A different politics of difference: Exploring alternatives in teaching basic writers

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Keith Gilyard


identity, social construction, verbal interaction, peer writing groups

Subject Categories

Teacher Education and Professional Development


Drawing upon contemporary interdisciplinary discourse analysis research, this project merges the horizons of qualitative and empirical research while investigating Basic Writers' local, social construction of their identities and knowledge productions within Composition classrooms. An examination of the historical construction of Basic Writing student identities within the Journal of Basic Writing builds to a critical assessment of Basic Writing scholarship's turn to poststructuralism, postcolonial theory, feminism, and Marxism. Arguing that such conceptions of social construction can represent Basic Writers in deterministic ways, and are often predicated upon misrepresentations of past scholars' research, this project instead reconstrues verbal interaction itself as a critical site where identity, intersubjectivity, and societal as well as personal ideologies are formed and negotiated moment-to-moment. The project concludes with detailed analyses of how Basic Writing peer writing groups produce complicated group folk logics within verbal interaction which shape their writing processes.


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