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Title: The literacy practices of developing vocational portfolios : interacting activities, negotiating identities, and enacting hybrid discourses
Author: Nikolaidou, Zoi
ISNI:       0000 0004 2704 2972
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis reports on a study of the literacy practices drawn upon when developing portfolios for the purposes of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and the impact such practices have on the construction of NVQ candidates' identities. The portfolios are also regarded as elements of intense workplace textualisation and I examine the role they play in empowering or restricting the candidates for their (future) careers. Data collection and analysis draws from both linguistic and ethnographic methods, placing this study within the methodological field of 'linguistic ethnography'. My data consists of fieldnotes, ethnographic interviews, focus groups and documents collected in the field. The data is interpreted by means of case studies and a socio-semantic approach in text analysis. The focus of the study lies upon the development of NVQ portfolios by two work-based and twelve college-based NVQ candidates. The uses of literacy are studied here taking a sociocultural stance, understanding literacy as socially situated and approaching it from an Activity Theory lens by analysing the contexts wherein literacy practices are drawn upon as activity systems. In the study of work-based portfolio building, I argue that the workplace and the study for an NVQ are interacting activities, whose contact results in the creation of a hybrid collection of texts, the portfolio, and a shift in the candidates' understanding of themselves and their work. On the other hand, the college-based NVQ candidates are caught up between two opposing discourses: that of education imposed by the college and that of professionalism which they adopt for themselves. As a result, they negotiate their positions as NVQ candidates and finally adopt hybrid identities, accommodating, in this way, the two discourses. These opposing discourses are also evident in the texts included in the portfolio, produced by both candidates and decision makers. Finally, I claim that such a portfolio does not empower NVQ candidates, since it addresses work practices as isolated from context and it does not take into account a large number of practices in which workers participate.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available