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Autoethnography and the presentation of belief in scholarly work by Prof Weideman​

Published on: 20-Oct-2018

​​​​Autoethnography and the presentation of belief in scholarly work by Professor  Albert Weiderman​​

Senior research fellow, Office of the Dean: Humanities, University of the Free State



The contestation of paradigms within the discipline of applied linguistics may broadly be categorised as a conflict of modernist versus postmodernist approaches. While postmodernism has been in the ascendancy in applied linguistics since the last decade of the previous century, it is both divided and currently being challenged by paradigms that hark back to modernism. This paper will discuss a variant of one still influential applied linguistic paradigm, ethnography, as a potential growth point for postmodernist views, and one that may well serve to resist the modernist challenge presented by dynamic systems theory. In acknowledging subjectivity and human agency, this variant, autoethnography, recognises that science is not neutral and shows how scholars working within the mainstream may be able to present their beliefs and commitments in a way that opens these up for consideration and discussion. In doing that, autoethnography may have wider application than in its initial target domains, the social sciences, and the humanities. The contestation that it presents within applied linguistics, however, is as unlikely to be conclusive as in any other paradigm conflict. For the present, the greater contribution of autoethnography lies in making it possible to articulate and open for discussion the ways in which belief and commitment are presented in scholarly work.



Weideman, A. 2013. Positivism and postpositivism in applied linguistics. In C.A. Chapelle (ed.), The encyclopedia of applied linguistics. Volume 7, pp. 4479-4485. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. Also [Online]. Available as entry DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0920.

Weideman, A. 2017. Responsible design in applied linguistics: theory and practice. Cham: Springer International Publishing. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-41731-8.

About the Speaker:

Albert Weideman is a professor of Applied Language Studies and a senior research fellow in the Office of the Dean: Humanities at the University of the Free State, South Africa. He is the founder and former CEO of a four-university partnership, the Inter-Institutional Centre for Language Development and Assessment (ICELDA). He previously held the positions of Director of the Centre for Education Development (CENEDUS) at the University of Stellenbosch, Director: Professional Programmes in the Faculty of Education at the University of the Western Cape, and Director: Unit for Academic Literacy at the University of Pretoria. He has published widely in his field, and is a National Research Foundation rated researcher. His main current interests are in assessing academic literacy, and in the foundations of applied linguistics.

Date: 2 November 2017            Time:1pm         Venue: HSS Conference Room (HSS -05-57)​

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