WHOSE ENGLISH IS IT ANYWAY? CULTURE, LANGUAGE AND IDENTITY: ETHNOGRAPHIC PORTRAITS FROM OAXACA, MEXICO // ¿ENTONCES, DE QUIÉN ES EL INGLÉS? CULTURA, LENGUAJE E IDENTIDAD: RETRATOS ETNOGRÁFICOS DE OAXACA, MÉXICO

Ángeles Clemente, Michael J. Higgins

Resumen


In this paper we will present a series of ethnographic portraits of students who are in the process of learning and teaching English at the Centro de Idiomas, which is part of the state university in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico. These portraits will focus on how the students at the Centro navigate the cultural and social complexities of learning English as an additional language. Our argument will look at the way the process of the accumulation of cultural capital, modes of identity construction, and the dynamics of social agency affect the means for learning an additional language (Bourdieu, 1991; Pavlenko, 2002). The young working and middle class Oaxacan students at the Centro are involved in the pursuit of various forms of linguistics and cultural capital. Moreover, they use their various identity locations as a means of learning, using and teaching English. These identity locations involve issues concerning gender, sexuality, ethnicity and assumptions about standards of English. These students move between these assumptions and their own desires about language performance and they use their own agency to recompose English as something beyond
such assumptions (Sayer, Clemente and Higgins 2004).


KEYWORDS: Culture - Language - Identity - Ethnography - Oaxaca

 

RESUMEN: En este artículo presentamos una serie de retratos etnográficos de algunos estudiantes que se encuentran en el proceso de aprender y enseñar inglés en el Centro de Idiomas que forma parte de la universidad estatal de la Ciudad de Oaxaca en México. Estos retratos se enfocan en la manera en que los estudiantes del Centro navegan las complejidades sociales y culturales de aprender el inglés como un lenguaje adicional. Nuestro argumento se centra en la manera en que el proceso de acumulación de capital simbólico y cultural, los modos de construcción de identidad, y las dinámicas de agencia social, influyen en el aprendizaje de una lengua adicional (Bourdieu, 1991; Pavlenko, 2002). Los jóvenes oaxaqueños de clase media y clase trabajadora del Centro se encuentran inmersos en la búsqueda de varias formas de capital lingüístico y cultural. Además, usan sus diferentes locaciones de identidad conectadas con el género, la sexualidad, la etnicidad y las suposiciones acerca de los estándares del inglés. Estos estudiantes se mueven entre estas suposiciones y sus propios deseos acerca de su ejecución lingüística y usan su agencia para recomponer el inglés más allá de esas suposiciones (Sayer, Clemente y Higgins 2004).


PALABRAS CLAVE: Cultura - Lenguaje - Identidad - Etnografía - Oaxaca


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