Analysing the Dynamics of a Textually Mediated Community of Practice: The Social Construction of Literacy in the Business Faculty

Colin Baskin, Peter Freebody, University, My
This study is positioned within existing debates about the meaning and role of academic literacy, how it shapes and then frames the academic and professional writing practices of business students. It explores relationships between literacy, individual writers and the academy. It goes beyond merely locating these relationships, pointing more to the need to understand how particular student and staff groups within the faculty describe academic writing practices, and in turn act upon these
more » ... t upon these descriptions. Current formulations of academic literacy reflect a heavy emphasis by academic and professional communities on the commodity value of 'literacy skills'. This happens despite the fact that not much is known about the details and current culture of literacy practices in Australian universities, and how these are inflected by different disciplinary areas and cross-cultural factors. Given the divergent applications of literacy that exist across the business professions, there remains a distinct lack of consensus over the meaning of literacy in business higher education communities. Institutional responses reflect this lack of consensus, and are expressed as inflections around a perceived 'crisis' in tertiary literacy standards. Business and professional faculties, while simultaneously embracing the economic and policy imperative underlying mass education, are seen to remain scornful of the service obligation this brings. Implicit in current understandings of academic literacy are the taken for granted connections between basic literacy, reading and writing, schooling, education and employment. These connections underwrite the relations of institutional arrangements, everyday practices, policy construction, and the conditions for student evaluation in the faculty. This study begins from where literacy is located 'bodily', and provides in the first instance a content analysis which explicates and presents student discussions on various ways of thinking about, framing and reframing academic writing. The project then turns [...]
doi:10.25904/1912/1031 fatcat:vnp324g4jvd2lb5dmolyv7xhiu