Reflexivity in HE / ethnography- book reviews

Some time back, Paul Smith forwarded these reviews/alerts to me from a colleague in one of the online groups he belongs to (Academic Litercy/ies?):

  1. Turner, Joan (2011) Language in the Academy: Cultural Reflexivity and Intercultural Dynamics. Bristol , Buffalo, Toronto: Multilinguial Matters

Available in paperback and hardback [The book is part of the Languages for Intercultural Communication and Education series]. An impressive innovative book now available on Amazon. It is impressively referenced – a good source of important literature – but more important I  think is the original line of argument and use of classroom data. Arguing against the discourse of remediation that tends to dominate classroom practice in the academy Joan draws on  the Socratic tradition of dialogue and the spatial relations of teaching and learning in the Confucuian/Taoist tradition  in her theoretically and metaphorically rich accounts  of the complexity in tutor-student encounters in  university classrooms in which there are large numbers of ‘international’ students. I particularly like Joan’s use of ‘languaging ‘ to suggest ‘language as dynamic practice’ and the fact that  the book is evidence of intellect at work …  The blurb in the catalogues states: ‘

This book takes a critical look at why issues of language in higher education are routinely marginalised, despite the growing internationalisation of universities. It locates the construction of rhetorical norms and values for academic writing within wider cultural practices ansd power relations, and observes  the transformative dynamic of intercultural communication in the contemporary western academy (paperback £24.95)

  • Blommaert,  Jan & Dong, Jie (2010) Ethnographic Fieldwork: A beginner’s guide. Multilingual Matters.

The blurb states :’This immensely accessible and readable book engages the reader from beginning to end in a style which is informal, informative and intellectually fulfilling. Ethnography is presented as a democratic process, open to multiple and layered interpretastions, recording uniquely situated realities through specialised analysis. Blommaert and Dong offer invaluable practical advice , guiding the reader through the sequences of  the ethnographic research process. They successfully illustrate the fundamentals of ethnographic fieldwork while presenting a set of splendid resources for both beginner researcher and the experienced ethnographer’ (Angela Creese) The anonymous addition to Angela’s comments  states: ‘This book describes ethnographic fieldwork as the gradual accumulation of knowledge about something you don’t know much about to begin with , facilitated by theoretical and methodological instruments. The book provides an easy to read introduction to quite complex ideas about knowledge and the practices in which we gather it’.