The Effects of Power Relations on the Curriculum Experiences of French-Speaking Students in a Private Institution's Academic Community of Practice

C.A. Adebanji, M.T. Gumbo


This paper reports on the findings of a study in which we explored power relations and their effects on the curriculum experiences of French-speaking students in an Academic Community of Practice (ACOP) at a private tertiary institution. French-speaking students (FSS) negotiated the rigours of higher education as experienced by the other students in the midst of institutionalized power relations which limited their capacity to effectively integrate into the ACOP. A prominent consequence of linguistic power relations among French-speaking students (FSS) was a delayed transition from French to English. This was as a result of the monopoly of indigenous languages employed by South African students. Utilising a case study approach and narrative inquiry it was found that FSS had to grapple with the effects of linguistic power relations, financial power relations, inflationary power relations and workplace power relations. Lave and Wenger (1991, 115-116) present a framework on which our findings are premised because their work evolved the “continuity-displacement contradiction” in communities of practice. We found that issues of the “continuity-displacement contradiction” were subdued with elapsed time as suggested by Lave and Wenger (1991) because those affected were continuously displaced from the terrains of relevance.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p1233

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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