van ’n deskundige aan (Kolb, 2008) deurdat hulle verantwoordelikheid neem vir die bepaling van wat die TL behels en daaropvolgend vir die ontleding van wat hulle geïdentifiseer het en wat hulle dan, uiteindelik, in staat gestel het om hul perspektief van die diskursiewe konstruksie van Goldfields te deel. Dit is interessant dat die deelnemers baie min linguistiese items as deel van die TL geïdentifiseer het, maar eerder die argitektuur, meubels, asook daardie areas in die koshuis waarin interaksie gewoonlik plaasvind, uitgelig het. In ’n proses soortgelyk aan gegronde teorie (Corbin & Strauss, 2008), is ek gelei na Bakhtin (1981) se chronotoopteorie en Gilroy (2006b) se konstruk van ‘konviviale multikultuur’ ten einde die komplekse diskursiewe konstruksie van die studentekoshuis te beskryf. Die bevindinge laat blyk dat ruimtes van gesproke taalinteraksies en -objekte dikwels ’n groter mate van betekenis aan deelnemers kommunikeer as geskrewe taal wat ten toongestel word. Hierdie bevinding is ’n toevoeging tot ’n toenemende navorsingskorpus wat die fokus op mense in ruimtes binne LLS plaas. Hierbenewens bied die studie stof tot nadenke vir taalbeleidmakers by wyse van ’n uitbreiding van die benadering deur nie net op openbare reklameborde te fokus nie, maar om ook die verbale begrip van plek in te sluit. Dit wil voorkom of die skep van omgewings waarin mense in staat is om in gesprek te tree en by mekaar betrokke te raak net so belangrik is as om te besluit watter spesifieke tale om te gebruik.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/108247
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